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View Diary: DK Elections Policy Weekly Open Thread: What Issues Are You Interested In? (256 comments)

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  •  I've never smoked a cigarette in my life... (6+ / 0-)

    And I don't plan to ever start. I think it's a disgusting habit and tobacco addiction is a blight on the planet.

    That being said, I think once you reach the age of majority, you're an adult. If you're old enough to serve in the military, IMO, you're old enough to buy and drink alcohol or buy and smoke tobacco, marijuana, or salvia.

    I have a few policy quirks on this issue:

    1. I think drivers' licenses should not be conferred before the age of 18, except for limited-use licenses allowing approved 16- and 17-year-olds to drive on rural roads during daylight hours only (intended for agricultural areas), with regulations such as requiring them to log driving hours and file them at intervals with the state's DMV or MVA or equivalent division.

    2. I think high-caffeine drinks should be regulated the same as alcohol or tobacco, due to the health risks and physical effects of caffeine binges.

    3. I think hallucinogenic mushrooms should be legalized and regulated the same as marijuana and salvia, as psilocybin mushrooms occur in nature, are not particularly likely to be abused, and have medicinal applications.

    4. I think public smoking of any substance should be restricted to designated areas, due to the noxious odors produced by smoking and the health issues associated with second- and third-hand smoke.

    5. I think drinking in public should be legal, unless the person drinking is obviously under the influence (similar to the criteria in a restaurant or bar). This could probably be restricted to beverages under 20% ABV, although I don't know if I'd argue for that.

    The alternative to having 18 be the age of majority is making either 16 or 21 the age for everything. I tend to think the former would expose too many underdeveloped brains to dangerous chemicals while doing nothing to solve the driving hazard created by allowing minors to drive on their own, and the latter would be unworkable from a practical standpoint.

    Pragmatic progressive. Oregonian, Cascadian, and American. Keeper of the DKE glossary.

    by SaoMagnifico on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 10:48:18 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  The best reason for a lower driving age IMO (5+ / 0-)

      Is it's easier for kids to learn when they're still at home with their parents than when they go off to college.

      •  I agree, and I don't want to change a thing... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY

        With regard to learners' permits. I think we have an unreasonably short turnaround between permit and license in this country, and that inexperience and youth are major contributors to road accidents involving minors. I consider myself a responsible person who is a pretty good driver these days, and I caused two accidents (no injuries, thankfully, but I totaled my mother's car the second time) in six months during high school. I knew plenty of classmates who got into wrecks themselves, including a girl who was injured badly enough that she had to go to physical therapy for several weeks after running a red light and getting T-boned.

        Pragmatic progressive. Oregonian, Cascadian, and American. Keeper of the DKE glossary.

        by SaoMagnifico on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 11:06:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  OK, I get it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bythesea

          So your point is that people below 18 should have learners' permits, not full licenses. What's the practical difference?

          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

          by MichaelNY on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 11:47:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Fewer unsupervised minors driving (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MichaelNY

            In my experience, it was a lot easier to get complacent when I didn't have my mother crying out every time I approached a stop sign at more than 10 mph.

            Pragmatic progressive. Oregonian, Cascadian, and American. Keeper of the DKE glossary.

            by SaoMagnifico on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 02:41:50 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  In other words, the practical difference (0+ / 0-)

              is that people with learner's permits can't drive without an adult present. Which goes back to my point that without a real driver's license, teenagers in suburbs mostly won't be able to work.

              Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

              by MichaelNY on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 07:55:56 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  you're talking to someone who (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                uclabruin18, SaoMagnifico

                lives in a metro area where every suburban city is either part of the metropolitan transit system with buses and some light rail as well, or their own bus system. A big portion of transit riders here are teens.

                ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

                by James Allen on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 08:03:48 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Most cities aren't like that though (4+ / 0-)

                  Particularly outside of the Northeast and few dense pockets of the Midwest and West Coast.

                  For example, the bus system was woefully inadequate in Tulsa (as it is in many similar systems) and there's virtually no way to get around without a car.

                  27, originally OK-1, currently NY-10. Former swingnut.

                  by okiedem on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 08:15:57 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I realize that. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    SaoMagnifico

                    Perhaps we shouldn't have laws like this applied universally, then. In the suburb I lived in as a teen, I could walk from my house to the high school and every area with businesses fairly reasonably, and we had a free bus system, too (paid for by the city and local businesses). I didn't need to drive. Where I lived as a child, 7 miles away, I would've needed to drive had I been older. It was too far away from everything to bike or walk.

