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May 122010

Wednesdays are always fun for me, because we start the show with a visit from Christy Harvey of the Center for American Progress. I’ve never met Christy in person, but became a fan of hers during the early days of Air America where she was a frequent guest on the Al Franken Show.

Last year, when I was doing nights on Air America, I contacted Christy and asked if she’d do a similar segment with me.. and we’ve been doing it ever since.  She brings great insight and lots of news stories to talk about that we other wise might have missed… And her project, MicCheckRadio is one of the sites I visit every day!

It’s a very busy show tonight… so here’s a glimpse at who else will be joining me…

Philip Smith is editor of the Drug War Chronicle at He’ll join me to discuss President Obama’s first national drug policy, released earlier this week, and detailed in the piece, “Obama’s First National Drug Stragy — The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

In hour two, we’ll get a report on the day’s news from the Talk Radio News Service…

Then we’ll check in with Norman Solomon, nationally syndicated columnist and author of numerous books including his latest, “Made Love, Got War.”  Norman also serves as national co-chair of PDA’s  Healthcare NOT Warfare campaign.  He’ll join me tonight to talk about a piece he wrote for Common Dreams earlier this week, “Kagan in Context: Shifting Progressive Values.”

And we’ll close out the show with Brandon Thorpe & Penn Bullock, the two reporters for Miami New Times who broke the story about George Rekers and his luggage carrier.  Read their coverage here and the follow-up story here.

Mar 292010

I know. You’re thinking what’s bad about sex? Well, when it comes from Republicans and Priests, it’s pretty bad. And that’s what we’ve got in the news today.  According to Daily Caller:

A February RNC trip to California, for example, included a $9,099 stop at the Beverly Hills Hotel, $6,596 dropped at the nearby Four Seasons, and $1,620.71 spent [update: the amount is actually $1,946.25] at Voyeur West Hollywood, a bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex….

West Hollywood’s newest corset, leather, and other trap door lingerie-inspired den, Voyeur, has an inescapable link to Eyes Wide Shut – women in various states of undress line the club, some hanging from the ceiling above you in nets (equipped with whips, so watch yourself), and a photo booth to document the whole thing are just the tip of the iceberg. Around the room, you can catch men and women undulating (er, dancing) in cages, the décor distinctly feels as if you’re unveiling something naughty, and you’re met with a constant stream of various erotic multimedia like film clips and risqué photography. Sorry to have gotten you all worked up at the office.

If that’s not enough to make you want to take a shower, consider the latest in the Catholic Church child abuse scandal, which is reaching all the way up to the Pope.  Just in time for Easter.  It’s enough to make you puke multi-colored eggs.

Among the stories I spoke with Howie Klein about today was his Papal piece from yesterday on DownWithTyranny.

In the second hour, after a report from Victoria Jones at the Talk Radio News Service, we dove head-first into a look at the “Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010” that will be on the ballot in California in November.

Although the title of this piece alludes to “good drugs,” I’ll submit that there are no good drugs. But relatively speaking, pot is about as good a drug as you can get!

Stephen C. Webster of Raw Story joined us to talk about the background of the bill, and a piece he’s working on for True/Slant about a couple who’ve lost custody of their child over a pot misdemeanor.

And we wrapped up the show with a conversation with retired California Circuit Court Judge Jim Gray, also a spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, to get his thoughts on the battle ahead.

Jan 152010

In addition to speaking with Bob Ferguson of Oxfam America, I’ll be joined by Larisa Alexandrovna, managing editor of investigative news for Raw Story. We’ll talk a bit about what’s happening in Haiti, and she’ll also fill us in on a disturbingly sad story about former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter.

It was a busy week in the war against prohibition. In our second hour tonight, I’ll be joined by Judge Jim Gray, retired CA Superior Court judge who’s a speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, and author of  Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed And What We Can Do About It: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs.”

And we’ll wrap up the week on the same subject with Raw Story‘s Stephen C. Webster, who’s responsible for the vast majority of drug war reporting at Raw Story, who’ll fill us in on where we are in this insane waste of money.

Look to your left for links to listen and/or watch the video stream live.  Calls are welcome too, at 866-303-2270 from 11pm-1am ET/8-10pm PT.

Jan 122010

The state of California made history today! Until today, no U.S. state legislature had ever even considered voting on a measure that would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana. Today, not only did the California Assembly’s Public Safety Committee consider it, they voted on and passed A.B. 390!

The Marijuana Control, Regulation and Education Act, authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) passed the committee by a vote of 4-3, clearing the way for it to move to the Health committee before heading to the Assembly floor for a full vote.

This is huge news not only for the pot smokers of America, but for the people of California who’ve been suffering under a terrible budgetary drought. According to the LA Times, “by some estimates, California’s pot crop is a $14-billion industry, putting it above vegetables ($5.7 billion) and grapes ($2.6 billion). If so, that could mean upward of $1 billion in tax revenue for the state each year.”

And, it signals reason for optimism that that the rest of the country may soon follow suit. California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana when 56% of the voters passed Prop 215 in 1996. Oregon, Washington and Alaska followed in 1998. Maine came on board in 1999. Colorado, Hawaii and Nevada legalized medical marijuana in 2000, followed by Montana and Vermont in 2004, Rhode Island in 2006, New Mexico in 2007 and Michigan in 2008. And just this week, New Jersey became the 14th state to approve medical marijuana when the state legislature approved legislation that would make it available from state-licensed dispensaries to seriously ill patients.

Already following California’s lead on dropping the medical requirement from the marijuana, voters in Washington state on Monday announced the start of a petition drive to get a legalization question on the ballot in November, and activists in Nevada are planning a similar campaign.

And the town of Breckenridge, Colorado legalized marijuana in November. The law allowing residents and tourists alike to carry up to an ounce of marijuana, along with the paraphernalia that goes along with it, with no worry of any civil or criminal penalties, went into effect on January 1. And Denver voters actually decriminalized small amounts of pot in the Mile High City, though the state law still makes possession illegal.

The United States is spending an inordinate amount of money and resources in fighting the so-called war on drugs. At a time when every state in the nation is in financial straits, this is a massive waste of taxpayer dollars– money that could certainly be better used to provide necessary services like education and health care.

In June of 2009, Congressman Barney Frank re-introduced his measure “Act to Remove Federal Penalties for Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults.”

Groups like Law Enforcement Professionals Against Prohibition even take it a step further, encouraging legalization of all drugs with this statement on their website:

After nearly four decades of fueling the U.S. policy of a war on drugs with over a trillion tax dollars and 37 million arrests for nonviolent drug offenses, our confined population has quadrupled making building prisons the fastest growing industry in the United States. More than 2.2 million of our citizens are currently incarcerated and every year we arrest an additional 1.9 million more guaranteeing those prisons will be bursting at their seams. Every year we choose to continue this war will cost U.S. taxpayers another 69 billion dollars. Despite all the lives we have destroyed and all the money so ill spent, today illicit drugs are cheaper, more potent, and far easier to get than they were 35 years ago at the beginning of the war on drugs. Meanwhile, people continue dying in our streets while drug barons and terrorists continue to grow richer than ever before. We would suggest that this scenario must be the very definition of a failed public policy. This madness must cease!

So, hurray for California. You know the old saying, As goes California, so goes the nation. Let’s hope that’s true… and let’s hurry!


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