Pardon People, Not Just Turkeys

Abby Zimet

In what has been dubbed "America's dumbest tradition" - though God knows, with Black ThursFriday coming up, the competition is stiff - Obama today pardons one of two turkeys named Caramel and Popcorn, thus bringing the total of turkeys he has pardoned (10) to roughly the same number of human beings convicted of drug crimes he has pardoned (11) - that, despite his Administration's vow to "challenge that which is unjust" and reform an excessively punitive justice system, most notably its mandatory minimum sentencing for non-violent drug crimes. Obama has in fact granted the fewest pardons of any modern president - including the law-and-order Nixon, who declared a war on drugs - with just 39 pardons and one commutation, or 0.01% of 5,371 applications, over 55 months, a paltry record leading one critic to call Obama "the unmerciful drug warrior." The ACLU is among many urging his Administration to do better. Still, today Obama offered a "full reprieve" to Popcorn, so there's that. Here are some people who deserve at least as much.


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