Dear Contra:

First of all, more than any other group you took advantage of the aesthetic possibilities of a publishing platform like Blogs@Baruch. William did a very nice job of describing the relationship between the “puzzle” of images that display on the front page and the various kinds of data you found to support the notion that it is problematic that the War on Drugs was absent from the 2012 election. You also did a nice job relying methodologically upon one of the primary themes of the course: the idea that historians need to become adept at “reading the silences,” at seeing the absence of something as historically significant and seeing value in investigating why this is the case. You do a good job of linking within your site, both to other sections and to footnotes. Your group clearly has an impressive grasp of the aesthetic and navigational potential of digital spaces.

You also have a fair amount of sources, and you have data from each of the areas that we examined in class– though, unlike other groups, you did not work with any data: you produced no charts, no maps, and did no data or text mining (it seems like you guys put the energy that could have been devoted to that into aesthetics, which is ok, but is a choice you should explain in your papers).

The most significant problem with your site, however, is the lack of an answer to your question. Saying that “there were a lot of reasons why the War on Drugs was absent” and then discussing a few is a very good beginning, but it doesn’t explain much, and doesn’t hold up as a historical argument. How are these elements related? How are they weighted against each other? What were the costs and benefits for each candidate of this situation? Even if you don’t have definitive evidence proving every connection (the “smoking gun” evidence Tom discussed with you during Monday’s class), you should deliver to the reader your best explanation about the reasons for the absence. You have spent more time with the sources than most, if not all, of your site audience. For this reason, you are prepared to give evidence-based explanations that will be valuable to the reader.

The homepage for the site is appealing, but the navigation is confusing– there’s no discernible order the way you’re presenting information. That’s okay methodologically — we certainly looked at a variety of models for navigation this semester — but it should be explained in an “About this Site” page linked at the top of the menu, and in your papers. There should be a certain amount of intentionality behind your design choices and your information architecture. Think about that some more, and reflect on it in your papers.

This page — https://blogs.baruch.cuny.edu/warondrugs/2012/12/04/disparities-in-policies-state-federal-international/ — is emblematic of both the strengths and weaknesses of your project. Good sources, and you interpret them, but you fail to connect them to an argument.

This page — https://blogs.baruch.cuny.edu/warondrugs/further-readings-interests/ — needs more details on the sources. Follow the model we laid out on our course blog.

Finally, you did a nice job in your presentation inviting feedback from your classmates, building upon our suggestion that your embrace the potential for doing advocacy around this kind of public history work. But comments sections are a simple, easy, and rather fickle method for that type of outreach. If, perhaps, you wished to develop this space in the future it would benefit from a much more built-out system of public outreach. That, along with an exploration of a) what additional kinds of data you would need to locate and b) how you would integrate it analytically with what you’ve already done would both be valuable components of your final papers.

Luke and Tom


By midnight Sunday, your group must post to the blog a description of how your final project is fulfilling the distribution requirements. Remember, your projects must combine spatial history, data mining and analysis, textual analysis, and visual and aural artifacts:

Spatial history

For Spatial History,we plan to use this interactive map, because it showcase changes in national medical marijuana laws from 1995 to 2012. In addition, the color code is easy to follow, ranging from green to white gray. The green and lime green stats have legal medical Marijuana while gray and white gray stats represent where it has fail to pass and have any legalization medical marijuana bill. Next, is the interactive of the map, where when you click on a state it show the stats regulation/law regarding the medical marijuana. For example if you click on New York State on the map, a small text box pop up, with information stating New York is considering legislation for medical marijuana, with brief information  about the bill, what is then name of the bill and when was it introduce. Next is the easy to use handle bar on the top of the map, where it allow user to travel back in times to look at the map when the first medical marijuana was passed in 1996 in the state of California.

This map help strength our group argument because it showcase the changes over time on the stances on illegal drugs being more accepted into society. It show before 1996, there was no stats allow the uses of medical Marijuana, now in 2012, there are 17 stats that allow the uses of marijuana for medical purpose.


For visual we decide to showcase a TV ad by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol  in Colorado, because in this video, it embody a messages that what is consider illegal drugs by federal standard, help US veterans to combat with the effect of his post-traumatic stress disorder.



data mining analysis, textual analysis, and aural artifacts.



