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Rahm Emanuel Calls on State to Decriminalize Marijuana

By: Tuesday September 23, 2014 11:11 am
rahm emanuel

Facing a tough reelection, former drug warrior Rahm Emanuel suddenly sees the light marijuana decriminalization

Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff for President Obama, Rahm Emanuel (D) has called on the Illinois state legislature to reform drug laws and decriminalize marijuana.

Emanuel is asking the legislature to adopt a statewide version of the 2012 Chicago law that made possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana only a ticketable offense. He also wants to see possession of one gram or less of any controlled substance reduced from a Class Four Felony to only a Class A Misdemeanor.

“It is time to put our sentencing policies in line with our values, reduce penalties for non-violent, low-level drug offenses so we don’t put people in prison who need drug treatment,” said Mayor Emanuel in a press release. “It doesn’t make sense that one arrest for a very small amount of a controlled substance can lead to a lifetime of struggles, sending people in and out of prison and putting up barriers to getting a job or finding a place to live. We need action from Springfield.”

I’m personally no fan of Emanuel because he seems like a deeply cynical and opportunistic politician who has created some very sketchy financial deals between the government and private companies, but every politician deserves credit when they do something right. I’ll just note that this is highly cynical even by Emanual’s standards, given he was once one of the biggest drug warriors in the America who aggressive fought against medical marijuana when part of the Clinton administration

In fact I’m very happy to see Emanuel actively lobbying for marijuana decriminalization, because I know what a cynical finger-in-the-wind politician he is. Emanuel embracing drug policy reform is a real sign that top Democrats are finally starting to realize this can be a winning political issue that could actually benefit them if they endorsed it.

It is telling that this moves comes as Emanuel faces a potentially very difficult re-election bid this February. Emanuel is like a rat fleeing a shrinking ship. Hopefully, other politicians will get the message.


Syria Mission Creep Already Begins

By: Tuesday September 23, 2014 10:07 am
F/A-18E Super Hornets in the Gulf

F/A-18E Super Hornets on the carrier USS George HW Bush

Often when the United States gets militarily involved in another country it can takes weeks or even months for the mission to slowly creepy beyond the initial justification, but this time we are lucky. In Syria we got witness the mission creep from almost the very beginning.

Yesterday, the United States and its allies began bombing several ISIS targets in Syria and while United States was there they decided to also hit another militant organization, Khorasan. A group most Americans have probably never heard about before the last few days.

I’m not disputing that the Al Qaeda-linked Khorasan group aren’t very bad people. I’m only pointing out the entire PR build up to this new “Comprehensive and Sustained Counterterrorism Strategy” war was about how terrible ISIS is, and how we need to stop ISIS, and how we need to fund “moderate” rebels to fight ISIS.

President Obama’s entire speech to the American people two weeks ago was all about degrading and destroying ISIS. There was nothing in the speech which seems like a direct reference to Khorasan or other groups in Syria that he also planned to destroy. Going after groups in Syria besides ISIS was barely ever a part of what little public debate we did have.

Now that our military operations in Syria have started it is clear the mission is already about more than just ISIS. I can only imagine how much more it will creep from here.

How Much Tax Revenue Could Your State Make From Legal Marijuana?

By: Tuesday September 23, 2014 9:02 am

Cannabis Cash

A new analysis at Nerd Wallet tries to provide a rough estimate of what every state could potentially earn per year directly from legal marijuana taxes. In the three places where legalization is on the ballot this November their estimates are:

Alaska – $11,513,846

District of Columbia – $8,769,904

Oregon – $54,558,596

Importantly, these are just broad estimates based on several conservative assumptions to provide a general idea about the short term. Predicting the exact size of the legal market and the price legal marijuana will sell for is very difficult.

For simplicity they looked at the possible revenue from a combined medical and recreational market. Their analysis also only looked at what would happen is all states adopted a 15 percent excise tax, but currently there are lower excise taxes in Colorado and Washington State. In addition the proposed excise taxes in the Oregon and Alaska ballot measures are based on weight not price, so depending on how much legal marijuana ends up selling for these excise taxes could end up lower or higher than 15 percent.

For comparison, an analysis of the actual legalization initiative in Oregon by ECONorthwest projected the recreational market alone would raise roughly $38.5 million but assumed current government revenue from the medical marijuana market will remain mostly unchanged.

This Nerd Wallet analysis does at least provide an interesting starting point for a discussion about the possible revenue in every state. You can look at their figures and fairly easily adjust them if you think the tax rate will be higher or the market will be smaller.

What Makes the US Think it Can Effectively Train Middle East Armies?

By: Tuesday September 23, 2014 7:57 am

Now that we have officially started the War in Syria I want to make a point about a key part of President Obama’s plan against ISIS. It depends heavily on finding and training “moderate” rebels. Over the course of a relatively short period of time we are planning to turn a diverse group of militias, who may or may not currently be enemies which each other, into a coherent force capable of defeating ISIS on the ground. This is so fundamental to Obama’s plan that extra funding for these rebels was the only part that actually got a vote in Congress.

US Begins Bombing Syria

By: Tuesday September 23, 2014 6:43 am

Yesterday the US began bombing yet another country in the Middle East with strikes targeting ISIS forces in Syria. According to the Pentagon, the strikes were aimed at 20 different ISIS targets within Syria. US government officials also told ABC News that strikes were joined by Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. What extent those Arab nations participated military remains unknown though given the US militarily equipment those nations have purchased over the years they should be theoretically capable of participating.

Over Easy: To Market To Market ….

By: Tuesday September 23, 2014 6:28 am

The West Side Market is Cleveland’s oldest market and for my money the best place for meats, fruits and vegetables. Not to mention breads, cookies, cakes, sausages, poultry … you name it. With venders for just about anything. Dairy, pasta, Mexican, fish and even Asian.

The Roundup

By: Tuesday September 23, 2014 5:45 am

- The U.S. announced it would provide more funds for Gaza to help them after the destruction of their lives

- Alexis Goldstein: “Can a ‘Firewall Strategy’ Keep Big Energy Out of Climate Talks? It Worked for Fighting Tobacco”

- After Emma Watson spoke on the importance of breaking down gender barriers at the UN, hackers threatened to leak nude photos of her

Oh that’s practical…will there be a new aircraft carrier appetizer?

By: Tuesday September 23, 2014 1:30 am

  Not only can we not have nice things, we can only have shitty unnecessary but unbelievably expensive things. USA! USA! USA! … part of a nationwide wave of atomic revitalization that includes plans for a new generation of weapon carriers. A recent federal study put the collective price tag, over the next three decades, [...]

Late, Late Night FDL: Hit The Spot

By: Monday September 22, 2014 10:00 pm

Nine Below Zero – Hit The Spot

I had the great pleasure of seeing these Boyz live in Mainz, Germany in the ’80s…!

Late Night: Democratic Base Feels Better Represented by Their Party

By: Monday September 22, 2014 8:00 pm

The Democratic base is more satisfied with their party than the Republicans base is with theirs, according to Pew Research.

A plurality of Republican-leaning voters think the Republican party hasn’t done a good job of representing their views on the big issues of abortion, immigration, government spending and same-sex marriage.

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