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Apr 092012

You just know that the gang working on the Lawrence Welk Show was smoking pot. Here we are, decades later, and one man is making sure the senior citizens know how much a bit of the medical kush could help them

Robert Platshorn spent 30 years in jail for smuggling pot back in the late 70s.  As a kid growing up in South Florida at the time, I probably smoked some of his imports.  Platshorn was sentenced to 64 years (!!!), but for good behavior and with parole, he got off easy.  Or not.

Since his release, Robert has been busy.  He first published his memoir, Black Tuna Diaries, and worked on a documentary, Square Grouper, that will premiere on Showtime on 4/20.  An epiphany came while on tour promoting his book – to reach out to senior citizens.

He then started The Silver Tour teaching seniors the benefits of medical marijuana.

In hour two, if it’s Monday, it’s Nicole Belle and Fools on the Hill:

If you’re going to air the Sunday shows on Easter, it’s inevitable that the conversation will center around faith and religion. Sorry, Jews and Muslims, you’re de facto not welcome to this conversation.

It also leaves out Mormons, according to Rick Warren. Warren, head of the 8th largest church in the US and the author of The Purpose Driven Life (all 30 million copies of it) told Jake Tapper that because the Mormon church denies the holy trinity, as far as he’s concerned, that makes them not Christian. That’s gonna make Mitt Romney a pretty hard sell in the Bible Belt.

Need proof? Idaho’s Rep. Raul Labrador told David Gregory that while he’s not going to endorse Mitt Romney, it’s time for Republicans to get behind him. How’s that again?

Luckily, we have Jon Meacham to reassure us that “religion won’t be an issue in the general election”. Right. Because all those Obama is a secret Muslim memes have gotten nowhere.

But the non-religious are not spared the sanctimony of the pious. Bill Graham’s daughter, Ann Graham Lotz told David Gregory that she would never vote for an atheist.

Speaking of ridiculous right wing memes about Obama, Peggy Noonan—of the pursed lips and patronizing tones—bemoans that Obama has been too divisive on the campaign trail. Has she even watched the Republican campaign?

And clinging to those last bit of relevance he hopes he still has, Newt Gingrich told Fox News that the GOP really isn’t an Etch-a-Sketch Party. Of course, this is the same guy who thinks he can make you forget the two wives he cheated on and left, the damage done to the country while he was speaker and the ethics charges that had him leave office. If that’s not someone relying on the Etch-A-Sketch mentality of the GOP, I don’t know what is.

I certainly could use a bit of medicine after that…

Feb 012012

I’ve long believed that the so-called War on Drugs does much more harm than good.

The good folks at Drug Policy Central have come up with a War on Drugs Clock. The amounts reset on January 1 of each year.  The numbers below are are cumulative from the first of the year only!


Arrests for drug law violations this year are expected to exceed the 1,663,582 arrests of 2009. Law enforcement made more arrests for drug abuse violations (an estimated 1.6 million arrests, or 13.0 percent of the total number of arrests) than for any other offense in 2009.

Someone is arrested for violating a drug law every 19 seconds.

Source: Uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Police arrested an estimated 858,408 persons for cannabis violations in 2009. Of those charged with cannabis violations, approximately 89 percent were charged with possession only. An American is arrested for violating cannabis laws every 30 seconds.

Source: Uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Since December 31, 1995, the U.S. prison population has grown an average of 43,266 inmates per year. About 25 per cent are sentenced for drug law violations.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics


Our jails are getting fuller (a good thing for the for-profit private prison industry being pushed through in state after state) , the costs of the so-called War on Drugs is out of control, and many guilty of nothing more than smoking a joint see their lives destroyed.

I believe the legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana could help turn a number of states’ troubled economies around, including Florida, where I live.  But that’s just one of the many reasons to end the war on drugs.

I’ve interviewed a few people from LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) a number of times on my show because they hit the nail right on the proverbial head.  I invited them on again today, as they were in the news…

You may recall that the White House and YouTube held a “Your Interview With the President” event on Monday.   People submitted video questions, and the public voted on them. Unfortunately, the topic that received the most votes, and the actual question that had the second highest number number of votes, was completely ignored.

The question was submitted by former LAPD  Deputy Chief, Stephen Downing -

It’s time that this very important issue be debated and discussed, not ignored or laughed off as the President did the last couple of times it came up at similar events.  So, this morning, I had a lengthy discussion about it with LEAP co-founder Peter Christ.