                    In my ideal world, though, I don't think teenagers would work. At least not till 18.

                    ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

                    by James Allen on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 08:28:44 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  This will never be the ideal world. n/t (0+ / 0-)

                      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                      by MichaelNY on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 08:34:17 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Thanks, I didn't realize that. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        BeloitDem

                        ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

                        by James Allen on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 08:35:26 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I'm not trying to talk down to you (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          James Allen

                          I just think that, in considering how horrible conditions are in many parts of the world, to speak about an ideal condition of teens not having to work just doesn't feel right to me. Sure, if that were possible, but we know many teens will need to work, and therefore have to act on that basis, when making policy.

                          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                          by MichaelNY on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:18:47 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  Think of places 50 degrees colder (4+ / 0-)

                      Most places (as opposed to places with the most people) have no ability to have mass transit.  Many of those places additionally are essentially impossible to bike some days of the year because of snow.  Many other days are too cold to bike or walk more than a couple miles.

                      Mr. Gorbachev, establish an Electoral College!

                      by tommypaine on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 08:45:43 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Yet driving is even more dangerous... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        MichaelNY

                        In those places. And study after study has shown that children -- because that's what 15-, 16-, and 17-year-olds are, you know -- are far worse drivers than adults.

                        Pragmatic progressive. Oregonian, Cascadian, and American. Keeper of the DKE glossary.

                        by SaoMagnifico on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:09:35 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Doesn't matter (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          MichaelNY, jncca

                          People going to jobs don't have the luxury of weighing the dangers.  

                          And also, the difference between a 17 year old driving to the Quickie Mart to work the swing shift and a drunk 17 year old partying with friends are massive.  Coming up with an average is misleading.

                          The point I was making though is simply that one size does not fit all.  Some kids in cold climates work to help support their families, or to free up time for the adult.  How a teen gets to a job in San Jose and how a teen gets to a job in Fargo are entirely different risk/reward social issues.  And the smaller the community, or more rural, the more the differences grow.

                          Mr. Gorbachev, establish an Electoral College!

                          by tommypaine on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:35:19 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Legally, yes. (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          psychicpanda, MichaelNY

                          But there's no magical fairy that makes you go from being completely irresponsible when you're 17 years and 364 days to completely responsible when you're 18.

                          •  Everyone understands that (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            SaoMagnifico

                            But we have to take what we collectively consider an average age of maturity and make that the legal age of majority.

                            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                            by MichaelNY on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 10:48:56 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yeah, I get that (0+ / 0-)

                            I was just pushing back against the way Sao made a special point of referring to 15-17 year olds as children. While we do need to draw the line somewhere, the mental capacity of a 17 and a half year old for driving won't be much worse than an 18 year old.

                          •  I thought I was mature enough to vote when I was (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            SaoMagnifico

                            12. I think some people are never mature enough to be well trusted to vote. But I would fight as hard as possible against any policy preventing or making it difficult for adults to vote.

                            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                            by MichaelNY on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 11:15:00 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Also, part of the reason (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            MichaelNY

                            Adults are better drivers than teenagers is that they've had more experience. If you delay when folks start driving, you probably also delay the development of that experience.

                          •  I don't want to delay when they start driving... (0+ / 0-)

                            I want to delay the point at which they have no special oversight when driving, because many drivers are clearly not prepared for that level of responsibility when they reach it at the age of 16.

                            Pragmatic progressive. Oregonian, Cascadian, and American. Keeper of the DKE glossary.

                            by SaoMagnifico on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:08:02 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  What's your practical accommodation (0+ / 0-)

                            for teenagers who live in places without decent public transit, have to work, and have parents who are way too busy to accompany them to and from work? That's not a small demographic.

                            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                            by MichaelNY on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:26:54 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That's up to teenagers (0+ / 0-)

                            I don't think it's right to sacrifice public safety because some underage teens want to make some money and for whatever reason can't find a job they can get to without a car. I'm sure they wouldn't be happy about it, but I doubt the people whose cars I hit when I was in high school were terribly happy about having their vehicles bashed up by a dumb kid.

                            Pragmatic progressive. Oregonian, Cascadian, and American. Keeper of the DKE glossary.

