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posted by azrael on Friday July 04 2014, @04:20AM   Printer-friendly
from the tax-not-war dept.

It's now been six months since Colorado enacted its historic marijuana legalization policy, and two big things have already happened:

  1. Colorado's cash crop is turning out to be even more profitable than the state could have hoped.

    Tax revenue from marijuana sales is expected to top $130M over the next fiscal year.

  2. Denver crime rates have suddenly fallen.

    The Denver city- and county-wide murder rate has dropped 52.9% year-to-year since recreational marijuana use was legalized in January.

Related Stories

Five Startling Numbers Reveal the Militarization of U.S. Drug Policy 64 comments

A report at Alternet gives some context to the amount spent by the U.S. on its drug policy.

  • 1,100 - The number of Americans that die each year due to violent crime caused by the drug war
  • $51 billion - The amount that the U.S. government spends each year on the war on drugs
  • 61 percent - The percentage of individuals targeted by drug-related SWAT raids who are people of color
  • 82 percent - The number of Americans who believe that the government is losing the War on Drugs
  • 18 months - The age of Bounkham "Bou Bou" Phonesavanh, a recent American casualty of the drug war

The article goes into further details on the number, including:

On May 28, a team of police officers raided the Phonesavanh's home, with the mistaken belief that the residents were involved with drugs. As they entered, they tossed a flashbang grenade that landed directly in the crib of baby Bou Bou, which exploded within point-blank range - critically injuring him.

In a harrowing article, his mother, Alecia, described seeing "a singed crib" and "a pool of blood", and later being informed by medics: "There's still a hole in his chest that exposes his ribs". Alecia said that the sole silver lining to this story is that it may "make us angry enough that we stop accepting brutal SWAT raids as a normal way to fight the war on drugs".

Fortunately, Bou Bou has been making a gradual recovery, but his family is relying on donations to support their living and medical costs.

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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04 2014, @04:39AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04 2014, @04:39AM (#63968)

    #2 means there are more living taxpayers to do #1: pay taxes! Chow down on that tasty, tasty revenue, Government, you like revenue, it's the only thing you care about.

    • (Score: 2) by SlimmPickens on Friday July 04 2014, @04:49AM

      by SlimmPickens (1056) on Friday July 04 2014, @04:49AM (#63971)

      Don't forget Maccas sales. That's got to be another hungie right there!

    • (Score: 2) by hoochiecoochieman on Friday July 04 2014, @10:33AM

      by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Friday July 04 2014, @10:33AM (#64077)

      I don't even know why people chose to create expensive civilisations, it would be so much cheaper to go Mad Max. You can always move to Somalia, I'm not even sure there's an actual government there. See, the government there doesn't take any money from people. The warlords may do it, though.

      Can't see why this stereotyped and offtopic joke is modded Insightful. Maybe funny, but come on, insightful?

      • (Score: 2) by khallow on Friday July 04 2014, @11:11AM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday July 04 2014, @11:11AM (#64087) Journal

        I don't even know why people chose to create expensive civilisations

        I think it's because they're selfish idiots. One doesn't need to move to Somalia to have an effective low cost civilization. They just need to whack at the government/rent seeker weed thicket for a bit.

        • (Score: 2) by hoochiecoochieman on Friday July 04 2014, @11:32AM

          by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Friday July 04 2014, @11:32AM (#64095)

          I don't even know why people chose to create expensive civilisations

          I think it's because they're selfish idiots.

          So, people choose to organise in a society because they are... selfish idiots? My head explodes...

          If all the other 6.999.999.999 people on Earth are such selfish idiots and only you aren't, maybe there's something wrong with you.

          One doesn't need to move to Somalia to have an effective low cost civilization. They just need to whack at the government/rent seeker weed thicket for a bit.

          If you have a viable alternative to an organised state (not government) administered by a body of democratically elected officials (THIS is the government), I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter.

