Thursday, August 18, 2011

Will Republicans block Obama's jobs plan?

President Obama is preparing to unveil a new plan to fight unemployment and boost the economy, and he's daring Republicans to simply slam the door

"We could do even more if Congress is willing to get in the game," President Obama has said during his tour of the Midwest.
"We could do even more if Congress is willing to get in the game," President Obama has said during his tour of the Midwest. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Obama, promising to unveil specific proposals in September to combat the unemployment crisis, all but dared the GOP to block his plan in Congress. Republicans have signaled that they are unlikely to support new spending on infrastructure, unemployment benefits, or a payroll tax break — setting up yet another showdown with the White House. Since jobs are America's top concern, will the GOP really take Obama up on his dare? And if so, who stands to win the spin war?

Obama should relish this fight: Obama's a little late with his "specific plan" to create jobs, says Eric Zorn in the Chicago Tribune. "But assuming it's ambitious and contains a significant proposal for job-creation," he should channel Larry the Cable Guy by relentlessly challenging the GOP House to "Get it done." When they don't — and they won't — "he'll be able to remind voters next summer and fall who had ideas and who had ideologies."
"Obama slogan should channel Larry the Cable Guy"

Republicans needn't fear Obama: Running against a do-nothing Congress might have worked for Harry Truman, but this isn't 1948, and Obama isn't "give 'em hell" Harry, says Chris Stirewalt in Fox News. "The professorial Obama's shift to confrontation" might shore up his dispirited base, but it will look "somewhat forced" to everyone else. So when Obama submits whatever un-passable plan he comes up with, Republicans can rest easy swatting it down.
"Professor Barry channels Give 'Em Hell Harry"

Obama needs less talk, more hardball: Running against Congress may or may not help Obama, but it certainly won't help the unemployed, says Ezra Klein in The Washington Post. "Voters want more than stunts," and if Obama is truly determined to get job-creating proposals through Congress, he has to act as "intransigent and obsessive" as the GOP is about spending cuts. All the browbeating in the world won't work if Obama isn't "willing to strap on some pads and play by the new rules."
"How would Republicans fight for jobs?"

Original here

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Marijuana Tipping Point Is Already Here

By Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town
Northern California Correspondent

The writer and social critic, Malcolm Gladwell, defines the 'Tipping Point' as the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point; the point at which the buildup of minor changes or incidents reaches a level that triggers a more significant change or makes someone do something they had formerly resisted.

Another way of saying it would be that point in time and space when everything changes and there's no turning back.

Every day there are more encouraging headlines appearing in newspapers and on the Web from California to Maine supporting medical marijuana legislation suggesting the tide is turning.

Even when the cynics call medical marijuana a joke and claim the real goal of this smokescreen movement is legalization of pot, there are medi-jane supporters with valid and logical arguments to counter-balance any archaic rhetoric with which the anti-pot forces continue to misinform.
New Jersey passed one of the most restrictive medical marijuana rights and benefits program on the books so far. The state with a very conservative governor will soon have medical marijuana. Why? Because the people wanted it.

It does seem like Time is marching on, but when is it gonna get there?

We're zeroing in on something but when is the Tipping Point going to kick in fully regarding medical marijuana?
What possible signs do we need to see before we believe that it works?!

Here are some small recent events that may prove someday to have influenced the way we think, tipping the scales our way towards a bigger picture...

Utah Atty. Gen. Mark Shurtleff opposed medical marijuana -- then he got cancer.
1) Okay, this guy never ever got high and he's for Medical Marijuana!

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff approves of medical marijuana after battling cancer.

Shurtleff said he would support the legalization of medical marijuana after experiencing months of intensive cancer treatment.

Shurtleff said never used marijuana himself, but had talked to other patients who had traveled out-of-state to receive marijuana treatment.

Photo: 99Post
Miss USA Alyssa Campanella: "Medical marijuana is very important to help those who need it medically"
2) Not innocent enough. Okay, as they say, from the mouth of babes...

