Perry in Davos

In retrospect, when Rick Perry began wearing those hipster glasses with the plastic frames last year, it may have been a sign that the governor’s highbrow makeover had begun. That, at least, was one way to interpret his attendance at this year’s World Economic Forum conference in Davos, a tiny resort town in Switzerland. The annual meeting is an exclusive, invitation-only confab of the world’s political and economic elite. The official purpose is for attendees to talk about global trends and how they, as the world’s power brokers, might best respond to the same. But Davos is also schmooze city for the presidents and CEOs who usually attend. Perry was the only United States governor in attendance, though not the only American politician; an album of photos on his public Facebook page showed him hobnobbing with a number of congressional representatives, including Kay Granger and Jeb Hensarling, both Republicans from Texas. Still, Perry seemed tickled by the chance to talk up the state, and his tenure at its helm, in front of an influential international audience.

And in light of Perry’s public remarks, during a panel discussion of the global “drugs dilemma”, I’d say he acquitted himself pretty well. A number of news outlets reported, with some surprise, that the governor of Texas had come out in favor of marijuana decriminalization. The reason people were surprised was that Perry has always opposed legalization of marijuana (or any other drug). They shouldn’t have been that surprised, though, because the governor also has a long record of supporting alternative approaches to the “war on drugs”, and that’s basically what he called for at Davos. From Jonathan Tilove’s summary, at the Austin American-Statesman:

Harris County Jail Has One of the Worst Sexual Assault Rates in the Country

Nelson Mandela once said that "no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails," and that "a nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones." If Mandela is right—and he was certainly someone in a position to know—then the judgments one can make against Harris County are fairly unkind. 

How to Get a Teenager to Admit to a Murder He Didn’t Commit

On April 21, 1993, the El Paso police picked up a seventeen-year-old boy named David Rangel and questioned him about a double murder that had occurred the night before. Detective Al Marquez and a second officer browbeat Rangel for hours, telling him—falsely—that others had already implicated him and that he would get life and be raped in prison if he didn’t cooperate.

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