          • (Score: 2) by khallow on Friday July 04 2014, @01:30PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday July 04 2014, @01:30PM (#64140) Journal

            So, people choose to organise in an expensive society

            FIFY. What is an "expensive" society or civilization? My view is that it is one that costs a lot to live in either directly through a greater take of someone's productive output or via impositions such as taking away freedom of speech and thought. It's obviously a very subjective criteria, but here I think a good threshold is whether a participant gets to keep most of their obtained wealth while simultaneously having a great deal of freedom to act. A Somalian society probably doesn't have that much in the way of freedom, for example.

            If you have a viable alternative to an organised state (not government) administered by a body of democratically elected officials (THIS is the government), I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter.

            You conflate an organized, democratic society with an "expensive" one. For example, the US has huge expenses that don't contribute to civilization such as outsized military spending, Social Security, and Medicare/Medicaid (which are incidentally also the big three items in the US budget). Similarly, all three items impinge on US citizens' freedom in a variety of ways (such as more intrusive databases, forced tax collecting and spending, and the partly rogue military-industrial complex).

            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by hoochiecoochieman on Friday July 04 2014, @01:43PM

              by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Friday July 04 2014, @01:43PM (#64145)

              I agree that the US military expense is crazy, but Social Security and health care are exactly what a state should be spending tax money in.

              The reason your Social Security expenses are so high is because your society doesn't have enough redistribution that enables all working people to live decently. The reason for your crazy health expenses is that you don't have a public health care system, like all other developed countries do.

              • (Score: 2) by khallow on Friday July 04 2014, @02:50PM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday July 04 2014, @02:50PM (#64171) Journal

                but Social Security and health care are exactly what a state should be spending tax money in.

                Who's going to pay for it? Both programs have the very considerable problem of promising more than they can deliver with current taxation. Medicare/Medicaid is particularly bad. For example, a Medicare recipient [forbes.com] takes out about $3 dollars for ever dollar they put in. Medicaid has the problem that it's operating below costs for a fair portion of current health care providers. They also dumped several million more people on the program this year.

                Social Security is better off, but it'll still take as I understand it something like a 25% cut in benefits relative to current revenue to keep the program stable.

                You can speak of what a state "should" be spending its money on, but there's the matter of whether that state can afford it. Too high costs lead to consequences and compromises elsewhere.

                • (Score: 2) by hoochiecoochieman on Friday July 04 2014, @03:10PM

                  by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Friday July 04 2014, @03:10PM (#64184)

                  Your absurd health care system keeps the costs sky-high. You are the biggest health spender in the world, and you spend twice as much on health care as the next country. Yet, your health care ranks third-world level. So, the Medicare problem is way more complicated than you put it.

                  About Social Security, you mention cuts to afford it, but maybe the problem is somewhere else. With the crazy levels of inequality and unfair taxation in your country, cuts are not the first thing that comes to mind.

                  But this is my opinion. It's not my country, it's yours. If you don't give a shit about the poor, the sick and the old, have it your way and be happy. But please, stop trying to export your model, we don't want it.

                  • (Score: 2) by khallow on Friday July 04 2014, @05:08PM

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday July 04 2014, @05:08PM (#64248) Journal

                    Your absurd health care system keeps the costs sky-high. You are the biggest health spender in the world, and you spend twice as much on health care as the next country. Yet, your health care ranks third-world level. So, the Medicare problem is way more complicated than you put it.

                    Here's an example of the expensive civilization.

                    About Social Security, you mention cuts to afford it, but maybe the problem is somewhere else. With the crazy levels of inequality and unfair taxation in your country, cuts are not the first thing that comes to mind.

                    Social Security doesn't help the situation. And the crazy levels of inequality just aren't that crazy or worth that much effort to reduce. Further, unsustainable spending increases inequality, because it is the people who can buy politicians or move their assets easily out of a country into another, who can best take advantage of high levels of short term spending.

                    • (Score: 2) by hoochiecoochieman on Friday July 04 2014, @06:16PM

                      by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Friday July 04 2014, @06:16PM (#64273)

                      Your absurd health care system keeps the costs sky-high. You are the biggest health spender in the world, and you spend twice as much on health care as the next country. Yet, your health care ranks third-world level. So, the Medicare problem is way more complicated than you put it.

                      Here's an example of the expensive civilization.

                      Since when your expensive, ineffective and inhuman (lack of) healthcare system is civilised?

