Legalize It

New polls that show that marijuana legalization has the support of over half the nation leads Radley Balko to quip:

Legalization is also at the top of the White House’s “We the People” petition site, and it isn’t even close. Next time Obama laughs off the question—and he will—I’d love to hear a White House reporter ask him if he’s aware that a higher percentage of Americans now support legalizing marijuana than think he’s doing a good job as president.

I don’t expect Obama to do ANYTHING but continue to enforce our insane drug laws in his first term. In his second term, there might be more freedom for movement. However, given how conservative even a “liberal” congress is on drug laws, regardless of the post-2012 congressional make-up, should Obama do anything, I fully expect Congress to cock-block (ala Gitmo) him so everyone can show their “tough on crime” bonafides.

*** Update ***

I meant to include this great segment by Lawrence O’Donnell from the Last Word last night:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I’ve been really liking the work LO’D has been doing lately, and can not figure out why he does not get more buzz. His shows have been consistently good, as good as anything KO ever put out on Countdown- fact-based, emphatic, clear, concise, and forceful, and almost always on the right side of things, yet he gets none of the love that KO got. Why is that?

90 replies
  1. 1
    mcd410x says:

    Ah, the John F. Kennedy! In the second term, we’re really getting out of Vietnam.

    Great thing is it works for Iraq and Afghanistan, too!

  2. 2
    Ugh says:

    I’d love to hear a White House reporter ask him

    Is there anything more wrong in the U.S. today than the pathetic White House press corps? Just the other day, Obama was criticizing Iran for being “violent” in response to the used car salesman plot. Did anyone stand up and say “Uh, what business do you have criticizing Iran’s violence when the U.S. is currently involved violent actions in, at least, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and God knows where else?” Nope.

    The lack of self-awareness by folks in the U.S. is astonishing.

  3. 3
    NonyNony says:

    In his second term, there might be more freedom for movement.

    That freedom can go both ways though. He might get more strict.

    He’s got two daughters – Through a second term in office they’ll range in ages between 10 and 17. This is the time period when parents freak out because they remember what they did when they were their kids age. Pushing for loosening up the laws would “send the wrong message” not just to the generic children that we’re all supposed to think of, but to a very specific pair of children that Obama is going to be thinking about day in and day out as he listens to advisers who have children and grandchildren in the same age brackets.

    And yeah – I fully expect that a good-sized portions of our drug laws are driven more by parental freak-out than they are by any other kind of policy decision – even moreso than the prison guard unions or the law enforcement guys who want more power or any of the other explanations that libertarians and liberals tend to go to when they’re trying to figure out why our drug laws are so insane and so hard to change despite public opinion.

  4. 4
    kindness says:

    Give John some love. This one might not rate PC/Mac but it is important.

  5. 5
    Violet says:

    @Ugh:

    Is there anything more wrong in the U.S. today than the pathetic White House press corps?

    They are so moribund it’s almost beyond parody. They have their own exclusive club professional organization. They have Membership Rules like this:

    1. All applications for membership shall be writing upon forms to be prescribed by the Executive Board.

    “Writing upon forms”? WTF?
    And these days they even lower themselves to teh evil blogging:

    To meet the demands of a 24/7 news cycle, many of our members are now involved in BLOGGING and other contemporary journalistic enterprises that have transformed traditional print and television news coverage in the 21st century.

  6. 6
    boss bitch says:

    I’d love to hear a White House reporter ask him if he’s aware that a higher percentage of Americans now support legalizing marijuana than think he’s doing a good job as president.

    Comparing the issue to his poll numbers is stupid. That’s supposed to make him squirm or change his mind? Try harder.

  7. 7
    harlana says:

    My impression is that O’Donnell was rather late to the game.

  8. 8
    Ugh says:

    O’Donnell lacks KO’s Sportscenter cred.

  9. 9
    Brachiator says:

    New polls that show that marijuana legalization has the support of over half the nation

    Interesting recent article in the New Yorker about Portugal’s legalization of drugs. A podcast can be found here.

    In 2001, Portugal became the first country in the European Union to decriminalize drug use. Portugal abolished criminal penalties for possession of drugs including substances classified as hard drugs.
    __
    Rather than criminalizing drug users, those found in possession of drugs are being sent to a “dissuasion commission” or “dissuasion board” for treatment by social workers and psychologists.
    __
    The result is that Portugal now has one of Europe’s lowest lifetime rates for cannabis and heroin abuse. Drug use among teens has declined; rates of HIV infections caused by sharing used needles have dropped; and the number of drug users seeking treatment has more than doubled.
    __
    Deaths by accidental overdoses have also declined as has crime associated with addicts stealing to maintain their habit.

