October 4, 2011
Ken Burns opened the tap and poured some big ratings for the first night of his PBS documentary "Prohibition. " The first episode Sunday night averaged 3.9-million viewers, according to Nielsen. PBS estimated that at least 7.6-million viewers saw at least six minutes of the first installment of the three-part, 5½-hour program. Those are giant figures by PBS' usual standards, reflecting the power of Burns to draw a large audience. But they are small by commercial broadcast yardsticks and also lower than for some of the filmmaker's past multi-part projects.
April 22, 2013 |
I know that Prohibition didn't work. But sometimes I get nostalgic for it anyway. And I'm thinking that, today, Reese Witherspoon and Al Michaels might agree. By now you've seen the headlines about their misadventures with demon rum. If you're a news junkie, you might even have read the stories. If you're under 30, you've checked out the tweets -- which, I'm told, is just as good if not better than reading whole stories, like us old fogies do. (An aside here: Did you catch the wonderful documentary about “ All the President's Men ” and Watergate on Sunday?
January 12, 2009
Re "Looking for crime's smoking gun," Opinion, Jan. 8 I find it amazing that a renowned crime researcher could mention the decrease in crime in the 1930s over the 1920s without acknowledging one obvious reason: the repeal of Prohibition. Once the ban on alcohol was repealed, millions of Americans who wanted to drink no longer had to patronize criminals, and thousands who wanted to make and sell alcoholic beverages no longer had to break the law. As a result, turf wars between alcohol enterprises could be fought in the courts instead of in the streets with guns, and by taxing alcohol, the government could raise money to pay for the social costs of its use. It's a lesson James Q. Wilson should be acknowledging so his committee could consider whether lifting today's similarly misguided laws against recreational drugs might help solve the gang problem by cutting off their main source of income.
September 13, 1987
A bill to permanently ban commercial rent control in California has been approved by both houses of the Legislature and sent to Gov. George Deukmejian. SB 692 provides for a statewide prohibition against imposition of rent controls on any type of commercial (non-residential) property.
October 9, 2011
Time for a change Re "Neither high nor dry," Opinion, Oct. 5 Kevin A. Sabet argues that the country's disastrous experience with alcohol prohibition does not stand as an example of why the war on drugs must change. He misses a very basic point. The reason Prohibition didn't work and why the laws against drugs don't work is the same: People's desire to alter their consciousness, whether through alcohol or what are classified as "drugs," will not go away simply because of a law. In a country where individual freedom is cherished above virtually everything else, it is time to do away with the draconian drug laws that violate our freedom to make choices in our lives, even when the choices are bad ones.
October 1, 2011 |
It's fall on PBS, when the big documentary blockbusters heave into view; and nobody builds them bigger than Ken Burns, whose name always seems to be part of the title, even when it isn't: "Ken Burns' Baseball," "Ken Burns' Jazz," "Ken Burns' Civil War. " Burns likes to swallow huge subjects whole -- American subjects -- and this year he brings us "Prohibition," the story of the 14-year misrule of the 18th Amendment and of the decades-long temperance movement...