In the wake of yesterday’s discussions about Occupy Wall Street, I invited my friend Jesse LaGreca back on the show to discuss where the movement is headed. I suggest you listen to the whole thing, but he agrees with me that we need to occupy the ballot box, big time!


Aug 172011

Once again, I have to point out the hypocrisy of the right.  Many of your elected (Republican) representatives now want to charge you for the right to ask them questions.  From the idiotic freshman nut job Ben Quayle to the wacky’s wunderkind Paul Ryan, these people who were elected to represent all of their constituents are foregoing town hall meetings in favor of pay-for-access events.

Of course some – like my congressman (Allen West) are still holding events that they call “town hall meetings”. But, as I know from personal experience, they’re actually lectures where, if you dare to try to ask a question or say something in opposition to his position, you will be thrown out and risk arrest.

That’s the flavor of democracy, GOP-style, in August 2011.

But if you go back to August 2009, you’ll find reams of evidence that the Koch Brothers and Freedomworks-funded teabagger lemmings were being recruited to go to Democratic representative’s townhall meetings with the expressed goal of disrupting them.

In fact, Think Progress got hold of a leaked memo from Bob MacGuffie, a volunteer with the FreedomWorks website Tea Party Patriots, with details how members should be infiltrating town halls and harassing Democratic members of Congress:

Tea Bagger Memo

– Artificially Inflate Your Numbers: “Spread out in the hall and try to be in the front half. The objective is to put the Rep on the defensive with your questions and follow-up. The Rep should be made to feel that a majority, and if not, a significant portion of at least the audience, opposes the socialist agenda of Washington.”

– Be Disruptive Early And Often: “You need to rock-the-boat early in the Rep’s presentation, Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Rep’s statements early.”

– Try To “Rattle Him,” Not Have An Intelligent Debate: “The goal is to rattle him, get him off his prepared script and agenda. If he says something outrageous,stand up and shout out and sit right back down. Look for these opportunities before he even takes questions.”

The Think Progress story continued:

The memo above also resembles the talking points being distributed by FreedomWorks for pushing an anti-health reform assault all summer. Patients United, a front group maintained by Americans for Prosperity, is currently busing people all over the country for more protests against Democratic members. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), chairman of the NRCC, has endorsed the strategy, telling the Politico the days of civil town halls are now “over.”

News accounts of the actions of the town hall disrupters dominated the news (and comedy news)

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Healther Skelter
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

But this year, when constituents go to town halls to try to ask actual questions of their representatives, they’re either thrown out and arrested or denied entrance if they don’t “PAY to say”!  What ever happened to our first amendment rights?  Somehow, I think the idea of members of Congress charging their constituents for the right to ask a question has got to be against the law.

Sometimes, you don’t even have to speak to be denied access to an official event with your representative.  This morning, I spoke with Teresa Crawford, who wrote to me of her experience being denied entry to a publicly advertised forum to which she had RSVP’d!  She wrote to me of her experience:

I tried to enter a forum on energy featuring my congressman Joe Heck.   I was turned away, although my RSVP was accepted the day before by the local PR firm that organized the event on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute at a casino resort in Henderson, a few miles from my home.

Based on some quick research, I found that new state-based front groups sprang up this year–Nevada Energy Forum– in the wake of API’s decision to leverage Citizens United to add direct electoral cash to their robust lobbying program. At the door, the head PR flack maintained the event was never intended to be public, although it was advertised in a local paper and one of her staffers put posted a friendly invitation on my friend, blogger Andrew Davey’s wall.

Rep. Heck spoke at the event in his status as a House Member, on the taxpayers’ dime. I took it as an RSVP-only event, with limited or no Q&A, not a true Town Hall, but really wanted to hear his defense of supporting every vote to protect the interests of Big Oil, while opposing help for renewable energy at a fraction of the cost. Solar, wind and geothermal projects mean jobs for Nevada in construction, maintenance and most important manufacturing. We have one of the most skilled work forces in the nation and too many of them are idle in the wake of the construction bust.
By definition, private events are invitation only, not posted on Facebook and in the newspaper.

A small group, including myself, stood quietly outside the meeting room for a few minutes before the event started. I held a handmade sign that said Green Energy/Green Jobs and was wearing a yellow Sierra Club “Beyond Coal” T-shirt, admittedly in contrast to the business attire of attendees entering the room. My friends held a banner that read “Stop the oil Subsidies.” There were no personal attacks on the congressman, in stark contrast to the disruptive Tea Party behavior directed at former Congresswoman Dina Titus in the summers of 2009 and 2010. Because of holding the sign, although I did not attempt to carry it into the room, I was denied entry for being a protester on private property.