    But I expect the US to continue along its “Drugs! Bad!” mode.

  10. 10
    MBunge says:

    1. Why is a poll showing a majority of Americans support drug legalization supposed to end the debate, but polls showing majority support for a whole host of abortion restrictions aren’t supposed to mean anything?

    2. The problem with O’Donnell is that he’s got the classic liberal tic of setting himself apart from everyone, even his own audience. KO’s got the chops as a communicator that when he raged, he could make it could make it sound like he was raging with you. O’Donnell has that smartest kid in the room thing where it sounds like he’s either raging at you or just for himself.

    Mike

  11. 11
    cleek says:

    when it comes to legislation, what the people say they want is completely irrelevant. who they elect is all that matters.

  12. 12
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    His shows have been consistently good, as good as anything KO ever put out on Countdown- fact-based, emphatic, clear, concise, and forceful, and almost always on the right side of things, yet he gets none of the love that KO got. Why is that?

    KO is a much better snarker/sarcasm guy than LO’D.

  13. 13
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Brachiator:

    But I expect the US to continue along its “Drugs! Bad!” mode.

    Said in the Dana-Carvey-As-George-H-W-Bush mode.

  14. 14
    MonkeyBoy says:

    I guess if the new normal in the US is no prospect for a decent job, then you might as well accept it and lighting up is one of the crutches that will help in that acceptance.

    Can you imagine what would happen if the overlords decided alcohol was the reason our economy was in the dumps and tried to ban it as a way to save money on all its health associated costs?

  15. 15
    The Moar You Know says:

    he gets none of the love that KO got. Why is that?

    I hate to say it, but it’s because liberals like hysteria and blowhards just as much as most conservative/Fox viewers do.

    I don’t expect Obama to do ANYTHING but continue to enforce our insane drug laws in his first term. In his second term, there might be more freedom for movement.

    Ask a Californian how well that’s going. Obama has made his stance on legalization quite clear – not only does he not support it, he is willing to go above and beyond to make sure that it isn’t even on the table for discussion.

  16. 16
    cpinva says:

    the part of the population legalization isn’t popular with is the “prison industrial complex”, who would see a precipitous drop in revenues, were pot to be legalized. this cannot, and will not ever be allowed to happen.

  17. 17
    Cain says:

    I suspect that O’s stance on drugs probably was formed when he was doing community organizing and probably had to deal with a lot of drug issues real close up and personal.

    On the other hand I would think that he would also see how harmful the drug war has been to poor folks. I still hope that he will at least figure out how to at least begin to ramp down the war on drugs.

  18. 18
    FlipYrWhig says:

    It’s because Olbermann was doing his shtick when there was no one else doing it, so he earned a lot of cred and then has kept recapitalizing that cred for years. Same with Andrew Sullivan. Same with Greenwald. It doesn’t matter how good the next guy is; the original guy remains special forever.

  19. 19
    Zifnab says:

    @cleek:

    when it comes to legislation, what the people say they want is completely irrelevant. who they elect is all that matters.

    The problem is that you’re basically telling people “Become single-issue marijuana legalization voters”. We have those voters. They’re called “Ron Paul voters”.

    I’d love to see more politicians get on board with marijuana legalization. Maybe we could put together some kind of “Draft Barney Frank” movement. But when the pickings are so slim, it’s really hard to say “Gee, I’d love to have Social Security and Medicare, but I want to smoke a joint without serving ten years in a federal pen even more. So Ron Paul it is.”

  20. 20
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @cpinva:

    the part of the population legalization isn’t popular with is the “prison industrial complex”, who would see a precipitous drop in revenues, were pot to be legalized. this cannot, and will not ever be allowed to happen.

    What’s funny about that, though, is how it conflicts with budget-cutting mania. Prisons sap state budgets something fierce. On this subject right-leaning libertarians and right-leaning deficit hawks could link up in Nixon-goes-to-China ways that are off limits for Democrats, who for doing anything similar would get pilloried as hedonists soft on crime.

  21. 21
    Jill Perry says:

    The Last Word is my favorite show. O’Donnell’s views almost always jibe with mine. And after watching I’m usually optimistic. OWS has given me fresh hope.

  22. 22
    catclub says:

    @mcd410x: speaking of which, I hope Obama has no plans to visit Texas this november.

  23. 23
    Rafer Janders says:

    @Ugh:

    Did anyone stand up and say “Uh, what business do you have criticizing Iran’s violence when the U.S. is currently involved violent actions in, at least, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and God knows where else?” Nope.