                      About Social Security, you mention cuts to afford it, but maybe the problem is somewhere else. With the crazy levels of inequality and unfair taxation in your country, cuts are not the first thing that comes to mind.

                      Social Security doesn't help the situation.

                      Just because you say so.

                      And the crazy levels of inequality just aren't that crazy or worth that much effort to reduce.

                      I see you're on the 1% side. Either you're one of them or you're blind.

                      Further, unsustainable spending increases inequality, because it is the people who can buy politicians or move their assets easily out of a country into another, who can best take advantage of high levels of short term spending.

                      So you agree with me, it's better to spend money on the poor than injecting liquidity on the rich. The poor will inject the money right back in the economy, the rich will transfer it to the Caymans and sit on it.

                      • (Score: 2) by khallow on Friday July 04 2014, @07:38PM

                        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday July 04 2014, @07:38PM (#64290) Journal

                        Since when your expensive, ineffective and inhuman (lack of) healthcare system is civilised?

                        The obvious rebuttal is that you're employing the No True Scotsman fallacy. None of the US health care changes of the past half century were justified on the basis that they were barbaric. That's just a consequence.
                         
                         

                        Social Security doesn't help the situation.

                        Just because you say so.

                        It's a retroactive tax and people retiring after about 2020 will get out less than they put in.

                        I see you're on the 1% side. Either you're one of them or you're blind.

                        Just because you say so.

                        So you agree with me, it's better to spend money on the poor than injecting liquidity on the rich. The poor will inject the money right back in the economy, the rich will transfer it to the Caymans and sit on it.

                        And it's easy for the rich to subvert such sentiments. A fraction of money allocated to "the poor" will end up in the hands of various rent seekers. That's just how it works.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04 2014, @08:55PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04 2014, @08:55PM (#64313)

            By considering all the various programs currently undertaken by states as integral parts of the only viable form of statehood, and opposing that form to raw anarchy, you exclude the middle, the myriad forms of scaled back government that leave more to individuals and non-governmental organizations to accomplish and consequently incur less debt (taxes aren't really as big as borrowing in modern states anyway). Defense could be left to militias, welfare to charity, and retirement to families, whose young once carec for their elders and expected to be cared for by their children in turn. The marble steps of glittering capitols and the power of the sword and dole to compel citizens are not necessary components of a state. Ask the Athenians, who had no standing army, no public welfare except jury pay, and plenty of Democracy.

  • (Score: 2) by Popeidol on Friday July 04 2014, @04:48AM

    by Popeidol (35) on Friday July 04 2014, @04:48AM (#63970) Journal

    I don't think anybody is going to be particularly surprised by this news, the potential benefits and costs have been analysed pretty thoroughly before.

    The important thing is it serves as a concrete example of what can happen. There are a lot of countries and states out there barely scraping through their budgets who'll be watching this very closely: If you want to increase tax revenue, reduce crime, free up police resources, and boost local industry you can...you just have to balance that against the risk of alienating your voter base.

    (Unrelated example: legalising prostitution does the same thing at a smaller scale. Everybody wins, you just need politicians who're willing to cross the moral minefield.)

    • (Score: 5, Funny) by Nerdfest on Friday July 04 2014, @04:54AM

      by Nerdfest (80) on Friday July 04 2014, @04:54AM (#63978)

      Some of them have a long trek across the moron minefield before they get to the moral one.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Friday July 04 2014, @05:11AM

      by frojack (1554) on Friday July 04 2014, @05:11AM (#63986) Journal

      Washington got started about 6 or 8 months behind Colorado.

      In Washington, all the tax revenue goes to the state, and none to the local community, which has to go to the legislature with their hands out to get any of those tax benefits.

      So some communities are refusing to specify sales zones until the state starts sharing some of the revenue.

      And there are as yet only a few approved suppliers/a? for a system that is supposed to go live this Month (july). There are still a lot of people spinning horror stories about pot. Especially if there is even a hint of pot in any car involved in an accident. [seattlepi.com]

      The state is setting up expedited processing of blood samples (due to the quickness with which it clears the blood system, even though there is no legal standards for impairment.