                            by SaoMagnifico on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:31:55 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The practical effect is probably to prevent teens (0+ / 0-)

                            from working in large areas of the country. The longer-term solution, if the country were to embrace it, would be major expenditures for public transit. But I'm not too comfortable making it impossible for teens to work, if that's in fact what your proposal would do.

                            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                            by MichaelNY on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:38:52 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Realistically... (0+ / 0-)

                            I think it would create pressure on local governments to establish more efficient mass transit networks and move toward integrated residential and commercial developments -- New Urbanism, in other words. That ties in, conveniently enough, with my personal vision of the direction urban planning should move in the United States -- away from the sprawling quiltwork of cookie-cutter subdivisions, strip malls, and business parks that defines most American suburbs (and an increasing number of metroplexes outright, if the Sun Belt is any indication).

                            Pragmatic progressive. Oregonian, Cascadian, and American. Keeper of the DKE glossary.

                            by SaoMagnifico on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:49:11 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Realistically (0+ / 0-)

                            That's why your policy proposal would be impossible to pass.

                            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                            by MichaelNY on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:26:22 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Quite right (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            MichaelNY

                            Ah well, maybe in Cascadia...

                            Pragmatic progressive. Oregonian, Cascadian, and American. Keeper of the DKE glossary.

                            by SaoMagnifico on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:00:46 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Realistically the vast majority of 16 year olds (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            MichaelNY

                            drive fine.  There is no significant social problem that needs to be dealt with in terms of non-adult driving.

                            Mr. Gorbachev, establish an Electoral College!

                            by tommypaine on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:52:53 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  yes (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        MichaelNY

                        as I said above, transportation issues really shouldn't be thought of universally.

                        ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

                        by James Allen on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:54:15 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

        •  As (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MichaelNY

          someone who hasn't gotten his license yet, but has gotten his learners' permit twice (never had the time to get comfortable behind the wheel).

          I can tell you I really hate driving. I hadn't gotten into any accidents when I actually was behind the wheel, but I had a couple of close shaves.

          I understand getting your license is a necessity of life and it will be something I will do (my parents and friends are hounding me to get my license), but I don't subscribe to the 1950's-1960's view that getting a drivers' license was a rite of passage everyone had to go through like your first kiss, losing your virginity, going to Senior Prom, etc.

          The Republican party is now an extreme right-wing party that is owned by their billionaire campaign contributors. - Bernie Sanders

          by ehstronghold on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 11:53:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Given today's transportation system (6+ / 0-)

      you can't deny teenagers the privilege of driving in suburbs unless you want them not to work.

      I agree with all of you that depriving adults under 21 of some of their rights is abhorrent, and I believe it should be unconstitutional as a lack of equal protection of the laws.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 11:46:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with your first paragraph, (0+ / 0-)

      and #s 2 and 4. I disagree with #s 1, 3, and 5.

      The problem with #1 is exactly what Michael said. If suburban teenagers don't have cars, they can't work. It's as simple as that.

      As for #3, I don't know much about hallucinogenic mushrooms, but I'd need to be shown evidence that they aren't dangerous before I'd support legalizing them.

      Finally, for #5, I don't know the specifics of our current alcohol laws (I don't drink, so I don't have to worry about them), but I really don't think that any current laws should be loosened.

      As for Skaje's original comment, I strongly support raising the legal age for tobacco smoking to 21.

      (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

      by ProudNewEnglander on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 11:58:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Those driving "logs" are a PITA (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gabjoh, MichaelNY

      and they're pretty useless.  I lied on mine, as I'm pretty sure most people do.

      It's not uncommon at all to see people in rural areas driving without a license, even kids under fifteen.  When I was fourteen my dad took me out to a rural road to teach me how to drive.  So I think a law like you propose in point #1 would be unnecessary and hard to enforce.

      On #2.  By "high caffeine drinks" do you mean coffee?  Regulating coffee intake would not go over well with most of the caffeine addicts I know... :P

      Let me ask you this, then.  If a seventeen year old intentionally kills someone, should they be charged as a child?  Death penalty issues aside.

      I don't think you can have one single age at which you are considered an adult for every purpose.  In North Carolina, you can get a driver's license when you're 16 and you can be charged as an adult in court when you're 16 (although you can't get the death penalty).  I would consider lowering the age to purchase alcohol to 18 but overall I think that's a pretty good system.

