Thu, 05/28/2015 - 8:27am | posted by Matthew DesOrmeaux
The Daily Beast has a bit this week about Hillary Clinton’s upcoming donor clash over marijuana policy. Her position as recently as last year is that marijuana is a gateway drug and would be legalized, even medicinally, at great risk to society.
“I think the feds should be attuned to the way marijuana is still used as a gateway drug and how the drug cartels from Latin America use marijuana to get footholds in states,” she told KPCC radio last July.
This is at odds with big donors she’s meeting in California soon, as well as the general public, which supports legalizing it completely. That, of course, means that Hillary’s position on the issue will almost certainly “evolve” before 2016 gets too much closer. But if she doesn’t, she could end up to the “right” of her Republican challenger here.
That raises the question of whether marijuana prohibition is even a cause of the right or the left to begin with. Currently it’s assumed to be a liberal issue, and polls support that by showing huge majorities of Democrats favoring legalization but much smaller numbers of Republicans.
Wed, 05/27/2015 - 8:38am | posted by Dan Mitchell
This was originally posted at Mitchell’s blog International Liberty.
Fri, 05/22/2015 - 10:40am | posted by Matthew DesOrmeaux
You may have seen the #justicereform hashtag pop up in your timeline this week. Well, it wasn’t random. There was a summit to discuss the issue in Washington DC, and it brought together two organizations that would normally cause a rip in the space-time continuum.
Co-sponsored by the conservative FreedomWorks and liberal Center for American Progress, the Coalition for Public Safety summit brought in activists, bloggers, and radio hosts from the right and left to learn more about this issue that has united these disparate forces. Anything that can do this deserves to be taken seriously as a unifying principle by our policy-makers.
Jason Pye, formerly of this site, and now of FreedomWorks, told me some great things about the event.
There was a lot of positive feedback from bloggers about Molly Gill of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, who spoke at FreedomWorks’ morning session. She gave us some heartbreaking stories of families that have been torn apart by federal mandatory minimum sentences, a costly big government policy that has led to the incarceration of thousands of low-level, nonviolent offenders.
This is another reason why justice reform should be a huge issue on every level of government, not just for the presidential election. Pye says there’s already big things happening at the national level.
Thu, 05/21/2015 - 3:42pm | posted by Puter
‘Puter’s hopping mad this morning, and that’s not a pretty sight. After all, ‘Puter’s a 5’10” Shrek-like man-beast partial to wearing orange leisure suits.
What’s got ‘Puter’s gold lamé man thong in a bunch, you ask? The New York Times editorial board, as usual, and its useful idiocy in this editorial, The High Cost of Dirty Fuels.
The editors’ thesis is simple: “countries should end subsidies for fossil fuels: It would save millions of lives.” Fair enough. ‘Puter disagrees with the editors, but the point is debatable.*
But what are the subsidies for fossil fuels to which the editors refer? Are the editors referring to tax subsidies directly related to extraction, refining and production of fossil fuels?**
Nothing quite so sane. The New York Times editorial brain trust informs us:
Governments subsidize energy in many ways. … But by far the biggest way countries reduce the price of energy is by not taxing it enough to account for the damage that burning fossil fuels causes to human health and to the climate.
See? Our government is subsidizing fossil fuel production by not taxing it enough. ‘Puter was unaware it was the goal of tax policy to interfere with the markets, unfairly picking winners and losers based on unproven “climate change” science.*** ‘
Wed, 05/20/2015 - 7:26am | posted by Sarah Lee
On a recent show, Rush Limbaugh (and I apologize for the butchered quote so take those quote marks as suggestions) said of Hillary Clinton, and possibly the entire Clinton machine: “Hillary has let everyone know if you want them you have to buy them.”
Of course he’s referring to the continuing saga of ABC Newsman, and former Clinton operative, George Stephanopoulos and his almost bone-headed contributions to The Clinton Foundation while posing as an objective journalist.
But now [Stephanopoulos’] credibility, and future, have been called into question since he admitted Friday that he had donated $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation since 2011, just as the presidential race gears up with Hillary Rodham Clinton the leading Democrats.
In a mea culpa delivered Sunday on “This Week,” Stephanopoulos, who was also a top aide in Bill Clinton’s White House, said the gifts “were a matter of public record, but I should have made additional disclosures on air when we covered the foundation.”
Tue, 05/19/2015 - 6:20am | posted by Liz Harrison
Misericordia University in Pennsylvania is being sued by a student because she failed a course - twice. While it might be tempting to think that this is yet another “special little snowflake” case involving someone that simply doesn’t want to follow the rules, this involves a woman who suffers from depression and anxiety. The stress of taking final exams had been too much for her, and now she is suing for financial damages. However, her attorney contends that her primary goal is to have a chance to sit for the exams, and try again. She is no longer a student at the university, so that could be difficult in itself.
The student was enrolled in a nursing program, which would lead to a highly stressful career. While the attorney representing her was quick to claim that people can be nurses while suffering from depression or anxiety, there are probably at least a few mental health professionals that would state that a career in nursing can lead to those mental problems. Test-taking is not a direct indicator for success in a career, but if the stress from a test debilitates a student, it’s not unreasonable to assume that job stress would do the same.