      So you have half the state bureaucracy trying to carry out the voters mandate, and the other half of the state tossing grenades in the gears, and spinning horror stories.

      What I'd like to know from Colorado, is what effect has legalization had on traffic accidents, or DUI convictions.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 4, Funny) by EvilJim on Friday July 04 2014, @06:00AM

        by EvilJim (2501) on Friday July 04 2014, @06:00AM (#63996) Journal

        It takes a lot of effort to crash at only 10kph :) some stoners cant be arsed with anything that requires effort haha.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by hoochiecoochieman on Friday July 04 2014, @10:38AM

        by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Friday July 04 2014, @10:38AM (#64079)

        What I'd like to know from Colorado, is what effect has legalization had on traffic accidents, or DUI convictions.

        DUI wasn't legalised. If people were illegally driving stoned, they are still illegally driving stoned. What's the difference?

        • (Score: 1) by GeminiDomino on Friday July 04 2014, @03:32PM

          by GeminiDomino (661) on Friday July 04 2014, @03:32PM (#64195)

          When pot was illegal, the presence of any amount was considered evidence of wrongdoing. Now that it's not, the law needs to be brought up to date, so that the pot equivalent of .001 BAC is not considered "illegally driving stoned."

          --
          "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
          • (Score: 2) by frojack on Friday July 04 2014, @08:30PM

            by frojack (1554) on Friday July 04 2014, @08:30PM (#64305) Journal

            Exactly.

            And further, there are no studies that indicate when (at what level of detect-ability) impairment starts to become a problem. I suspect police will lobby strongly to maintain the zero tolerance level for driving.

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
            • (Score: 2) by EvilJim on Wednesday July 09 2014, @12:49AM

              by EvilJim (2501) on Wednesday July 09 2014, @12:49AM (#66283) Journal

              Over here the cops do a coordination test if they suspect you've been smoking by eye appearance/smell which is odd because they don't do that for alcohol, the machine does all the work there. we now have a bunch of people with parkinson's and cerebral palsy no longer allowed to drive.

      • (Score: 1) by cykros on Friday July 04 2014, @09:08PM

        by cykros (989) on Friday July 04 2014, @09:08PM (#64315)

        The state is setting up expedited processing of blood samples (due to the quickness with which it clears the blood system, even though there is no legal standards for impairment.

        The quickness with which it clears the blood system? Err...I suggest you go check your facts on that one. THC is lipid, not water, soluble, and as such tends to stick around for upwards of 30 days or more, unlike the majority of recreational drugs which clear the system in 1-3 days. It's one of the ironies of pre-employment drug screening; it catches the guy who smoked a joint a few weeks ago, but lets in the one who smoked crack 4 days ago.

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by Fry on Friday July 04 2014, @06:04AM

      by Fry (642) on Friday July 04 2014, @06:04AM (#63998)

      politicians who're

      Yep, all politicians are whores!

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by dcollins on Friday July 04 2014, @04:52AM

    by dcollins (1168) on Friday July 04 2014, @04:52AM (#63977) Homepage

    I completely support drug legalization, marijuana in particular. However: The claimed point about less murders is in the context of a too-small sample size (19 in Jan-May 2013, 11 in Jan-May 2014), which is too small from which to draw inferences. (You might say the change is within the margin of error.)

    If you look at other crimes against persons with large sample sizes, they have unfortunately gone up by significant amounts: simple assault (1212 to 1790 in the same time period), and intimidation (257 to 446). Drug and weapons violations are up, restraining order violations have doubled, criminal trespassing has tripled (169 to 593), and disorderly conduct has more than sextupled (89 to 595).

    http://www.denvergov.org/Portals/720/documents/statistics/2014/XCitywide_Reported_Offenses_2014.pdf [denvergov.org]

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by kaszz on Friday July 04 2014, @05:03AM

      by kaszz (4211) on Friday July 04 2014, @05:03AM (#63983) Journal

      Perhaps this shows more than anything what will happen: "disorderly conduct has more than sextupled (89 to 595)". Perhaps the change is the degree of seriousness?

      People behaving bad to get drugs and when on drugs. Repeat ad infinium.