    Three of which – Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq — are on Iran’s actual borders. Add the US Navy presence in the Gulf, and Iran is surrounded on three out of four sides by active combat forces of the US military.

  24. 24
    catclub says:

    @FlipYrWhig: “right-leaning libertarians and right-leaning deficit hawks”

    ha ha ha.

    right leaning deficit peacocks cutting their friends business off at the knees. Funny.

  25. 25
    Brachiator says:

    @MBunge:

    Why is a poll showing a majority of Americans support drug legalization supposed to end the debate, but polls showing majority support for a whole host of abortion restrictions aren’t supposed to mean anything?

    Because abortion restrictions are stupid. Next question.

  26. 26
    wilfred says:

    “I don’t expect Obama to do ANYTHING but continue to enforce our insane drug laws in his first term. In his second term, there might be more freedom for movement. However, given how conservative even a “liberal” congress is on drug laws, regardless of the post-2012 congressional make-up, should Obama do anything, I fully expect Congress to cock-block (ala Gitmo) him so everyone can show their “tough on crime” bonafides.”

    Impregnable defense, Cole. Really, you are one the most psychologically challenged bloggers out there. You’re a textbook for rationalizations.

  27. 27
    ruemara says:

    LO does not bash Obama as much as KO. There you go. And while I could care less about the mj use of the average person, I don’t think you’re going to see a president decriminalize it until we’ve wasted another tril or so in cash and killed a few more people for about 6 more years.

  28. 28
    gnomedad says:

    I don’t expect Obama to do ANYTHING but continue to enforce our insane drug laws in his first term.

    I didn’t expect him to be this aggressive against medical marijuana. Perhaps not the biggest issue, but the most contrary to my expectations.

  29. 29
    Zifnab says:

    @Brachiator:

    But I expect the US to continue along its “Drugs! Bad!” mode.

    It is worth noting that drugs ARE bad. For all the hippie feel-good “LSD opened up my eyes!” pro-drug propaganda out there, it’s worth noting that reckless abuse of ingested, injected, or inhaled poisons and toxins will mess you up both physically and mentally.

    I mean, even despite being legalized, there are a great number of restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcohol and tobacco. That’s a good thing, because alcohol and tobacco are widely acknowledged as bad for you.

    The question we have to ask about our Drug War is whether our cure is worse than the disease. But anyone suggesting that drugs are NOT bad is either willfully ignorant or terribly misinformed. That makes legalization efforts difficult. Even anti-criminalization supporters have broad disagreements over exactly how legal and available a substance like MJ should be.

  30. 30
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @catclub: It depends on the balance between grifters and true believers among conservatives in state government. There are some ironclad ideologues there, as opposed to people working the system for patronage games. It’s a faultline among conservatives, and we’ll see if it starts to heave and shift.

  31. 31
    patrick II says:

    yet he gets none of the love that KO got.

    Keith was once the lone TV voice in the wilderness. His first “Special Report” railing against Donald Rumsfeld was eloquent and had the courage of a man standing alone in major media at the time. Olberman started Maddow on her way, and other liberal commentators too. It became OK to say some liberal things that hadn’t been said in a while — and with fire –into the the face of overwhelming outcry and attempted intimidation of the right during the Bush administration.
    Kieth’s Rumsfeld special comment

    Olberman:

    Mr. Rumsfeld is also personally confused,morally or intellectually, about his own standing in this matter. From Iraq to Katrina, to flu vaccine shortages, to the entire “Fog of Fear” which continues to envelope this nation – he, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and their cronies, have – inadvertently or intentionally – profited and benefited, both personally, and politically And yet he can stand up in public, and question the morality and the intellect of those of us who dare ask just for the receipt for the Emporer’s New Clothes.

  32. 32
    cleek says:

    @Zifnab:

    The problem is that you’re basically telling people “Become single-issue marijuana legalization voters”.

    nah. i’m just pointing out the bare fact that polls are irrelevant here since the laws in question can’t be affected by polls.

    someday maybe we’ll elect sufficient pro-legalization representatives to get legalization through. but it won’t be for a long long time.

  33. 33
    TomG says:

    I used this segment to send LO a letter requesting that he have Gary Johnson on the show to discuss legalization.
    I know many people here disagree with Gary on issues, but the media is still actively ignoring him. Deliberately shutting a 2-term governor out of the debates makes them useless for me.

