Archive of Articles for April, 2024

War On Weed To Officially Wind Down

[ Posted Tuesday, April 30th, 2024 – 15:52 UTC ]

Today it was confirmed that the federal government is finally going to officially retreat in fighting the War On Weed. The feds are backing down, for the first time in modern history. The Department of Justice is recommending moving marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act to Schedule III, after a required period of public commentary. It is not a complete capitulation in the War On Weed, but it is indeed a historic step in the right direction -- and the first one ever taken. So while this is not the end of the road for the pro-legalization activists, it is an enormous milestone and should be celebrated (even as only a partial victory).

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Program Note

[ Posted Monday, April 29th, 2024 – 15:57 UTC ]

I have to apologize, because there will be no new column today. I didn't even have time to put together a re-run column either, sorry!
I had outside appointments today that sprang up unexpectedly, but (conveniently-enough) the Trump trial in New York City was also on a hiatus today, so at least I didn't miss [...]

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Friday Talking Points -- Starting The Nerd Prom Jokes Early

[ Posted Friday, April 26th, 2024 – 17:15 UTC ]

This week was supposed to begin (for us, since we measure weeks from Friday to Friday) with a Donald Trump rally in North Carolina last Saturday. After being cooped up in a courtroom all week listening to the lawyers haggle over jury selection, Trump was going to hit the campaign trail again to bask in the glow of adulation from his MAGA faithful (even the Proud Boys showed up!). That was the plan, at any rate.

But then the rally had to be cancelled at the last minute...

[...wait for it...]

...due to stormy weather.

[pause for rimshot]

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The Trump Legal Marathon

[ Posted Thursday, April 25th, 2024 – 16:15 UTC ]

There was activity in three separate court cases against Donald Trump today: two major courtroom events, as well as a ruling in an older case. The big ones were the continuation of Trump's current criminal trial in New York for another day of testimony (which ended with the start of the first cross-examination of a witness by the defense), and the Supreme Court finally (after a pointless two-month delay) hearing Trump's sweeping claims to presidential immunity. The ruling was from a judge in New York who just rejected Trump's move to hold a new trial or at least reduce the damages in the $83 million civil judgment against him for defaming E. Jean Carroll. The judge shot down both notions, so Trump's still on the hook for the full amount. But it was the two other courtrooms which were splashed across the headlines.

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Arizona Republicans Relent On Draconian Abortion Law

[ Posted Wednesday, April 24th, 2024 – 15:25 UTC ]

Arizona Republicans (a few of them, at any rate) just pushed back against the extremist forced-birth movement within their party, in a big way. The lower house in the Arizona legislature just passed a measure that will repeal the state's Draconian abortion law. This is the law that was written during the Civil War and only had one exception in it: abortions were permitted to save the life of the mother. Rape and incest victims weren't included. Abortions were prohibited -- complete with a jail sentence for the doctor -- from Week Zero. This is precisely the type of law the most extreme forced-birthers want to see nationwide, it bears mentioning. If your position is that abortion equals murder, then there is no justification for any abortion that isn't done to save the mother's life, period. So to have Republicans cast the deciding votes to repeal such a measure is a very big deal, because it is the first time since the Dobbs decision was handed down that a Republican-run legislature has voted to relax forced-birth laws.

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Trump's Cameraless Trial

[ Posted Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024 – 16:55 UTC ]

Today I found myself -- while reading the liveblogging from the lucky reporters who are covering the criminal trial of Donald Trump this week -- wondering how everything would be different if television cameras were allowed inside the courtroom. The reporters themselves occasionally lapse into petulant complaining about the restraints put on them by not having access to modern devices, and so their reporting has a kind of old-timey flavor to it (in a way). You can even picture one of them in a dapper hat with a "PRESS" card shoved in the hatband racing to a bank of pay phones to diligently phone in their copy and scoop their competitors. Well, you might have to try hard to picture that (depending on how old you are), but it's at least fun to contemplate while waiting for the next update from the courtroom. But how would this all be different if the whole trial were being carried gavel-to-gavel on cable news? And would this be a good thing or a bad thing, in general?

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House Republicans In Disarray, Once Again

[ Posted Monday, April 22nd, 2024 – 15:53 UTC ]

Republicans in the House of Representatives truly are their own worst enemy. It has been this way since the Tea Party revolt, more than a decade ago. And it shows no signs of changing or abating any time soon.

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Friday Talking Points -- Week One Of The 'Don Snoreleone' Trial

[ Posted Friday, April 19th, 2024 – 17:12 UTC ]

So far the biggest news (other than today's horrific events) has been that Trump can't seem to stop falling asleep in the courtroom. He drifts off, closes his eyes, his head slumps down on his chest, his mouth goes slack... and then eventually he snaps back awake. It hasn't happened every day, but one does wonder if he's going to be this lethargic when the actual case gets rolling. Jury selection is a repetitive process than can get monotonous at times, but hearing the case presented by both the prosecution and the defense might be a little more interesting to Trump, so we'll just have to see.

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Three-Dot Thursday

[ Posted Thursday, April 18th, 2024 – 15:40 UTC ]

We haven't done one of these for a while, but the disparate nature of the political news today seemed to suggest it was time for another "three-dot Thursday," where we follow in the footsteps of journalists of days of yore and heavily lean on our ellipses.

Today we have one serious story which could have very large political ramifications this November, as well as two monumentally silly stories to report from the Republican side of the aisle... but first...

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Impeachment? What Impeachment?

[ Posted Wednesday, April 17th, 2024 – 15:31 UTC ]

It has already been both a pioneering and superlative week at the crossover between the political and legal worlds (and it's only Wednesday!). Pioneering because this week saw both the opening of the first criminal trial of an American ex-president as well as the first Senate trial of a sitting cabinet member (after impeachment by the House of Representatives). The superlative part just happened today as well, as the "trial" of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was undoubtedly the fastest impeachment proceedings ever to occur in the Senate. The senators were sworn in as jurors, and then (after a few hours of Republicans blathering in a failed attempt to delay the inevitable) the whole body voted on motions to dismiss the two charges contained in the impeachment. Both were strict party-line votes, so the Mayorkas impeachment trial is now over before it even began.

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