      • (Score: 2) by Dunbal on Friday July 04 2014, @11:48AM

        by Dunbal (3515) on Friday July 04 2014, @11:48AM (#64101)

        It depends - what exactly is "disorderly conduct"? Taking pictures of public buildings? Screaming obscenities at McDonalds? It's a pretty wide catch all, unlike murder which is pretty specific. I think the end justifies the means. Some rowdy kids acting like douches is a small price to pay to have your kids still be alive.

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Ethanol-fueled on Friday July 04 2014, @05:14AM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Friday July 04 2014, @05:14AM (#63988) Homepage

      Yeah, and for all the time humans have been engorging on Marijuana and marijuana edibles, only recently in Colorado did Marijuana overdose claim its first victim. [medicaldaily.com] How convenient, just only after its mass-legalization within the U.S.A. during which the notion of marijuana legalization would be vulnerable to alarmist soccer-moms and other loud idiots who vote. Qouth from the article:

      " The group had eaten an unknown amount of pot-laced cookies when Thamba allegedly became "very agitated and upset" and ran off a fourth story hotel balcony, according to the NY Daily News. "

      Wow, so the prophecies outlined in the movie Reefer Madness were true -- people jumping out windows after having overdosed on Marihuana. Ronald Reagan's ghost lives on in the media, I guess. It's like these movies and things were written by people who never actually smoked weed in their lives. I could have sworn that same anecdote about jumping out the window was used to scare people away from LSD in the eighties, but then again anti-drug writers are not known for their creativity. Actually Hunter S. Thompson, a reformed drug user, had the following to say about marihuana:

      " Know your dope fiend! Your life may depend on it! You will not be able to see his eyes because of the Tea-Shades, but his knuckles will be white from inner tension and his pants will be crusted with semen from constantly jacking off when he can't find a rape victim. He will stagger and babble when questioned. He will not respect your badge. The Dope Fiend fears nothing. He will attack, for no reason, with every weapon at his command -- including yours. BEWARE. Any officer apprehending a suspected marijuana addict should use all necessary force immediately. One stitch in time (on him) will usually save nine on you. Good luck. "

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by PinkyGigglebrain on Friday July 04 2014, @06:12AM

        by PinkyGigglebrain (4458) on Friday July 04 2014, @06:12AM (#63999)
        Actually the Cannabis didn't kill him, it was the sudden stop when he hit the ground. FTFA "...the coroner has listed "marijuana intoxication" as a factor in his cause of death." Emphases mine.

        Sounds like he didn't know what he was eating and had a panic attack. This is not uncommon when you ingest WAY too much cannabis, also sounds like he and his friends didn't know your only supposed to eat part of the cookie/brownie.

        And as long as we are quoting H.S.Thompson

        "I have always loved marijuana. It has been a source of joy and comfort to me for many years. And I still think of it as a basic staple of life, along with beer and ice and grapefruits - and millions of Americans agree with me."

        .
        --
        "Beware those who would deny you Knowledge, For in their hearts they dream themselves your Master."
        • (Score: 1) by cykros on Friday July 04 2014, @09:18PM

          by cykros (989) on Friday July 04 2014, @09:18PM (#64324)

          Eat PART of the cookie or brownie? Who made that rule?

          Brownies/cookies/whatever other pot food you like are as strong as they are made (within some upper limit, I'm sure, based on how much THC can be absorbed into a given amount of lipid or be bonded with alcohol/sugar).

          The real issue seems to be that they didn't know their own limitations, and behaved recklessly. Much like when people head straight down a double diamond ski slope with trees their first time on skis.

          Stupidity is going to kill humans, regardless of what laws we put in place. Education, not legislation, is the fix.

      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04 2014, @06:15AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04 2014, @06:15AM (#64004)

        I think a point to make is a 1 year drop is not a trend. In fact it was lower in 2010 than now. http://www.city-data.com/crime/crime-Denver-Colorado.html [city-data.com]

        I think it is too early to tell anything. My guess is it is a wash when we have a good 10-15 under our belts. Honestly, that would be the best news of all. It means people can stop lying about it one way or another.