  34. 34
    Joel says:

    If this were a dougj post, the headline would be:

    “And I will advertise it”

  35. 35
    Corey says:

    I don’t expect Obama to do ANYTHING but continue to enforce our insane drug laws in his first term. In his second term, there might be more freedom for movement. However, given how conservative even a “liberal” congress is on drug laws, regardless of the post-2012 congressional make-up, should Obama do anything, I fully expect Congress to cock-block (ala Gitmo) him so everyone can show their “tough on crime” bonafides.

    lol

  36. 36
    trollhattan says:

    I’ve been really liking the work LO’D has been doing lately, and can not figure out why he does not get more buzz. His shows have been consistently good, as good as anything KO ever put out on Countdown- fact-based, emphatic, clear, concise, and forceful, and almost always on the right side of things, yet he gets none of the love that KO got. Why is that?

    No glasses. Tina Fey wouldn’t be nearly as hot sans glasses. You could look it up.

  37. 37
    MBunge says:

    @Brachiator: “Because abortion restrictions are stupid. Next question.”

    Wow, dude. That’s like…deep and stuff.

    Mike

  38. 38
    Chris T. says:

    “Remember, kids, drugs are bad! Now go take your Ritalin!”

  39. 39
    Genghis says:

    Public opinion will have to get way over 50% before there’s a change in pot laws.

    While I’m at it, let me propose a new tag: I DON’T HATE OBAMA BUT HE ISN’T GOOD as a replacement for the 2 years out of date OBAMA IS WORSE THAN BUSH, etc.

    Best..H

  40. 40
    GR says:

    @MBunge:

    1. Why is a poll showing a majority of Americans support drug legalization supposed to end the debate, but polls showing majority support for a whole host of abortion restrictions aren’t supposed to mean anything?

    A fair question.

    1. Political support for repealing Roe v. Wade doesn’t significantly lag popular support, unlike legalization of marijuana. If anything, political will exceeds popular will.

    2. Marijuana legalization would increase civil liberties with little to no social cost and also decrease government spending on pointless enforcement, both of which are good things. Repealing Roe v. Wade would do the exact opposite.

    3. We are in a recession, jobs are scarce, and governments are starved for revenue. Regulating and taxing one of the major cash crops in this country certainly couldn’t hurt the economy.

  41. 41
    kindness says:

    Going after Medical Marijuana is politically stupid, that’s why Obama is an idiot in this situation.

    Seriously! Which segment of the population would switch their vote from anti-Obama to pro-Obama for Obama going after Medical marijuana as he has chosen to do here in California? Zero. That’s right, zero. He gets no benefit from that crowd. Which segment of the population would switch their vote from pro-Obama to anti-Obama for Obama going after Medical Marijuana? A larger number than zero. Which constiuency is this group? Primarily people who are raging liberals, like me…except I don’t rage all that much.

    Yea, Obama has his head up his ass on this issue. Go figure. Republicans in power never fail to patronize their base. Democrats in power somehow feel the need to occasionally go after their base to show their cred. Who benefits from this? Certainly not Democrats. Again, go figure.

  42. 42
    Citizen Alan says:

    @cpinva:

    the part of the population legalization isn’t popular with is the “prison industrial complex”, who would see a precipitous drop in revenues, were pot to be legalized. this cannot, and will not ever be allowed to happen.

    Wow. It took 16 posts before someone kinda-sorta got near the real issue — cui bono. Our current drug policy financially benefits Big Tobacco, beer and liquor distributers, Big Pharma, the logging industry, the paper industry, the textile industry (Say Hello, Mr. and Mr. Koch), and the prison-industrial complex. Think about that last one for a minute. Consider the private prison industry — a powerful and entrenched financial concern which exists solely because our drug policy overwhelmed the publicly run prisons with a flood of non-violent drug offenders, whose profits can only increase if the number of incarcerated Americans continues to grow, and whose sole revenue stream is tailor-made for demagogic appeals to our national lizard brain.

    And finally, on top of all that, consider that the existing drug laws disproportionately affect blacks, Hispanics and poor people regardless of race, permanently depriving convicted felons of the right to vote, to hold public office, to own a gun, or to receive student aid, and it also makes it de facto legal to discriminate against them in employment, housing and many other arenas.

    Now I ask you: who could possibly benefit enough from drug legalization to pony up the lobbying cash to overcome all that? I think it more likely that I will live to see the end of America as a democracy altogether than I shall live to see drug legalization.

  43. 43
    cathyx says:

    I’m all for legalizing pot and treating it like we do with alcohol. And really, why isn’t the snack food industry donating money to change legislation?

