Before we begin, two quick notes. That subtitle above isn't ours, but when we heard what CNN's Brian Stelter called the hot mess we saw yesterday, we had to agree it was the perfect description. Stress conference indeed! Secondly, our opening metaphor to describe our own personal reaction is going to need a rather roundabout explanation, just to warn everyone in advance.
Archive of Articles in the "Drugs" Category
Donald Trump just got thumped by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. There's no denying it. Even Kellyanne Conway can't spin her way out of this one. Three judges unanimously wrote a 29-page opinion explaining why Trump needed to be thumped. This means he can't even whine that it was a "partisan" decision, since these judges were appointed by Democratic and Republican presidents. Even more satisfying is the fact that even if the temporary restraining order which blocked implementation of Trump's Muslim ban is appealed to the Supreme Court, a 4-4 tie vote would just reconfirm the thumping the Ninth Circuit just gave Trump. We certainly hope this turns out to be just the first in a long line of setbacks the court system deals out to Trump, on a regular and continuing basis.
Jeff Sessions is now America's attorney general, in charge of the Justice Department. This turn of events strikes fear in the hearts of many Americans, for numerous reasons, due to his own political history. On many of these issues we're all just going to have to wait and see whether Sessions turns out to be as bad as feared, but there is one big issue which could simply be taken away from his purview altogether, if Congress acts soon. Today, a Republican congressman from California introduced a bill to do just that.
Last night, President Barack Obama bid the American public farewell. He gave a speech that was inspiring, and called upon Americans to get involved in the political process in a multitude of ways. Like many historic farewell addresses (even quoting from George Washington's), it also delivered a warning about what Obama perceives as current and future dangers which threaten America. Washington's farewell address, when read in full, contains a scathing denunciation of the mere concept of political parties (called "factions" at the time), and Obama's followed suit in denouncing the rabidly partisan era we now find ourselves in.
Welcome back everyone to our regular weekly roundup! We've been on our usual year-end hiatus for the past few weeks, pre-empted by our year-end awards columns (Part 1 and Part 2). But now that Congress is slinking back to the swamps of Washington, it's time to start looking forward once again. And we promise, we are going to explain that rather cryptic title, after we dispense with an initial bit of idiocy.
Welcome back to our annual year-end awards column!
Normally we open our annual awards column with an explanation of why John McLaughlin shouldn't sue us. It's become traditional, in fact, to skate the thin ice of "homage" and "satire" versus straight-up theft of intellectual property (which, of course, we'd never ever do... or, at least, admit).
President Obama made some news the other day with another slew of pardons and commutations, adding to his record number as president. Obama has pardoned more people than all presidents back to Truman combined, which is both notable and commendable. Many of these pardons came for Draconian sentences handed out during the worst years of the War On Drugs, when people were routinely sentenced to long prison terms not so much for possessing cocaine but rather for possessing the wrong type of cocaine (when there was a 100-to-1 disparity between crack and powdered cocaine in federal sentencing laws). Obama is doing what he can for the cause of criminal justice reform, but there's one more thing he really should do before he leaves office -- reschedule marijuana so that it is not considered more dangerous than methamphetamine and opium. Contrary to his statements in the past, he can achieve this by directing his Attorney General to sign a piece of paper -- congressional approval is not required at all. So in the midst of correcting some abuses of the Drug War with last-minute pardons, Obama should take this proactive step to change the federal War On Weed as part of his presidential legacy.
We've got a lot to cover today (including Obama's final press conference), so let's just dive right in and try to get through the rest of the week's news in lightning fashion.
This article was written in response to a Huffington Post article by Max Weiss, which was in turn written as a response to a Slate article. The original Slate article was titled: "So We're Still Blaming Jill Stein And James Comey, Huh?" and the Weiss response was titled: "Things I Blame For Hillary Clinton's Loss, Ranked." But the Weiss list was so far removed from my own feelings about the Clinton loss that I felt it was time to respond with my own blame list. It's been a month since the election, so hopefully enough time has passed that Democrats can discuss what went so wrong. So here is my own list of the things I blame for the 2016 election loss, ranked. And I have to quote Weiss in saying (while he was blaming Bernie Sanders): "I know this is going to piss a lot of people off, but so be it."