Here’s an odd twist: This woman who turned me away knows me by sight and name because I’ve volunteered for campaigns she’s managed, in other words, helped her earn her substantial living. Although she is a Republican, two local Democratic politicians hire her for their campaigns, hoping for the Republican contacts and donations they need to win.

I know no one ever said life was fair, but this is ridiculous!

Today’s show also included a conversation with Christopher Glenn Fichtner, M.D., author of the new book Cannabinomics: the Marijuana Policy Tipping Point,  and my friend – author/pundit/strategist Cliff Schecter about Rick Perry, the Tea Party, the hypocrisy & cowardice that defines the Republican party and more…

Sep 092010

“Pastor” Terry Jones just finished up a press conference in which he said that he’s canceling Saturday’s scheduled Koran burning in Gainesville FL because the Imam of the planned Islamic center near ground zero has agreed to relocate it.

Call me a cynic, but I think this guy is full of shit.  I don’t believe the Imam agreed to any such thing.  And if he did, it’s tantamount to blackmail or negotiating with a terrorist.  Yes, I think Terry Jones is a terrorist.

I think this whole idea of linking the Islamic Center in Lower Manhattan with the Koran burning started with Sarah Palin.  I wish the two of them would go away… and when we heard Palin, we’d think only of Michael, and when we hear Terry Jones, again, it would be the one from Monty Python!

I’ll bring you the latest on this mess on tonight’s show… Then we’ll go to pot. Seriously.

We’ll talk with a listener who heads to jail tomorrow on marijuana charges (he thought it was just pot! no big deal!) Unfortunately, the law is still the law, even if it’s a stupid law!

Then we’ll move on to a guy who was one of the biggest pot smugglers in the 70s, went to jail, and now is in the marijuana field legally.  Bruce Perlowin, CEO of Medical Marijuana, Inc (MJNA) will tell us how his business is doing.

And we’ll finish up the show, the week, and our live shows in this time slot with John Fugelsang! Don’t forget, beginning Monday, we’re on live from 10am-noon ET.  Talk with you soon!

Aug 102010

When will they ever learn?

Today should have been a great day for the Dems. Seriously.  The House of Representatives reconvened to help states insure that teachers, firefighters and police will stay on the job, and to make sure funds were available for Medicaid.  Of course, the naysayers on the other side of the aisle have no sense of decency and don’t seem to give a shit whether or not their constituents are taken care of… but that whole story has taken a back seat to two other sideshow stories today.

First, Charlie Rangel, he of the 13 ethics violation charges, decided to take TODAY of all days to exercise his right to get up on the House floor to try to defend his reputation.  On a day that the Dems should be proudly crowing about doing something good for the people of the country.  Instead, Charlie Rangel’s ethics, or lack thereof, would take the spotlight.

Well, the White House could have used that incident to point fingers and blame someone else for their troubles… until White House press secretary Robert Gibbs opened his big fat mouth!

Seriously, Gibbs opened mouth and inserted his foot so far that Linda Lovelace probably gagged.

He gave an interview to The Hill, blasting the “professional left,” by whom I guess he meant the few liberal voices on cable television and, perhaps, radio:

“I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs said. “I mean, it’s crazy.”

The press secretary dismissed the “professional left” in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the ideological right, saying, “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.

Of those who complain that Obama caved to centrists on issues such as healthcare reform, Gibbs said: “They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.”

Seriously Gibbs, you want to go there?  I think I might be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president. He would have fought for single payer health care, and certainly wouldn’t be sending thousands more troops to Afghanistan and asking for billions of dollars more to fund these reprehensible wars, especially while our country and its citizens are drowning in debt.

Even Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) took such umbrage at Gibbs’ remarks that he told Huffington Post the Press Secretary should resign!

Ellison said that Gibbs’s resignation would be an appropriate response. “I think that’d be fair, yeah. That’d be fair, because this isn’t the first time. And, again, people of all political shades worked very hard to help the president become the president. Why would he want to go out and deliberately insult the president’s base? And why would he confuse legitimate critique with some sort of lack of loyalty. Isn’t this what the far right does? Punishes people who are not ideologically aligned with President Bush?”