  44. 44
    sublime33 says:

    There have been lots of potential O’Donnell’s out there, but the networks would never allow them the chance to get in front of a camera and micophone. Olberman had been vetted because of his previous sports work and never tipped his hand as to what his political views were or how they were going to evolve. And remember, Olberman only got his chance because Phil Donahue was forced off because of the perception that Donahue was too liberal, which was an issue when we were at war and had a Republican administration.

    Olberman coming out as a liberal was like Celebrity Skin magazine turning up nudie photos of some actress you didn’t think would do this.

  45. 45
    Genghis says:

    I don’t want pot branded and marketed like alcohol. I’d rather see limits on the number of plants on a farm (no agri-business pot farms or “Acapulco Gold” brought to you by Marlboro), a national grading system indicating thc content (similar to proof in alcohol), strict prohibition for children under 18, individuals can grow a small number of plants on their own property (but may not sell), sold in State Stores only. Best…H

  46. 46
    boss bitch says:

    @kindness:

    Uhm, I know its hard to believe but sometimes politicians don’t give a shit about votes lost or gained when it comes to certain issues.

    I’d also like to remind people that just because legalization polls well doesn’t mean its the hill that these people are willing to die on.

  47. 47
    SRW1 says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    I hate to say it, but people who say “I hate to say it” usually don’t really hate to say it.

  48. 48
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .

    I don’t expect Obama to do ANYTHING but continue to enforce our insane drug laws in his first term.

    Neither do I, especially because he campaigned with great and fierce lip service not to interfere with the state laws.
     
    But this is a winning two-fer for this kind of Good Man – he gets to triangulate as Tough on Crime for the red-state rubes so they will have to vote for his re-election (hey, it could happen, right?), AND he gets to cruelly make sick people suffer even more than they otherwise would. Speaking of wood, I think he likes the second win better than the first win – schwing! – but opinions may differ.
    .
    .

  49. 49
    kindness says:

    @boss bitch: No one was asking Obama to throw himself on his sword in order to legalize pot. But Obama has chosen to go after his own on this issue when he could (more easily) done nothing at all. He didn’t. He went after a portion of his base after promising to leave it up to the states. Obama lied to me here. Obama may be brilliant but on this issue he’s a sandwich short of a picnic.

  50. 50
    AkaDad says:

    Instead of wasting time attacking Obama, why don’t Libertarians do something useful and work with Liberals, Independents, and Conservatives to help pass State referendums legalizing marijuana?

  51. 51
    Cliff says:

    I don’t expect Obama to do ANYTHING but continue to enforce our insane drug laws in his first term. In his second term, there might be more freedom for movement.

    So my question is, what pressures do you think are forcing him to crack down now, and why won’t they exist in his second term?

    Because at least on the surface, no one that I see is twisting Obama’s arm into punching hippies.

  52. 52
    MBunge says:

    @Cliff: “So my question is, what pressures do you think are forcing him to crack down now, and why won’t they exist in his second term?”

    How many of the people bitching about this have actually looked into who’s being cracked down on and why?

    Mike

  53. 53
    sukabi says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: also, KO doesn’t come off as a condescending, ‘know it all’, self-promoting asshole… which O’Donnell has wrapped up…

  54. 54
    Brachiator says:

    @MBunge: RE: “Because abortion restrictions are stupid. Next question.”

    Wow, dude. That’s like…deep and stuff.

    If the thread were about abortion, I might have posted more. But it’s not, so I didn’t.

    And the larger issue is that sane public policy, whether about marijuana legalization or abortion, should not be based primarily on popular sentiment.

    @Zifnab:

    It is worth noting that drugs ARE bad. For all the hippie feel-good “LSD opened up my eyes!” pro-drug propaganda out there, it’s worth noting that reckless abuse of ingested, injected, or inhaled poisons and toxins will mess you up both physically and mentally.

    You made your own best point here. It is not that “drugs are bad,” it’s that reckless abuse of drugs is bad.

    I am currently reading the New Yorker article about drug legalization. So far, it appears to be honest in noting that drug legalization does not solve all problems. For example, some people continue along as addicts despite availability of drug treatment. Although crime has been reduced, the lives of addicts is not uniformly made better.

  55. 55
    kindness says:

    @MBunge:

    How many of the people bitching about this have actually looked into who’s being cracked down on and why? Mike

    WTF? Mike are suggesting the posters on this thread are not aware of the Obama Administration recently choosing to sic the US DOJ Attorneys here in California on the Medical Marijuana access we’ve developed here in CA?

    Do YOU have a problem with Medical Marijuana?