During the question-and-answer part of the competition, Miss California Alyssa Campanella was asked about her perspective on the medicinal cannabis.

"Well, I understand why that question would be asked, especially with today's economy, but I also understand that medical marijuana is very important to help those who need it medically," Alyssa said.

"I'm not sure if it should be legalized, if it would really affect, with the drug war," she said. "I mean, it's abused today, unfortunately, so that's the only reason why I would kind of be a little bit against it, but medically it's OK."

She got Miss USA.

When's the last time you had the crown on the line and you spoke the truth?

I actually can understand why someone could dismiss a beauty queen and a cancer patient as being not scientific enough. They're just regular people.

3) What about Big Business. They have scientists? They have economists? They understand the world...? Don't they?

Scott's Miracle-Gro Company has long sold weed killer. Now, it's hoping to help people grow killer weed.

In an unlikely move for the head of a major company, Scott's Chief Executive Jim Hagedorn said he is exploring targeting medical marijuana as well as other niches to help boost sales at his lawn and garden company.

"I want to target the pot market," Mr. Hagedorn said in an interview.

"There's no good reason we haven't."

barney paul1.jpg
4) We've heard from the People, Big Business, and now from across the aisle comes...

Congressmen Ron Paul, Barney Frank and others will introduce legislature Thursday that aims to end a major part of the war on drugs -- namely the battle against marijuana.

Reps. Paul (R-Texas) and Frank (D-Mass.), though technically on opposite sides of the aisle, have often spoken out against the war on drugs and will propose a bill "tomorrow ending the federal war on marijuana and letting states legalize, regulate, tax, and control marijuana without federal interference," according to a statement from the Marijuana Policy Project via Reason.

The bill would allow the individual states to decide how they want to deal with pot.

The legislation, co-sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), is the first of its kind to be proposed in Congress that would end the 73-year-old federal marijuana prohibition that began with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.


These four events that just transpired in the last month couldn't be more current, more 'now.' What is it going to take in order for that cosmic plate to tilt to our side? And stay that way!

Entrepreneurs and forward thinkers are testing the waters of the medical marijuana Industry with venture capitalists abroad throwing dollars into edible research think-tanks and other esoteric ganja-related enterprises.

Politicians and law enforcement from all walks and talks of life are coming forward, decrying that the time is now to lose the campaigns that have never worked and to embrace a new way of thinking. To challenge the uncommon wisdom and to end the wars on law abiding citizens who because they ingest a specific weed, they could have their lives ruin because we, as a nation and a society refuse to change.

Sixteen states support medical marijuana. Every poll taken shows public support for medical marijuana. GW Pharma (Weed) and Novartis (Ritalin, Excedrin) have become partners in Sativex (medical marijuana spray) licensing pact overseas and now, in America.

"My professional view of cannabis as a substance is that it appears to be a remarkably safe substance in comparison to most medicines prescribed today," said Dr. Geoffrey Guy, chairman of GW Pharmaceuticals. "The more I learn about this plant the more fascinated I become. It has through its various constituents multiple effects of therapeutic interest, many of which are now being validated by the enormous growth in basic cannabinoid research."

What is it about marijuana that makes us afraid to go forward and embrace a new safer tomorrow? Pharmaceutical giants are moving forward with patents and marketing. You would think that the data from research geeks would be refutable, they're the same people who give us our aspirin, for gosh sakes.

The data's coming in like a Haboob through Phoenix. Unstoppable. Marijuana has applications that can help certain people. That's it. It can't be changed.

Marijuana does some good. It's proven.

You can't go backwards with that. Only thing you can do is not open your eyes to what's in front of them.

Why aren't we coming together as a nation over this issue when people with perspectives as different as those of Miss USA to the Mormon Attorney General of Utah support medical marijuana?

When law enforcement officials and Ex-President Jimmy Carter come forward to say the War on Drugs not only doesn't work, it's unwinnable. A waste of money.

Speaking of money, when Wall Street, Main Street and Home Depot all say the time is right to build the future fields of dreams of medical marijuana that only Weed-Gro can protect. What more do we need to hear?

