Another glorious victory
brought to you by the war on drugs.

Findings of the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) were
released on August 21, 1998, by Donna E. Shalala. Notable in the report:

The percentage of youth (age 12-17) who perceive “great risk” in the
use of marijuana use continues its significant decline: those reporting
great risk in smoking marijuana once or twice a week decreased from 57%
to 54% between 1996 and 1997.

Interestingly, teens’ perception of “great risk” in using cocaine
once a month has declined from 72% to 54% since 1990. And tobacco? The
percentage of young people perceiving “great risk” in smoking a pack or
more of cigarettes a day has risen from 45% to 54% since 1985. In other
words, exactly the same proportion of young people — 54% — now
perceive exactly the same high risk level — “great” — in using
tobacco, marijuana, and cocaine at these drugs’ respective mid-range
usage levels.

The all-out anti-tobacco propaganda campaigning of recent years has
placed a truly massive cultural emphasis on the hazards of tobacco. At
the same time, the PR war against hard drugs has been taking a relative
breather. Result? The young have stopped distinguishing between the
danger level inherent in tobacco use and that inherent in cocaine use.
Just another shining example of our tax dollars at work, folks.

The message which parents and other responsible adults would like to
convey to the young, of course, is that choosing to use any or all of
these substances is a bad idea. But do we really want our kids unable to
discriminate between the respective danger levels of smoking crack and
smoking Marlboros?

A review of the NHSDA results is available here.

Clintons excommunicated
from “baby boomer” generation

“True, Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham are from our generation —
postwar baby boomers. But they are not us any more.” The September 14
edition of Insight magazine features a slightly feverish cover piece by
Paul M. Rodriguez, “They Are Not Us!”, which attempts to
divest the Clintons of their memberships in the “baby boomer” club for
the crime of failing to grow up the way all their peers have done. I
have my doubts about his premise; I suspect the Clintons are not quite
as atypical of their demographic group as this article is eager to
claim. But far be it from me to discourage individual boomers like
Rodriguez from claiming the high ground of maturity and responsibility.
Check it out and see what you think.

Tools to fight deadbeat parents …
and get elected doing it

An article here a describes
states’ underutilization of legal penalties against deadbeats — parents
who owe and fail to pay child support. But this site isn’t content with
simply posting a piece of hard journalism on a significant subject: it
adds a kit of practical tools for taking the fight further. Scroll down
the page for a sample press release available for the use of
Congressional candidates who decide to address this issue in their
campaigns (a list of practical tips for such candidates appears down at
the bottom of the page). Keep scrolling down for a letter-to-the-editor
template that includes expressions of support for local candidates who
have chosen to take a stand on the issue. Now that’s news you can use.

Organized against forfeiture

Forfeiture Endangers American Rights (FEAR) is a national nonprofit
organization “dedicated to reform of federal and state asset forfeiture
laws to restore due process and protect the property rights of innocent
citizens.” Take a look at their“>Web site.
Newswise, it’s due for updating, but way down the page you’ll find its
more timeless features: an online directory of forfeiture attorneys, a
law library, a registration-only lawyers’ service and “brief bank,” a
free email bulletin, media archives, and more.

The gun essay every mom should read now

Read Michelle Malkin of the Seattle Times on the sentimentalization
of the gun debate. Malkin
analyzes the way in which sensationalistic “what-about-the-children”
rhetoric and overwrought self-flagellation have been drowning out
serious research data and sober analysis.

The abuse of litigation
and the Second Amendment

A second indispensable essay on the gun issue is David Kopel and
Richard Gardiner’s “The Sullivan Principles: Protecting the Second
Amendment from Civil Abuse.” This law review article from the Seton Hall
Legislative Journal argues that, just as courts currently protect First
Amendment rights against improper libel lawsuits, courts should protect
the Second Amendment from abusive lawsuits that are designed to
interfere with Second Amendment rights. Gun litigation is an absolutely
vital issue that’s becoming more and more prominent in the current
climate. Kopel’s and Gardiner’s article is online.

Co-author Kopel is research director at the Independence Institute,
which investigates the causes and cures of violent crime in our society;
his work includes articles on the ideology of gun ownership and gun
control, the constitutionality of assault weapons bans, and the Canadian
and Japanese gun control experiences. All of the above can be found
and/or downloaded here.

College tests looming? Gear up now

Your kids can get a head start on the College Board exams — yes, I’m
sure they’ll be thrilled — at College Board Online. Try the SAT Question of the Day, check
test dates — even register online.

If your son or daughter is planning to take Advanced Placement exams
this year, you should consider EssayPrep, an online practice-essay
evaluation service that can take the awful mystery out of the APs
(and/or the SAT II Writing test). Let me say right now that this is an
extremely good idea: I’d have killed for a service like this as a
teenager. I remember the bottomless junior-year horror of anticipating
the widely dreaded AP essays — it doesn’t matter one scrap how smart
you are, they still give you The Fear. EssayPrep looks like a definite
winner: actual human evaluators of the real exams look at your practice
essay, written under test-simulating conditions, and give you feedback
— for a fee, of course ($15 per AP practice essay; bargain packages of
3, 10, or more also available). It’s not that exorbitant, considering
how much independent testing consultants often charge. And it’s straight
from the horse’s mouth. Click here to get
started, and God bless the Web.

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