    Myself, I support it but would prefer to have cannabis & it’s derivatives legalized & treated just like alcohol or tobacco.

  56. 56
    Cliff says:

    @MBunge:
    I see it now:

    California’s four U.S. attorneys said Friday that they are taking aim at large-scale growers and dispensary owners who are raking in millions of dollars while falsely claiming that their medical marijuana operations comply with state law, which does not allow for-profit sales.

    http://articles.latimes.com/20.....a-20111008

  57. 57
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @sukabi:

    also, KO doesn’t come off as a condescending, ‘know it all’, self-promoting asshole…

    “KO” stands for “Keith Olbermann” in this sentence? I think he does an entertaining show that’s generally on the right side of big issues, but, come ON, seriously?

  58. 58
    tones says:

    Agreed, I like Lawrence, but many do find him unbearable.
    Keith has real class, and intellect – but coupled with the sports caster skills he can pack an awful lot of news in an hour.
    More info per minute.

  59. 59
    Ruckus says:

    @Zifnab:
    Drugs are dangerous.

    So is everything else in life. Hang gliding, motorcycle riding, slipping in the bathtub, driving a car, being a pedestrian, and on and on. They can all be dangerous. The end result of everything you do is death. Not every time you do most of those things, but everything you do ends in death. And many or maybe most of those things are regulated and controlled. Speed limits, BAC limits, sales of alcohol/tobacco, etc, etc. It’s not the use of/doing most of those things, it’s the abuse of them.
    The question should be not so much how dangerous things are but why do we abuse them. Most of the time it’s because we want to feel better, or feel nothing. That’s a much better question to ask and find answers for. And one this country has never asked. So we have, Just say No. The easiest answer to give and enforce, but the one that is most consistently wrong.

  60. 60
    Ruckus says:

    @Brachiator:
    Although crime has been reduced, the lives of addicts is not uniformly made better.
    Isn’t that a pretty good outcome? The abuser is not better but society as a whole is. We can’t save everyone from themselves. And when we try how much harm do we do to society, as a whole?
    Is it just americans who look for the one perfect, simple answer?

  61. 61
    sukabi says:

    FlipYrWhig: yes, KO stands for Keith Olbermann… and no, he doesn’t come off as ‘self-interested and condescending’ as O’Donnell… one of the reasons I can’t stand to watch O’Donnell, besides his ‘tone’, is he brings everything back to some scene he wrote for the West Wing or some cause he’s promoting, using the bulk of the segment as a self-promotion spot. Olbermann had his causes, but he was humble in his promotion of them and never made it about ‘what a smart, good person he was/is’…

  62. 62
    tworivers says:

    O’Donnell is good more often than not, and is sometimes great. His problem is he occasionally spazzes out in anger and does/says something really stupid/misguided

  63. 63
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @sukabi: This is completely through-the-looking-glass stuff. The idea that Keith Olbermann, of all people, is “humble” rather than “condescending”… that’s he’s NOT a “know it all”… I can’t even fathom that. I think his heart is largely in the right place and liked his show. But he has an enormous ego and LOVED getting into pundit-celebrity tiffs (how many times did we have to hear about some tit-for-tat with O’Reilly or Limbaugh?). He wears out his welcome everywhere he goes because he grates on people. That’s what he does. That’s who he is.

  64. 64
    Paul in KY says:

    @Citizen Alan: I hear that Big Cheeto is pushing for decriminalization, so we got that.

  65. 65
    Paul in KY says:

    @Genghis: That will never happen, IMO. If it is decriminalized/legalized, it will follow the alcohol model.

  66. 66
    b-psycho says:

    @AkaDad: Because the Feds would treat successful results as void.

    Eh, maybe if a state gov’t were run by people willing to openly fight federal authorities on the issue (read: after legal marijuana passed, respond to federal threats with “we’re not helping you, you’re not coming in, fuck off and we MEAN it”) you’d have something. I doubt such bravery is coming though.

  67. 67
    djork says:

    @Brachiator:

    For example, some people continue along as addicts despite availability of drug treatment. Although crime has been reduced, the lives of addicts is not uniformly made better.

    I would argue that removing the threat of criminal penalties for what is essentially a health issue does make the lives of addicts uniformly better.

  68. 68
    MBunge says:

    @kindness: “Mike are suggesting the posters on this thread are not aware of the Obama Administration recently choosing to sic the US DOJ Attorneys here in California on the Medical Marijuana access we’ve developed here in CA?”

    See Cliff’s link at #56.