This lawsuit is being filed as a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and it brings up an interesting question of ethics when it comes to these protections. Is it proper for a person to be able to use the protections this law offers in all cases involving access to higher education, including when one’s disability would prevent that person from actually getting a job in the field of study? The ADA simply guarantees a person’s access to education, but does not guarantee that education would be paid for in full by government, thankfully.
Fri, 05/15/2015 - 3:52pm | posted by Matthew DesOrmeaux
The Republican primary election of 2016 is shaping up to be epic struggle between two polar opposite factions: Baby Boomers and Generation X. Boomers are huddled in their well-established, entitled stronghold, thinking it’s still their time, but Xers are laying siege to the walls and splintering the gates with a troll-driven flaming battering ram. There is very little overlap, and the choice has never been more stark, as a comparative timeline of a cross-section of the candidates demonstrates.
The Boomer candidates were all born between 1951 (Ben Carson) and 1959 (Rick Santorum). None of them have held office since 2007. They’ve never campaigned against an Obama electorate. The Iraq War was still in climax when they left office, and some never even held office at all (Carson, Fiorina). In fact, the last time some of them won reelection, in 2002, we hadn’t even started the Iraq War yet.
They haven’t had to vote for or implement a public budget since the stimulus, Obamacare, or sequestration. They will all have been out of direct contact with current policy considerations for exactly a decade when the next president takes office in 2017.
The one major exception to this grouping is Rick Perry, who would actually be the oldest Republican candidate if/when he declares, but was in office until just this January. But given his performance in the last presidential contest, opinions on considering him seriously this time vary.
Wed, 05/13/2015 - 7:40am | posted by Stephen Littau
I would like to conduct a little thought experiment.
It seems that quite a few people have very strong opinions about the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore. Some of you see this as a race issue, others as a police issue (cops either almost always have halos or devil horns), and a few see this as the human tragedy it truly is. Some believe that there simply isn’t enough proof to bring charges against the six police officers. They are being railroaded and overcharged some say (I would like to point out that overcharging non-cops and railroading non-cops in the justice system is an everyday occurrence). I would like to remove these variables and see if we come up with a different conclusion if we change the actors.
Let’s say that instead of six cops putting Freddie Gray in a paddy wagon its six fraternity brothers (of any race you wish, but let’s say they are all of the same race…use your imagination) from the (fill in the blank) chapter doing an initiation. At this point in the story, our analogue for Freddie Gray is a pledge who wants to join this fraternity. Let’s call him Jim.
Are you with me so far?
Now that we know who the actors are let’s continue…
Several of the fraternity brothers find Jim and start the initiation process. They put Jim in hand cuffs and call the rest of the fraternity brothers who eventually pull up in a van. As they begin to put Jim in the van, he begins to panic.
“I can’t breathe, I need my inhaler!” Jim says.
The fraternity brothers ignore Jim’s concerns and proceed to put him in the back of the van.
Tue, 05/12/2015 - 11:42am | posted by Matthew DesOrmeaux
The last time Rand Paul stood on his feet for 13 hours, he created a phenomenon. His filibuster before the nomination of a CIA director to get answers from the White House about drone policy basically launched his presidential campaign. It catapulted him into the national spotlight, united a civil libertarian coalition of Republican and Democrat senators, and spawned the #StandWithRand hashtag that has become his campaign slogan two years later.
Now the senator has vowed to do the same thing, but for real this time. Two years ago, Paul wasn’t trying to block the Brennan nomination with his filibuster, only to delay it to force a clarification from the Obama administration on how they decide who receives oversight-free execution via flying death robot. He got it.
This time, he’s definitely trying to affect policy.
“I’m going to lead the charge in the next couple of weeks as the Patriot Act comes forward,” [Paul] said in a one-on-one interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader. “We will be filibustering. We will be trying to stop it. We are not going to let them run over us. And we are going to demand amendments and we are going to make sure the American people know that some of us at least are opposed to unlawful searches.”
Mon, 05/11/2015 - 11:13am | posted by Sarah Lee
Hero to libertarians everywhere Justin Amash has been taking the Chamber of Commerce to task on Twitter over the organization’s very real tendency to prop up crony capitalism, this time by openly supporting the Ex-Im bank (make sure you go down the rabbit hole of retweets to get the full effect):
Keep fighting for cronyism. It’s really popular in smoke-filled rooms. https://t.co/wP18HxVIl1
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 11, 2015
It’s good to have people on the Hill pointing out that those with access in DC are the ones who really do pull the policy strings, for better or worse. And the Chamber definitely has that access, one of the largest lobbying groups, and reportedly the largest spender yearly on behalf of its members. So, it’s easy to find fault with with them. They epitomize those “special interests” that all who disapprove of big government complain about. But then, sometimes they go and do things like this:
For several years, Josten has pressed the case that the federal debt, and in particular the tab for retirement programs, is an urgent concern for business, even if executives don’t see its effects firsthand the way they do for more traditional business worries such as taxes or regulations.