Do we need Nancy Reagan in her Chanel housecoat to come forward to say she was wrong? Would that be the final straw? Would that be our national Tipping Point? To have someone other than ourselves say it is okay for us to have this weed? Mommy, please say its okay because in 1937, someone said it was bad.

Right now President Obama has alienated the Ganja Nation with his reversal on leaving the medical marijuana community alone. More and more his obtrusive agenda is forcing the hand of medical marijuana to take a stand, one way or another in various localities. Howard Zinn said you can't be neutral on a moving train.

Opinion is sliding to the side where the weed grows green and high. Mendocino County is aggressively constructing a platform that is workable for growers and law enforcement alike. Not perfect, but a start.

Growers are paying taxes in exchange for their right to grow medical marijuana. They pay just like anyone else.

The Tipping Point is already here. Embrace it.

Photo: Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town correspondent Jack Rikess blogs from the Haight in San Francisco.

Jack Rikess, a former stand-up comic, writes a regular column most directly found at

Jack delivers real-time coverage folloLinkwing the cannabis community, focusing on politics and culture.

His beat includes San Francisco, the Bay Area and Mendocino-Humboldt counties.

He has been quoted by the national media and is known for his unique view with thoughtful, insightful perspective.

Original here

Attorneys For Schaeffer Cox Want Murder Conspiracy Charges Thrown Out

Schaeffer Cox

Attorneys for Schaeffer Cox have asked a court to throw out murder conspiracy charges against their client, who is accused of plotting to kill a federal judge, because of the way the grand jury was conducted.

Cox, a self-proclaimed sovereign citizen and leader of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia, was arrested in March, along with Coleman Barney, Lonnie and Karen Vernon, and Michael O. Anderson, for allegedly stockpiling weapons as part of a plot to kill two Alaska State Troopers, an IRS employee, and the federal judge.

In two motions filed last week, Cox's attorneys argued that the grand jury process was mishandled and treated like "high school," and therefore the murder conspiracy charges should be thrown out.

In one motion, Cox's attorney Robert John argued that the grand jury was not properly instructed on the burden of proof necessary for indictments. In the other motion, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports:

In one of the filings in the Cox case, attorney Robert John quotes a prosecutor in the grand jury transcript who appears to pick a foreperson out of the grand jury for arriving late, saying "that's what you get for showing up late. It's just like high school."

The procedure violates the criminal rule that a grand jury itself or a judge should pick the foreperson, John says in the filing.

"Schaeffer Cox has the constitutional right to be indicted by a grand jury, not by a high-school teacher and the class he teaches," the motion says.

Prosecutors on Wednesday also filed a motion to block the release of Coleman Barney. Barney's attorneys have been pushing for his release on bail because, as they argue, he "has a history of contributing to the community, not destroying it." Superior Court Judge David C. Stewart reduced Barney's bail from $2 million to $100,000 in June, though Barney's attorneys must still convince a federal judge of the same.

But in the motion filed this week, prosecutors provided additional evidence against Barney in protest of his release. They also detailed the weapons allegedly found in his trailer -- including body armor, hand cuffs, a gas mask, a number of grenades, and "assorted" guns and ammunition.

Stephen Skrocki wrote in the motion:

The Coleman Barney, father of five, business owner and member of the community referenced in the defense pleadings and in letters of support is not the same Coleman Barney who elected to arrive to an illegal arms sale wearing body armor and carrying two loaded pistols. It is not the Coleman Barney who, during this arms sale held and examined with his own hands what he thought were live hand grenades, and a pistol silencer combination. It was not the same Coleman Barney who sought to purchase tactical weapons which only exist to kill either violently, secretly, or furtively.

"Despite the order of the state court," Skrocki wrote, "which may have not been in command of these facts due to the volume of discovery, Coleman Barney's motion for bail
must be denied. The risk to the community, the danger to the community and the risk of flight or absconding are simply too great."

Full coverage of Cox et al here.

Original here