    Mike

  69. 69
    kindness says:

    @MBunge:

    I’m not talking about illegal grows. I’m talking about legal grows that are supposed to be allowed. Obama sic’d the Justice Department on the growers, the sellers, threatened to confiscate the property of the landlords where growing/selling occurred and threatened to take over media that sells advertizing to any of those.

    You support this bullshit?

  70. 70
    Brachiator says:

    @Ruckus:

    Isn’t that a pretty good outcome? The abuser is not better but society as a whole is. We can’t save everyone from themselves. And when we try how much harm do we do to society, as a whole? Is it just americans who look for the one perfect, simple answer?

    I noted that I had not yet read the entire article, but obviously referenced it and recommended it here because I found it informative.

    However, I will reserve judgement until I have read the entire thing, and perhaps compared it to other resources. It’s got nothing to do with looking for one perfect, simple answer.

    As an aside, apparently the drug problem in Portugal arose as collateral damage to drug dealers using Spain and Portugal as entry points to the rest of Europe. There had not previously been much of a demand or availability of drugs before the 1980s. According to one source quoted in the article, there are estimates that “seventy seven percent of the drugs seized in Portugal are destined for other countries.” And yet the impact on Portugal had been devastating, with “Portugal reporting the highest rate of drug-related AIDS deaths in the European Union” in 1999.

    I am not looking for simple answers, just a better understanding on how drug use and drug policies impact both societies and individuals.

  71. 71
    Zifnab says:

    @Brachiator: My point is that discouraging drug use isn’t in-and-of-itself a bad idea. I’m all for drug awareness seminars in public schools, publicly funded rehab programs, and even misdemeanor offenses for drug possession and trafficking.

    There’s a big difference between decriminalizing marijuana and the “legalize-and-tax” solution offered up by the most liberal activists. Your choices aren’t completely divided between “Throw a crack dealer in jail for twelve consecutive life sentences” and “Legalize everything”. There are a multitude of shades of gray, and it would be nice if we could explore them rather than swing between absolutes.

  72. 72
    Gus says:

    His shows have been consistently good, as good as anything KO ever put out on Countdown- fact-based, emphatic, clear, concise, and forceful, and almost always on the right side of things, yet he gets none of the love that KO got.

    Maybe because he’s not a bombastic preening ass?

  73. 73
    Brachiator says:

    @Zifnab:

    My point is that discouraging drug use isn’t in-and-of-itself a bad idea. I’m all for drug awareness seminars in public schools, publicly funded rehab programs, and even misdemeanor offenses for drug possession and trafficking. There’s a big difference between decriminalizing marijuana and the “legalize-and-tax” solution offered up by the most liberal activists.

    OK, I see your point, but I don’t think that even “liberal activists” see this as an either/or proposition.

    For example, a poster here offered one of the standard models of strict regulation, pot growing by only individual users, no commercial advertising, etc.

  74. 74
    Gus says:

    @Zifnab: We have explored many of them. Marijuana possession is decriminalized in a number of states, in that possession of small amount constitutes a misdemeanor. It’s still a waste of limited law enforcement resources, and it creates a sizable black market where none need exist. Personally, I don’t necessarily think a model like we have for alcohol is ideal. I’m thinking something along Alaska’s lines pre 1986(?). Growing your own for personal use is fine. Possession up to a certain amount is fine. I like the Netherlands’ system as well. I don’t know how I feel about there being a Phillip Morris or Anheuser-Busch of reefer.

  75. 75
    fasteddie9318 says:

    Speak of the devil, MSNBC is apparently moving Ed to 8 and Lawrence to 10. I would think 8 would be the more desirable slot, but O’Really always wins that timeslot and it’s opposite Olbermann from the left; I don’t know what the ratings are but maybe they’re throwing Ed to the wolves and moving Lawrence to an easier time.

  76. 76
    JWL says:

    You’re right, Cole. Get down to brass tacks, and Obama is obligated to enforce the laws, even idiotic laws.

    The hell of it is, I’d estimate that 80% of ALL lawmakers across the country understand that possession of grass should be decriminalized.

    It’s just a weed, for crying out loud, that people enjoy smoking.

    Puritans are a pain in the ass.

  77. 77
    OzoneR says:

    In his second term, there might be more freedom for movement.

    I doubt it, in the short term, meaning next decade or so, there will be little movement outside of the local level toward this.

    A lot is going to depend on the stances of candidates elected to state legislatures, governorships and ultimately Congress. If you get a governor who openly supports legalizing pot and pushing for it in his or her state, then you’ll start seeing movement

  78. 78
    Lancelot Link says:

    @kindness:

    Obama sic’d the Justice Department on the growers, the sellers, threatened to confiscate the property of the landlords where growing/selling occurred and threatened to take over media that sells advertizing to any of those.

