This Friday marks the 45th anniversary of one of the most controversial and criticized crime-reduction policies in our nation’s history. On June 17, 1971 Richard Nixon’s administration published a special message from the President to the Congress on Drug Abuse Prevention and Control declaring drug abuse as “public enemy number one” in the U.S. The message included language about devoting more federal resources to this cause, in the hopes of “prevention of new addicts, and the rehabilitation of those who are addicted.” While that goal seemed to be born of the noble intentions, the resulting policy, widely known as the “War on Drugs,” has played out less as a strategy to protect people from the perils of substance abuse and more as a witch hunt, vilifying any connection to drugs and lumping minor offenders in with serious criminals. In addition to costing the U.S. roughly $51 billion annually to maintain, the War on Drugs leans heavily on the cooperation of confidential informants. Law enforcement recruits these informants by leveraging their own (often minor) drug offenses to compel them to cooperate. While acting as an informant is often portrayed to minor drug offenders as a path toward retribution and reduction of punishments, the glaring reality remains that these practices frequently thrust largely defenseless, unaware young offenders into dangerous circumstances. “Today’s drug war involves a countless number of confidential informants – many of which are young people who are busted for a small amount of drugs and then coerced into making much higher-level deals, putting them in very dangerous situations” says Derek Rosenfeld of the Drug Policy Alliance. The DPA, the leading organization in the U.S. working on alternatives to the Drug War, has spent years fighting for more sensible drug abuse prevention policies. As the DPA’s Tony Newman explains, “There are so many sick aspects of the failed drug war, but law enforcement forcing people with a drug arrest to choose between a draconian prison sentence or becoming an informant is one of the most nauseating.”Beginning with an “Action Day” pre-party today and running through Sunday, The Purple Hatter’s Ball at Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL this weekend aims to call attention to one such case—the tragic story of Rachel Morningstar Hoffman. After being arrested for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, Hoffman, a 23-year-old FSU graduate, was compelled to participate in a large-scale buy-bust operation involving 1,500 ecstasy pills, 2 ounces of cocaine, a handgun, and $13,000 cash. The deal went south, and Hoffman was murdered in the process. In her memory, the Purple Hatter’s Ball seeks to increase awareness of ongoing miscarriages of justice under the umbrella of the War on Drugs, inspire reform to drug-related policies like the Confidential Informant Law, and inspire people to lead healthier, safer lives in the live music community and beyond.How One Mother Turned Tragedy Into Triumph: The Rachel Morningstar Hoffman StoryFor more information on Rachel Morningstar Hoffman and the Purple Hatter’s Ball, visit the festival’s website.
The Dutch Investment Institute (NLII) has called on its government to step up efforts to create profitable local-economy investment opportunities for institutional investors.In an open letter to lawmakers, Loek Sibbing, chief executive at the NLII, said there were far too few attractive projects in the Netherlands and called for a dedicated organisation to co-finance projects and make them “investment-ready”.He argued that, “even if €10bn of institutional assets were instantly available” to finance offshore wind farms, schools and thermal grids, “the money would remain unspent”.He singled out projects that were part of the transition to sustainable energy generation as being particularly well suited for institutional investors. “Management-consulting firm McKinsey recently concluded that, in the Netherlands, €200bn of investment is needed over the next 20 years,” Sibbing said.“Because pension-fund participants want their schemes to [embrace] sustainability, the funds are keen to invest in such things as energy-efficient housing, cleaner engines for inland shipping, wind farms and thermal grids.”Sibbing also advocated a “robust government organisation with the leeway to launch and guide well-designed projects in an entrepreneurial fashion”.He added: “A decisive body, with its own assets and skilled staff, would carry weight with local government and semi-public institutions and therefore be able to speed up projects.”He said the organisation should also have risk-bearing public funds available to make initially unprofitable investments and cover risks.He said that just such a concept – called P3 – was already operating successfully in Canada.Since last year, the NLII – an initiative launched by Dutch institutional investors – has established two funds for SME investments, as well as a fund for investments in care property.Its corporate-loans fund (BLF) has already raised €480m of its €500m target, with €180m invested and €140m in the pipeline.Investors have also committed €100m to the NLII’s subordinated-loans fund (ALF), which has a target of €300m.SPH, the €9.5bn occupational pension fund for general practitioners in the Netherlands, has committed €80m to NLII’s care property fund.Sibbing said €14m had now been invested in the Apollo Zorgvastgoedfonds, with €110m of concrete projects remaining.Elsewhere, Dutch labour party PvdA said in its election manifesto that it wanted pension funds to invest at least 20% of their assets locally, while the liberal democrat D66 said it wanted “a new public merchant bank that links existing government expertise and budget with assets that are available – from pension funds, for example”.
BATESVILLE, Ind. – Indiana will officially mark 200 years of statehood on December 11.The City of Batesville will celebrate the Bicentennial by hosting an event at the Memorial Building on Sunday, December 11 at 11:30 a.m.Mayor Mike Bettice will officiate the ceremony and raise the official Bicentennial flag.Mayor Bettice will also recognize the Torchbearers who were locally nominated to participate in the Bicentennial Torch Relay in September.The city recently received a five-foot fiberglass bison sculpture from Duke Energy as part of the statewide public art project in conjunction with Indiana’s Bicentennial Celebration.The bison was painted by Batesville High School art teachers Mary K Cambron and Kyle Hunteman.Chris Fledderman of Enneking Auto Body oversaw the donated services of priming, base coating and sealing the bison.Tim Weberding led the effort of Weberding Carving Shop, to make the custom Indiana State Seals.During Sunday’s event, the name of Bicentennial Bison will also be unveiled.Community members submitted names to the Batesville Bicentennial Committee during the Tree Lighting Ceremony on December 1.