It’s wrong to suggest that progressives want to eliminate the Pentagon, said Ellison, adding that he doesn’t know a single Democrat who has espoused that view. “I know of none. So I think that was an inflammatory remark that is emblematic of his careless use of language and is an example of why he may not be the best person for the job,” he said. “Gibbs crossed the line. His dismissal would be fair.”

Ryan Grim, who wrote that piece for Huffington Post, will join me at the top of tonight’s show to talk about Robert Gibbs’ verbal diarrhea, along with the two other stories that I mentioned at the top of this post: the passage of the bill for which Congress reconvened today, and the untimely speech delivered by Charlie Rangel.

Don’t worry, my show is over at 8pm ET, just in time to hear Keith Olbermann deliver his Special Comment in response to Mr. Gibbs.  I can’t wait for that one.

Just in case you missed it, here’s Charlie, in all of his, um, glory…

We’ll also delve into FireDogLake’s Just Say Now campaign (with Students for Sensible Drug Policy) to legalize marijuana with Jon Walker, and get a news update from Talk Radio News.

In hour two, Nicole Belle of Crooks & Liars joins in for our weekly “Fools on the Hill” segment in which we dish about the ridiculous things said on the Sunday talking head shows.

Jul 052010

I just finished reading a piece penned by the late, great Howard Zinn entitled “Put Away the Flags,” which pretty much sums up how I’m feeling on this 4th of July.

“Is not nationalism — that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder — one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred? … Our citizenry has been brought up to see our nation as different from others, an exception in the world, uniquely moral, expanding into other lands in order to bring civilization, liberty, democracy.”

Ahh, good ol’ American exceptionalism.  We were raised believing that the USA was the best nation in the world. But as I grow older and more cynical, and see the Bush regime’s empire-building practices continuing even under Democratic rule, I understand how young people of other nations see us.  And it’s not good.

Coming off of eight years of Bush/Cheney rule, we thought things would change. But we are still engaged in two meaningless wars, and our most precious commodity – our young men and women – are killing and being killed, injured and maimed.

The most patriotic thing we could do on this independence day is stand up and say “Enough!”

On Thursday night, a growing number of Congressman showed their support for ending the war in Afghanistan, but not enough to change the way things are being done.  So, come November 2, show your patriotism and vote for the anti-war candidates who can take this country back to the place Thomas Jefferson described in the Declaration of Independence on this date so many years ago when he wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

If you need help finding the right candidates to support, check out Democracy for America, Progressive Democrats of America, the Progressive Change Campaign Committe and the Blue America PAC.

Randi Rhodes is enjoying another much-deserved vacation this week, and I’m thrilled and honored to be filling in for her again.

Of course, we’ll have lots of room for your phone calls and last minute guests who’ll join us to talk about what’s happening in the news. And I’ve already got some great people scheduled to join us.

On today’s show:

FireDogLake’s Jon Walker will fill us in on California’s Prop 19, in which the people of the Golden State will decide whether or not to be the first in the nation to legalize marijuana;

Author of Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency & Forming a More Perfect Union and Activist David Swanson will tell us which members of Congress did the right thing on Thursday with their votes on funding the escalation of the war in Afghanistan. Read more about it at;

Council of Candians’ regional organizer Mark Calzavara will fill us in on the challenges our Democratic neighbors to the north are experiencing;

Ted Glick, who will be sentenced tomorrow (for up to three years) for unfurling two banners reading “Green Jobs Now” and “Get to Work” in the Hart Senate Office Building.  Allen McDuffee of Raw Story alerted me to the story.  We’ll find out tomorrow what happened.

Amy Simon, cultural HERstorian and writer/performer of “She’s History: The Most Dangerous Women in America… Then and Now,” a new one-woman show opening in Los Angeles later this month, will give us some fun female facts about the unsung heroes– the founding mothers of our nation!

Tuesday July 6:

Greg Sargent, who writes the wonderful Plum Line blog for the Washington Post, brings us up to date on what’s going on in DC during the recess.

Jon Maddux, CEO of You Walk Away, will explain to us the pitfalls and benefits of walking away from your underwater mortgage.

Wednesday July 7:

David Cobb, 2004 Green Party presidential candidate now spokesman for Move To Amend will join us for an hour, taking calls about the need for a constitutional amendment to return democracy to the USA and make sure corporations do not have the same rights as citizens;

Commentator/author Jim Hightower will join us for a discussion about whatever is on his mind that day;

Congressman and Senatorial candidate from Pennsylvania Joe Sestak will give us the latest on his campaign.

