For Your Consideration

Chilling podcast, deep tunes and a new approach to the drug war

PODCAST | THE BLACK TAPES podcast has been called a cross between NPR and the X-Files, which is pretty much the best way to describe this docudrama that is both highly bingeable and very creepy. The podcast (which was clearly influenced by Serial) follows reporter Alex Reagan as she delves into the work of the enigmatic Dr. Richard Strand, a skeptical researcher who's made it his life's work to debunk paranormal explanations for strange events. Although Strand can casually dismiss most his cases with science and logic, there's a few he can't quite explain away. Theses cases, called the black tapes, lead Reagan deep into incidents involving demons with upside-down faces, a sound that opens a portal to hell and a bizarre cult, as well as Strand's own mysterious backstory.

BAND | Before the Pacific Northwest began churning out angsty grunge acts, indie-rock darlings and groovy synth pop, there was DEAD MOON, a chronically overlooked act that quietly influenced the region's music scene. The Portland trio spent about two decades building a loyal following with their brand of stripped-down rock, infused with heavy doses of country and punk, before splitting up in 2006. The band briefly reunited in 2014, but the reunion ended earlier this month when drummer Andrew Loomis died after being diagnosed with cancer last spring. Although the days of seeing Dead Moon play in a bar on a drenched Seattle night are gone, the band left behind a prolific pile of recordings. Go listen to one.

ARTICLE | Dan Baum argues in "LEGALIZE IT ALL," the cover story of the April issue of Harper's, that with a consensus emerging that the war on drugs has failed, it's time to have the conversation of how to begin outright legalizing illicit substances. He points to the success story of Portugal, which decriminalized cocaine, heroin and other illicit substances in 2001 and saw drug use decline. However, Baum argues that such an approach likely won't work in the U.S., and calls for a state-run system that carefully dispenses drugs. The biggest revelation from the article is John Ehrlichman, a top aide to President Richard Nixon, admitting that the war on drugs was about "criminalizing" black people and hippies and "disrupting their communities." ♦

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