  • “November 06, 2012 General Election Result” Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed, accessed December 1, 2012
    http://vote.wa.gov/results/current/Measures-All.html   Its a important  because it show the poll result of initiative 502 and the general elections.
    It show that more people voted for legalization of Marijuana than Mitt Romney.
  • “Colorado Election result Secretary of State Scott Gessler” Colorado Secretary of State Sam Reed, accessed December 1, 2012
    http://results.enr.clarityelections.com/CO/43032/113552/en/summary.html#  More people voted for the Amendment 64 than either presidential Candidates.
  • TV ad ,Video “Veterans with PTSD ” Regulated Marijuana, accessed December 1, 2012.
    http://youtu.be/t3uKp1tT8j4 In the video, US Marine Veteran, Corporal Sean Azzariti stats that the use of Marijuana help deals with post-traumatic stress disorder he suffer after he came back from his tour in Iraq.
  • TV ad, Video, “Yes on 64 radio ad – Tom Tancredo”, RegulateMarijuana.org ,Former Republican congressman Tom Tancredo endorsing Legalization of Marijiuana.
  • International Drug Policy Consotrtium
    http://idpc.net/accessed November 17thIDPC, is a library containing over 800 publications on international drug policy. I’ve enjoyed drawing facts from the site because of the consortium’s policy of promoting objective and open debate on the subject. This offers the visitor to the site, an opportunity to read a range of biases, as well as the sites rule of all publications must be backed up by research and evidence. It does not only tackle the United States war on drugs, but international policies as well. This gives you a good basis for how our countries spending and policies compare to other world powers.
  • http://www.globalcommissionondrugs.org/wp-content/themes/gcdp_v1/pdf/Global_Com_Mike_Trace.pdf
    “DRUG POLICY: LESSONS LEARNED AND OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE”, Mike Trace, Accessed November 20thThis is a report by Mike Trace, that was commissioned by the ‘Global Commission on Drugs’. He outlines the ineffectiveness of the global prohibition efforts in regards to drugs. Also offered, are various solutions to a failed War on Drugs. Since he claims, eliminating all drug use is not possible, there needs to be a different direction international policy must take. I will draw from this source, to give viewers of our site an idea of what future policies could look like.The Global Commission on Drugs, has a team of commissioners that include former presidents, UN officials, and various people that have held prestigious positions. Recognizing the people behind the commission, helps add to the legitimacy of all findings the commission reports on.



Our group’s argument is that the war on drug should have been a major issues during the 2012 presidential elections because it affected our society in various ways. The Federal government spends more than 26.2 Billion dollars a year on the war on drugs. There 12,408,899 made arrests in 2011, and out of those arrests, 1,531,251 arrests were drug related. To be continue…





Contra Site Map *Subject to Changes [entry-title]


A statement of the historical question you’re examining in a single sentence

Why is the war on drugs not a key issues in the 2012 Presidential elections?

Our plan is created a website where visitor can easily navigate through the site.  For this site map, we decide to use google site, as a template for now.  We haven’t decided if we will continue to use google site or look for another web hosting site. We’re going to split up the workload by  having William researching Prohibition and drawing a connection to the issues drug in 2012. Cary will research the impact and effect of crimes and spending in relation to drugs over the course of the years. Stephan will look at the Reagan Era and how did the War on Drugs started. I will research current events and did result each candidate stance on drugs impacted the poll, in state like Washington and Colorado where Marijuana is legalize for recreational uses.

Tools we’re going to use is mapping of states where Marijuana is legal and illegal.Second we’re going to created a chart or graph on government spending on the war on drugs.

All is subject to changes*





With all the debates that the presidential candidates do before the election, usually, it ends up that there is just too much data for any one person to process and analyze. In order for our group, Contra, to attempt to answer the correlation with the War on Drugs and Presidential Elections, we would seek to use data mining software to weed out information that is not pertinent to our project when we analyze presidential debates.

As the War on Drugs is not a widely talked about topic for presidential elections, the use of data mining softwares will be beneficial in helping us find out exactly how often phrases such as “drugs”, “cartels”, “anti-(fill in whatever drug)” come up during the debates. Then we would use this information to come to a conclusion on how much emphasis is put on the War on Drugs during the presidential elections and hopefully we can answer some of the questions that our group posed for our project.


How could your group use text mining to answer the historical question(s) you’ve proposed thus far?

Our group could use text mining to answer the historical questions we had proposed by narrowing down keys word, sort different type of document, seek out specifics information, and determine correlation between different documents.

First off, our group could start text mining for keys words from website or blog through wordle.com. Then, we can create a list of words that appear the most. Following that, we can theorize the relationship between the words and find out why it appears. The finding might surprise us and guide us in a different direction.

Second, we can sort out documents that are irrelevant to our research because through the general search, when we enter the war on drugs in a normal search engine, we can get ton of results. Out of all the result we get back from a regular search engine, we could get tons of unrelated hits to our topics. So by using text mining, we can sort out the irrelevant information and go to more the specifics of our search.

Finally, with text mining we can figure out the relationship between documents that might not be present in the document itself. For example, an article or report writing in 2012 might has something do with a document in the 1960s.

In conclusion, text mining is extremely useful tool to use for research and to get A in digital history class at Baruch.


1)   HuffingtonPost.com
2)  pbs.org show frontline
3)  Latimes.com
4) http://www.ontheissues.org/Drugs.htm#Headlines
5) http://stopthedrugwar.org/
6) http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/ondcp/2012_ndcs.pdf

Contra: the least discussed $40,000,000,000+ of yearly government spending [entry-title]


The group name we decided on going with is, Contra. This will coincide with the theme for our project, The War on Drugs. For those unfamiliar with the specifics, this is a 40+ billion dollar a year mission that is funded by US tax dollars, and has been seen as infective at best. Many facets of our governments spending is coming into question, but why has such an expensive and largely inefficient program seemed to have fallen on the back burner of many discussions.

TWoD is extremely relevant to our society on a social and international level. Most people in prison are due to drug charges. Drugs affect every aspect of our life, from the legal to illegal. TWoD spans almost a hundred years and touches on conspiracies, economics, racism, and foreign policy. But it likely won’t even be mentioned during the presidential debates unlike the Reagan era, where it was a running platform.

Some difficulty may arise in our current method of communication through email. We have created a google doc that will hopefully give us the ability to collaboratively grow an idea from the same digital workspace. We’re undecided on what digital format were going to use for the project, but the recent creation of our google doc should aid greatly into a decision coming shortly.