      •  I mean coffee, espresso, energy drinks... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY

        I'm mostly thinking of energy drinks, but pediatricians are pretty much united, last time I checked, in saying kids shouldn't have too much caffeine and caffeine is too prevalent in the modern diet. I don't think there's the political will to do much of anything about it, but if I were the god-king of America, I would treat caffeine pretty much the same as any other legally sanctioned drug.

        As for minors committing crimes, I think our juvenile justice system in general needs an overhaul. I don't think it should mean nothing when a minor teenager commits a crime, but I'm disturbed by the trend of trying younger and younger children as adults.

        Pragmatic progressive. Oregonian, Cascadian, and American. Keeper of the DKE glossary.

        by SaoMagnifico on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 02:47:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think you should be able (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SaoMagnifico, MichaelNY, Skaje

        To be charged as an adult in court until you can vote. Period.

      •  I think that if you don't have the right to vote (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SaoMagnifico, Skaje

        you shouldn't suddenly be treated as an adult if you murder someone. Either you are a minor or not. Yes, I think that a single age should arbitrarily be set as the dividing line, in the sense that no adult should be denied a legal right that older adults have.

        Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

        by MichaelNY on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 08:00:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree -- the line has to be drawn somewhere... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MichaelNY

          And 18 years old is as good a place as any.

          Pragmatic progressive. Oregonian, Cascadian, and American. Keeper of the DKE glossary.

          by SaoMagnifico on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:07:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  There is a difference between (0+ / 0-)

          knowing right vs. wrong and being civically engaged enough to vote.  I don't think an eighteen year old understands the consequences of killing someone any more than a sixteen year old.  There's definitely an age at which someone is two young to be tried as an adult, but I think a fifteen or sixteen year old is old enough to take that responsibility.  Maybe they aren't old enough to vote, but they are old enough to drive and (in some states) get married.

          I hate to do this, but let me use an extreme example.  If the Columbine perpetrators hadn't killed themselves, would you want them to go to jail for life or fulfill a sentence at a juvenile facility, which really couldn't be more than ten or fifteen years.  Would you be comfortable with those guys walking the streets today after what they did?  Or do you pity them because they were just innocent children and didn't know what they were doing?

          •  *too young (0+ / 0-)
          •  I just philosophically disagree with you (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SaoMagnifico, tommypaine

            Plus, studies show that teenagers' brains work differently from adults' brains. You may be right that 18 is the wrong age of majority, but if that's the case, let's make 21 or 25 or whatever the minimum voting age. What doesn't make any sense to me is allowing people who can't legally drink carry a gun and serve in the military, or treating minors as adults, suddenly, because they murdered someone.

            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

            by MichaelNY on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 09:34:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  On a moral level... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BeloitDem, MichaelNY, Stephen Wolf

            I think it's wrong to subject a person to the full brunt of the criminal justice system when they have never been enfranchised.

            Which reminds me, the disenfranchisement of ex-felons that is so popular in many states would not be legal in my perfect nation.

            Pragmatic progressive. Oregonian, Cascadian, and American. Keeper of the DKE glossary.

            by SaoMagnifico on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:03:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I completely agree (0+ / 0-)

              But even in our imperfect nation, fighting for people who have served their time to get their voting rights back is an important civil rights battle of our time.

              Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

              by MichaelNY on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:00:49 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I respect your viewpoint (0+ / 0-)

              But just to be specific, where would you draw the line as far as punishments for minors go?  In the example I gave, the kids responsible for the Columbine massacre, what sentence would they be eligible for?  Or if you want a more tangible example, the kids who are responsible for the murder of Christopher Lane?

              I agree with you on the point about ex-felons though.

              And now that we're diving into a deep debate over law and justice and civil liberties and such... what do you guys think about sex offender registries?  Ok or not ok?

              •  Sex offender registries are problematic (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                SaoMagnifico, BeloitDem, sapelcovits

                because they include people who were arrested at 18 for having statutory rape with their 16-year-old girlfriends. Otherwise, I don't have a problem with them, though I'd be willing to hear out other views and consider them.

                I think that with minors who commit severe crimes, it's important to consider whether in the future, their mental stage of development has made them a low risk for further danger to society. But in no case should children be put in prisons with adults, nor should they be tried as adults. If we want to legislate severe punishments for some juvenile crimes, they should be written in the juvenile law, and we shouldn't pretend they're being used because of the maturity of the alleged offender. The fact that a juvenile committed a murder is not likely to be evidence of unusual maturity on their part.

                Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                by MichaelNY on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 06:36:37 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

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