        Marijuana is a known stepping stone to harder drugs. However, many stop at that stepping stone. I have a few friends who didnt stop :( Every last one of them say 'if I hadnt started with that I probably would not be where I am today'. I am not saying Marijuana is going to lead you to heroin within a day. It does however make you less disposed to caution. Many of them got their stripes with it and thought they could handle the harder stuff. As it is a fairly mild drug. So it leads to over estimating what you can handle.

        You burn one up once and awhile. Nice, cool, good on you. Just do not think the next drug will be the same way. Some out there are wildly addictive.

        • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Friday July 04 2014, @06:27AM

          by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Friday July 04 2014, @06:27AM (#64008) Homepage

          Remember the geek-related articles about the show Breaking Bad. Wired magazine did a big analysis on the colors [wikipedia.org]in the TV series Breaking Bad which meant something. There were plenty of uneducated hipster analyses of the color "Pink," but not a single one of those sons of bitches knew what they were talking about, so I'll have to explain it for them:

          "Pink" refers to the reddish-pink color of the crude "bathtub crank" color of unrefined meth colored reddish/pinkish because it was polluted by the red phosphorous component in the crank.

        • (Score: 4, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04 2014, @07:15AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04 2014, @07:15AM (#64016)

          Marijuana is a known stepping stone to harder drugs.

          That's propaganda of the kind that even the "don't do drugs" consultants sent to Danish state schools have been telling the kids is bullshit for 25 years.

          Illegal marijuana is a stepping stone to other illegal drugs, simply by being illegal. When you already know a pusher, the step to buying something else from him (or getting a free sample) is very small, and the pusher may help you along by not having marijuana in stock today, but having this "almost the same, but a little better" other stuff.

          Where as going from buying marijuana at a legal store to buying something else from the black market is huge.

        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by hoochiecoochieman on Friday July 04 2014, @10:53AM

          by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Friday July 04 2014, @10:53AM (#64081)

          Not true. I've seen many people dive head first in drug addiction and, if they didn't have joints, they'd start by taking their mother's sleeping pills or sniffing glue. These people already had issues to deal with, and marijuana didn't make a difference.

          I know people with a perfectly stable life and family that like to smoke their joints and don't have any problem. I have yet to see any evidence of that "marijuana addiction" some ignorant people tell me about.

          I know lots of addicts who are destroying themselves and the ones around them, but they are perfectly accepted and respected by society. Their drugs of choice are called tobacco and alcohol.

          • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Saturday July 05 2014, @02:54AM

            by Reziac (2489) on Saturday July 05 2014, @02:54AM (#64404) Homepage

            I've known people who were unable to function without their daily pot, and inability to function without something (that's not biological necessity, like air) is a good practical definition of addiction.

            Still, I fail to see why it's any worse than addiction to those other legal drugs of choice. As you say, lacking better treatment, people dealing with issues WILL find some way to self-medicate.

            --
            And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
    • (Score: 1) by istartedi on Friday July 04 2014, @06:16AM

      by istartedi (123) on Friday July 04 2014, @06:16AM (#64006) Journal

      Wow, what's up with those arson numbers? Did it really take them that long to figure out how to light up without setting the building on fire?

      --
      Appended to the end of comments you post. Max: 120 chars.
      • (Score: 1) by jbruchon on Friday July 04 2014, @11:05AM

        by jbruchon (4473) on Friday July 04 2014, @11:05AM (#64085) Homepage

        In other news, Milton from Office Space moved to Colorado a couple of years ago!

        --
        I'm just here to listen to the latest song about butts.
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04 2014, @11:26AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04 2014, @11:26AM (#64090)

      maybe the cops are free to now follow up and make arrests for other crimes, which were previously going unpunished?

      no idea, just sayin' be careful about implying causation in the numbers.

    • (Score: 1) by Buck Feta on Friday July 04 2014, @04:57PM

      by Buck Feta (958) on Friday July 04 2014, @04:57PM (#64242) Journal

      Some sociologist will get their doctorate trying to make sense of all this.