Thursday July 8:

Former CIA Agent and novelist Barry Eisler will join us to talk about how truth is often stranger than fiction and, perhaps, a discussion about the newly discovered Russian spy ring.

Friday July 9:

Comedian John Fugelsang will help us end the week on a fun note and laugh about things that otherwise aren’t very funny!

Tonight, the Nicole Sandler Show will be guest hosted by Kenny Pick and friends…

Apr 202010

MSNBC’s Tamryn Hall actually asked Ryan Grim that question this afternoon, to which he answered an emphatic “Yes.. Happy 420″.  I’m not kidding… See for yourself in what was one of the best segments I’ve seen on the place for politics, during the daytime anyway…

I put together my own 420 salute, with a little help from Ryan Grim’s appearance with Tamryn Hall on MSNBC… And  Ryan Grim joined my on the show tonight too, to discuss the origins of 420, and take a look at the progress we’ve made toward ending prohibition.  By the way, if you’re curious about the marijuana laws in your state -or any other – check out this page, thanks to CNBC.

Before we leave the 420 festivities, you have to love this classic, courtesy of the Lawrence Welk Show:

Now on to financial reform. I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around this bill and what’s in it and reconcile that with the lies that the Republicans are telling about it, thanks to the talking points provided by Frank Luntz.

Tonight, I was joined by Heather Booth, director of Americans for Financial Reform, a coalition of national and state organizations that have joined together to fix our financial sector and make sure it’s working for all Americans.  I urge you to listen to the segment of the show in which she explained the problems that got us here, what’s in the bill, and what we’re hoping to improve upon.  And definitely check out their website and sign up for their mailing list to stay informed and involved.

And finally, in case you were wondering how to pronounce that volcano in Iceland, here’s some help…

Apr 052010

**Updated Monday night… podcasts are now posted.  Click on the player above for my regular show, and click here to hear today’s Randi Rhodes Show (with me)***

It’s another marathon Monday, as I’ll be filling in for Randi Rhodes this afternoon, then doing my show too!

It’s baseball’s opening day, Tiger Woods returns to the golf course, and it’s Easter Egg Roll day at the White House. No, Randi Rhodes isn’t attending any of those events.  But she will be on Joy Behar‘s show tonight, so be sure to tune in.

I’ve been keeping busy for the past few months. After the demise of Air America, I moved my show to a new time (6-8pm ET/3-5 PT) and do it online. You can watch and/or listen at the newly re-designed

There’s lots to talk about today!

As Californians recover from the earth’s rocking and rolling, they may need something to calm their nerves. This November, they’ll decide whether or not to legalize marijuana. California was the first state in the nation to allow medical marijuana and, now that they’ve gathered the signatures necessary, the “Regulate, Tax and Control Cannabis Act of 2010” will be on the ballot!

This afternoon, I’ll speak with Jack Cole, a retired NJ undercover narcotics detective, who is now Executive Director of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition).

Details are still surfacing on the Hutaree militia group. The more we learn about them, the more we should all realize that terrorists come from many different religions and races.  You might remember the outrage by the right in April of 2009 when the DHS released a report on right wing extremist groups. This is exactly what they were warning about.

It’s not only Islamic extremists we should worry about, as these crazies are “Christian” wackos. Frank Schaeffer, author of “Crazy for God” and “Patience with God” who helped to start the evangelical right movement as the son of its founder, will also join me today to talk about his latest missive on the Hutaree militia group.

There’s plenty more to discuss today too… Justice Stevens will retire before the end of President Obama’s first term, we got more information on who is in the tea party, President Obama takes on right wing talkers, the comedy show that IS Michael Steele, financial reform…. you get the idea.

Plus, in recent weeks, we’ve seen some great examples of political theater, with CodePink getting in on the act with their attempted citizens arrests of Karl Rove, and their fake press release from AIPAC calling for the end of new settlements on the West Bank.

But the best examples of great activism via political theater come from The Yes Men, whose new film “The Yes Men Fix The World” was just released on DVD on Friday (April Fools Day!). The Yes Men- Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno will join me on my show tonight at around 6:30pm ET!

So, please join me today from 3-6pm ET/noon-3 PT on The Randi Rhodes Show. Listen via any of her regular affiliates or online, and then from 6-8 ET/3-5 PT for my show at

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.


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