    The dispensaries being closed down are the ones that don’t obey the state regulations; the dispensaries that do follow them (like the one I prefer to patronize, and where I learned this) don’t have a problem.
    Do you think businesses shouldn’t have to follow State regulations?

  79. 79
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @JWL:

    You’re right, Cole. Get down to brass tacks, and Obama is obligated to enforce the laws, even idiotic laws.

    You’re right, JWL. Unless it’s optional laws like the Geneva Conventions against torture and other war crimes (such as shielding war criminals from justice). All emoballoonbaggers agree.
    .
    .

  80. 80
    David Koch says:

    These polls are specious, at best.

    It was only 11 months ago when even the liburel California rejected a legalize pot ballot initiative 54-46. Jerry Brown beat Meg Whitman by 14 points, Boxer won by 10 points, but even with liberals winning by double digits, Pot lost by 8.

    If you can’t win in a deep blue state, where can Pot win?

    If you can’t win in a progressive state like California, then what chance does Pot have in moderate and knuckle-dragging states?

  81. 81
    kindness says:

    @Lancelot Link: Yea that’s bullshit because the dispensaries here in Northern Cal that DO obey all the rules have received the same letters. I know, I’m a member at several.

    Does it feel good lying for these people? Do you sleep well at night?

    @David Koch: You want to know something terrible? many of the people I know who grow voted against that law. They thought they could make more money if pot stayed illegal. I told them what I thought of their ethics at the time.

  82. 82
    David Koch says:

    @kindness:

    Obama sic’d the Justice Department on the growers,

    Obama did that? Really? C’mon. As busy as he is, you think he took time out of his hectic day to deal with pot? Brother, please. The president actually hires people to run the justice department, the DEA, even a so called Drug Czar so he can focus his schedule on essential matters. I mean, you don’t think the president was involved in the Whitey Bulger bust, even though he was number 1 on the FBI’s most wanted list, do you?

    To paraphrase JayZ, Obama has 99 problems an pot ain’t one of them.

  83. 83
    David Koch says:

    @kindness:

    many of the people I know who grow voted against that law.

    Sure, I understand, but at the same time, California has a population of 37 million, I doubt growers, distributors, and vendors together could account for 8 percent of the vote of such a large state.

  84. 84
    Ruckus says:

    @Brachiator:
    Sorry if it sounded like I was picking on you in particular, my rant and questions were intended to be a general reply/discussion on a subject that you were talking about.

  85. 85
    sukabi says:

    @FlipYrWhig: talking about how he presented himself on air, not how he is off air… the difference between Olbermann’s and O’Donnell’s on air presentation is the difference between night and day. O’Donnell ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS inserts himself into the piece he’s doing… listen to him, unless he’s changed his presentation in the last month or so it’s all I, I, I. His pieces become more about him than what he’s supposed to be covering.

    He’s got the condescending know-it-all attitude on full display for his viewers. I can’t stand that.

  86. 86
    Bob In Pacifica says:

    Here in California the voters passed a medical marijuana bill. Now the Justice Department is cracking down on marijuana dispensaries even though Obama had promised hands off when he was running.

    The only solution to federal interference is to decriminalize grass in the state by the state initiative process. If local and state authorities are out of the loop there is no way that the feds can bust everyone who has a couple plants in his backyard. And I dare any President to withhold federal funds to California.

  87. 87
    Arclite says:

    Also, too, the entire Afghan poppy crop can be bought for $560 million per year. We’re spending $20 billion per year on the war in Afghanistan, some of this on poppy eradication. Certainly buying the poppies is a cheaper solution. There are obviously issues to work out with this solution, but on the whole it seems workable.

  88. 88
    Lojasmo says:

    Just spent five days in thte SF bay area. Sitting in SFO now, driving the sniffing dog-officers nuts.

    As an aside, the California medical association just endorsed the legalization of marijuana.

  89. 89
    SqueakyRat says:

    Arclite — unfortunately, buying up the entire Afghan poppy crop just opens up the illegal market for someone else. There are probably better ways to waste money.

  90. 90

    I feel this would be a step in the right direction toward making Pot work to help our damaged economies. Marijuana is the safest drug with actual benefits for the user as opposed to alcohol which is dangerous, causes addiction, birth defects, and affects literally every organ in the body. Groups are organizing all over the country to speak their minds on reforming pot laws. I drew up a very cool poster for the cause which you can check out on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.....-2011.html Drop in and let me know what you think!

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