      --
      - fractious political commentary goes here -
    • (Score: 2) by Non Sequor on Friday July 04 2014, @07:16PM

      by Non Sequor (1005) on Friday July 04 2014, @07:16PM (#64285) Journal

      Sample size is the wrong terminology. Here's a more precise analysis (off the top of my head):

      19 per 600,000 (approx population of Denver) per five months is a rate of approximately 3.8 per 600,000 residents per month. Treating the murders per month as a binomial random variable with n=600,000, then you have an expected value of 3.8 per month and variance of (approximately) 3.8, giving a standard deviation of around 1.8. Over five months, the standard deviation is sqrt(5)*1.8=roughly 4.

      10 and 19 are about two standard deviations apart under this basic model. It can't be ruled out that this is just a fluctuation or the result of some transient (as opposed to persistent) exogenous factor, but surmising a change in the murder rate is a fairly reasonable preliminary conclusion. It wouldn't be wise to bet that the murder rate for the remainder of 2014 won't be lower than the murder rate for the corresponding period in 2013.

      The simple assaults changed by enough that it is easily possible to conclude that the something has caused a change in the rate of occurrence for that crime. Looking at some of the other crimes that had dramatic increases (disorderly conduct, drunkenness, trespassing, weapons law violations), an increase in rowdy visitors to the city could be an explanation. Or it could be a change in law enforcement policy in pursuing these crimes. Population statistics can give you an indication that some story is unfolding, but they generally can't tell you what that story is or how it will develop in the future.

      --
      Write your congressman. Tell him he sucks.
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by hellcat on Friday July 04 2014, @05:38AM

    by hellcat (2832) on Friday July 04 2014, @05:38AM (#63991) Homepage

    The economy is also on the upswing. And it's summertime. How many other factors are there?

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by anubi on Friday July 04 2014, @06:19AM

    by anubi (2828) on Friday July 04 2014, @06:19AM (#64007) Journal

    I am hoping that either the government goes after this whole hog, or ignores it.

    I am watching the industrial complex where I now work being switched over, unit by unit, to the production of marijuana. What's going on is the California medical marijuana act lets each person grow so many plants... several people get together, banding together their "rights", into a collective, which earns them a heckuva lot more money than anybody else in the complex, trying to earn a workingman's wage, can earn.

    California law keeps the big guys out.

    So there is a lot of money to be made in growing the stuff. I have been approached many times, as people know I am sympathetic to the marijuana cause but do not use, and offer me a cut for applying for a permit then letting them grow and market the stuff in my name.

    I have always tried to keep my name clean, hopefully I will get a meaningful job one day. Hopefully some employer would want an older guy that's kept his nose clean, but for now, this is getting awful tempting.

    The sad thing is I would earn far more money producing marijuana than I earn doing electronic engineering stuff - and I have 40 years experience doing the electronic stuff!

    Yet I now am seeing ads trying to get kids into engineering. That's not where the money is. If you have to support a family, I would surely suggest something else, however if you just love to do this kinda stuff, you may not live high on the hog, but at least you can do what you find rewarding.

    Employers can always import an H-1B to do what I do... but people will buy the weed.

    --
    "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
    • (Score: 2) by choose another one on Friday July 04 2014, @12:02PM

      by choose another one (515) on Friday July 04 2014, @12:02PM (#64105)

      Yet I now am seeing ads trying to get kids into engineering. That's not where the money is. If you have to support a family, I would surely suggest something else, however if you just love to do this kinda stuff, you may not live high on the hog, but at least you can do what you find rewarding.

      It has always been that way, what my father told me and what I tell my kids. Engineering has never been where the money is, nor is software.

      Starting a business that might have a product that might have some sales and being lucky enough to get bought for big money - yeah, that works, but it is the "business" bit that makes the money (or rather extracts it from someone else). The product isn't really relevant - software is just a fashionable one - and it is the business folks who make the money, not the engineers (engineers are those you screw over on the way to making the money).

      The ads though, they are the wrong way round. They should be saying "want steady money, do medicine, want maybe more money if luckier, do law or accounting". That was I think what my dad told me.

      What did I do ? EE. See, the kids, they never f***ing listen...

      • (Score: 2) by hoochiecoochieman on Friday July 04 2014, @01:50PM

        by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Friday July 04 2014, @01:50PM (#64147)

        Why are people never happy? Why are we so pressured to become millionaires? The chance of it happening is lower than winning the lottery. Just have fun with your life!

