I've been searching around for a way to justify flying down to Puerto Vallarta this winter. I should be going off to Gaza or Iraq or the Democratic Republic of Congo or something -- places where I can write about scorching-hot news. Even Washington DC would probably be a more newsworthy place to go right now than just the jewel of the Mexican Riviera. But instead I keep dreaming about sunny, friendly, inexpensive Puerto Vallarta. Puerto Vallarta is fun.
Then I read an article on Yahoo News that talked about Mexican drug cartels. Hmmm. Yes, both you and I know that Puerto Vallarta is NOT the place to go if you want to research a hot story about drug cartels -- PV is a much better destination point if you want to research tequila sunrises, laid-back beaches and home-made pies from Yelapa. But don't tell no one. As far as the rest of the blogosphere is concerned, I'll be down there in Puerto Vallarta wearing a trench coat and researching drug cartel warfare.
Yahoo News then went on to describe the type of grisly drug violence that is now happening in other parts of Mexico. Apparently there have been "beheadings, assassinations of police officers and soldiers, and mass killings in which the bodies were arranged to send a message.... 'They are capable of doing about anything,' said Rusty Payne, a Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman in Washington. 'When you are willing to chop heads off, put them in an ice chest and drop them off at a police precinct, or roll a head into a disco or put beheadings on YouTube as a warning, very little is off limits.'" But, sadly, none of this is taking place in PV. Perhaps I could follow the Republicans' example and just make something up?
But then Yahoo News went on to report that, "Americans are the cartels' best customers, sending an estimated $28.5 billion in drug-sale proceeds across the Mexico border each year." Perhaps that could be my excuse for using my frequent flyer miles to whisk me off to the PVR airport and take advantage of my friends' gracious offer to let me and my daughter Ashley stay at their house for a week -- I could go down there to do research on Americans? There are thousands of Americans in Puerto Vallarta right now.
But wait a minute.... Americans generate $28.5 billion in drug-sale proceeds each year -- just from the illegal drugs sold by cartels? That's a whole lot of tax-free income. Maybe I could bring back tons of marijuana in my suitcase and get a slice of that $28.5 billion myself? Nah, I don't have a criminal mind, can't lie with a straight face and would be sure to get caught at the border. But still and all, I hate to see all that $28.5 billion just going to waste. I have a better idea. Duh. The United States government could get a big chunk of that money that is now going to Mexico by LEGALIZING drugs such as marijuana. Oops, there would go my future drug-dealing career, having been muscled out of the drug-cartel business by Uncle Sam himself -- before I even had a chance to begin. But then I'm not really sure that I'd be up to beheading anyone.
Political commentator Mary MacElveen just wrote an article entitled, "The $780 billion stimulus bill can be paid down if we legalized marijuana". Forget about the $28.5 billion. Go large here, Uncle Sam. If you can manage to get a bunch of happy potheads to save America from the next Great Depression, then go for it.
And in the meantime, I'm off to Puerto Vallarta on February 27 -- to do some, er, research....
PS: Here's another reason for legalizing marijuana: Once it's legal, everyone will start growing it like mad, we will be helping the ecology movement by greening the planet faster and global warming will be averted! Either that or else we will simply no longer care.