        I'm a software engineer, working for a private company. I'll never become rich, but I like my job and I make a decent living. So, what's the problem?

        I know a few lawyers and accountants who are rich. Most of them, however, are flipping burgers. I've never seen an engineer flipping burgers.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04 2014, @03:53PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04 2014, @03:53PM (#64204)

          "I'm a software engineer, working for a private company. I'll never become rich, but I like my job and I make a decent living. So, what's the problem?"

          The problem is that world is disappearing.
          Kids watch "Silicon Valley", and are taught to bust your ass in a startup, because cashing out
          by 30 is what you do now, then create another startup.
          The only people who win are the VCs, who set up the rules and rig the game in the first place.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04 2014, @03:50PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04 2014, @03:50PM (#64203)

        Tell that to the kids coming out of school who can't get jobs as nurses.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04 2014, @05:06PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04 2014, @05:06PM (#64247)

          If they can't get jobs as nurses then either their grades suck or they're not looking very hard. There's a chronic shortage of nurses.

          • (Score: 1) by Uncle_Al on Friday July 04 2014, @05:39PM

            by Uncle_Al (1108) on Friday July 04 2014, @05:39PM (#64263)
            • (Score: 1) by cykros on Friday July 04 2014, @11:52PM

              by cykros (989) on Friday July 04 2014, @11:52PM (#64359)

              The new health care law was supposed to ease the burden on hospitals by expanding Medicaid coverage to more low-income Americans, who often use hospital services in emergencies, then don't pay their bills. But 26 states, including Tennessee, rejected the ACA's offer of federal funding to expand Medicaid. That decision led to about a third of the job cuts by Nashville-based Vanderbilt, Howser says.

              That explains why it's so out of left field to me. Here in MA, the hospitals are doing anything but laying folks off.

              26 states really are putting up with elected officials who can't stop them from paying into this program, but are REFUSING the benefits of it, causing a healthcare recession in their states? I think some folks need to pay a little more attention next time they go to the ballot box.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04 2014, @03:58PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04 2014, @03:58PM (#64207)

      > I have always tried to keep my name clean, hopefully I will get a meaningful job one day.
      > Hopefully some employer would want an older guy that's kept his nose clean, but for now,
      > this is getting awful tempting.

      Dude! Why are you holding yourself back like that? That sounds like decades of peer-pressure is messing with your head. It is legal now, it's a government issued permit. How much more "clean" does it have to get? Pot is only going to get more accepted by society. Nobody is going to care if you followed the letter of the law while maybe not following the spirit of the law.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04 2014, @04:10PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04 2014, @04:10PM (#64212)

        "It is legal now, it's a government issued permit. How much more "clean" does it have to get?"

        Tell that to the folks who got shut down in California by the Feds.

        What will happen when the next Reagan Republican takes the White House?

      • (Score: 1) by anubi on Saturday July 05 2014, @12:37AM

        by anubi (2828) on Saturday July 05 2014, @12:37AM (#64367) Journal

        Yeh, I was in Aerospace. Typical Military-Industrial complex stuff. They had more people nosing into everyone else's stuff than they had people doing the job.

        I got nailed when my boss wanted me to use a cad system I had no idea how to use, and had a security guard remove the computer running the CAD system I had been using for about ten years. I got so floundered on the new system that I fell far behind.

        I now use Eagle, however I was fortunate enough to land in the company of others who could show me how to use it. I was not that fortunate in the Aerospace environment - everybody had "charge numbers" and it was in nobody's best interest to show a newbie the ropes. It was a big company, so it made very little difference whether or not the company would benefit from some 30-odd years experience I had building stuff.

        I figured with today's technology, a quick internet search ( like spokeo ) would reveal anything anyone has ever botched up.

        I was hoping an employer might consider whether or not a guy shows up drunk on the job, on drugs, had a history of stealing stuff, or other dishonest behaviour against being a bit sluggish when faced with trying to decipher how to use a brand new CAD system.

        At least I could say my stuff worked.
         

        --
        "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]