Ron Paul for president!
Well, not really, but his speech in favor of the Hickey-Rohrbacker Amendment, which would have defunded federal actions against marijuana in states that have legalized it for medical purposes, is a doozy.

As a cosponsor of the amendment, I rise in support of this amendment and appreciate the fact that the gentleman from New York has brought it to the floor.

I would suggest that the previous speaker has forgotten some of the law; and to me, that would be the constitutional law of the ninth and tenth amendments. So changing the law is one thing, but remembering the Constitution is another.

This has a lot to do with State law; but more importantly, as a physician, I see this bill as something dealing with compassion. As a physician, I have seen those who have died with cancer and getting chemotherapy and with AIDS and having nothing to help them. There is the case in California of Peter McDaniels, who was diagnosed with cancer and AIDS. California changed the law and permitted him to use marijuana if it was selfgrown, and he was using it; and yet although he was dying, the Federal officials came in and arrested him and he was taken to court. The terrible irony of this was here was a man that was dying and the physicians were not giving him any help; and when he was tried, it was not allowed to be said that he was obeying the State law.

That is how far the ninth and tenth amendments have been undermined, that there has been so much usurpation of States’ rights and States’ abilities to manage these affair, and that is why the Founders set the system up this way in order that if there is a mistake it not be monolithic; and believe me, the Federal Government has made a mistake not only here with marijuana, with all the drug laws, let me tell my colleagues.

There are more people who die from the use of legal drugs than illegal drugs. Just think of that. More people die from the use of legal drugs; and also, there are more deaths from the drug war than there are from deaths from using the illegal drugs. So it has gotten out of control. But the whole idea that a person who is dying, a physician cannot even prescribe something that might help them. The terrible irony of Peter McDaniels was that he died because of vomiting, something that could have and had only been curtailed by the use of marijuana. No other medication had helped; and we, the Federal Government, go in there and deny this and defy the State law, the State law of California.

Yes, I would grant my colleagues there is danger in all medications. There is some danger in marijuana, but I do not know of any deaths that is purely marijuana-related. If we want to talk about a deadly medication or a deadly drug that kills literally tens of thousands in this country, it is alcohol. And how many people want to go back to prohibition? I mean, nobody’s proposing that, and yet that is a deadly drug.

The whole notion that we can deny this right to the States to allow a little bit of compassion for a patient that is dying, I would say this is a compassionate vote. If we care about the people being sick, then we have to vote for this amendment. This will do
nothing to increase the use of bad drugs. The bad drugs are there; and as a physician and a parent and a grandparent, I preach against it all the time, but the unwise use of drugs is a medical problem, just like alcoholism is a medical problem; but we have turned this into a monster to the point where we will not even allow a person dying from cancer and
AIDS to get a little bit of relief. I strongly urge support and a positive vote for this amendment.

Sadly, most of his fellow Republicans voted against the bill for the usual bullshit reasons.


Cybill Shepherd is mocking Arnold Schwarzenegger’s political ambitions. Cybill Shepherd should simmer down.

The outspoken former model and ex-Moonlighting star was approached about a White House bid last weekend via a series of talks with her friend, attorney Gloria Allred.

Today, Allred said she was “encouraged” Shepherd, 49, is mulling the candidacy.

“It’s not a trial balloon. I asked her to seriously consider running and she’s seriously considering,” Allred says.

Was that just Gloria Allred talking? Not really

MATT LAUER: You also write in the book about wanting to become President of the United States or at least seriously considering it, in this year 2000. Why did you think you’d be a good candidate?

CYBILL SHEPHERD: Well I seriously considered it, in order to bring attention to reproductive freedom because we are approaching a crisis particularly with the presidential election.

Now, what did she say about Arnold?

That would be the worst tragedy in the history of California. I think that we are the laughing stock of the world with Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor.

Celebrity candidate who’s a Democrat = legit. Celebrity candidate who’s not = national disgrace. Gotcha.


They have some standards
The New York Times, which glowingly profiled her son Chesa last year, offers a harsh editorial on the release of convicted murderer Kathy Boudin.

In seeking her release, Ms. Boudin and her supporters, including several celebrities, wisely avoided minimizing her crime. The robbery resulted in the deaths of Sgt. Edward O’Grady and Officer Waverly Brown of the Nyack Police Department and Peter Paige, the Brink’s guard, and left their nine children fatherless. Instead, the Boudin camp emphasized the length of time she had spent behind bars, and the fact that while there she had helped establish inmate education programs and programs for inmates with AIDS and for incarcerated mothers.

Whatever America’s flaws were in the 1960’s, they were not the fault of Sergeant O’Grady, Officer Brown or Mr. Paige, or their families. Ms. Boudin’s lawyer described his client as “hysterically happy” about the parole board’s decision (which technically could still be blocked, although that seems unlikely). But any joy that Ms. Boudin is now free to put the Brink’s robbery behind her must be tempered by memories of the three men who never will.

I have some sympathy for contrite members of the Weather Underground. Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, who raised Kathy’s son, are not contrite – they’re free because the FBI overreached in prosecuting them, and because Ayers comes from one of the richest families in the Midwest. But at least their terrorism, after the Days of Rage, was plotted to avoid civilian casualities. They never became killers like their comrade Kathy – but does anyone doubt they’ll be throwing her a party?


Adventures on Planet Kos
I generally like the Daily Kos weblog, as much as it is run by a partisan Democrat and I am a marginal Republican. I’ve posted some useful stuff there in the past, but Kos’s own selection of polls and maps is hard to beat on a free website. Nonetheless, the conversation I got into yesterday was … just silly.

We were talking about what is quickly becoming a kneejerk Democratic meme – Republicans oppose democracy and don’t accept elections when they don’t win. CA Gov. Gray Davis said as much in a speech, much approved of by Kos.

This recall is bigger than California. What’s happening here is part of an ongoing national effort to steal elections Republicans cannot win.

It started with the impeachment of President Clinton, when the Republicans could not beat him in 1996. It continued in Florida, where they stopped the vote count, depriving thousands of Americans of the right to vote.

This year, they’re trying to steal additional congressional seats in Colorado and Texas, overturning legal redistricting plans. Here in California, the Republicans lost the governor’s race last November. Now they’re trying to use this recall to seize control of California just before the next presidential election.

I sighed and posted some questions in the comments.

This is the best tactic for Davis to use, absolutely. Democrats will be fired up enough to ignore that, hey, both parties use dirty tactics to win seats (remember the Jeffords switch? Lautenberg?) Republicans got angry and turned out in 2002 … Democrats, if their leaders stoke this “STEALING ELECTIONS!” fire enough, could get angry and turn out in 2003.

That got this response:

Hey, Dave: Would you explain just what was “sleazy” about Jeffords bolting a party whose leadership he could no longer stomach?

As to Lautenberg bowing out when he did- well, you got me there.

I answered him.

J&G – What was sleazy was the Democratic leadership baiting Jeffords by offering the committee chairmanship he wanted. That’s backed up here.

Was it illegal for Democrats to swing the majority by courting Jeffords? No. Was it unusual? Well, yeah. Since Jeffords was disgusted with the GOP, was he justified? Hm … I’d reckon the 1.3 million people who signed the recall petition were disgusted in their way, too.

I would prefer every state drew districts the Iowa way, handing the process to judges. What Tom DeLay is doing now is as disgusting as what Phil Burton did in 1980s California.

But the “coup! coup! sore losers!” spin is boilerplate nonsense, laughably Manichean, and … well, it just might win over a bunch of on-the-fence Democrats.

P.S. Torricelli dropped out of the NJ senate race after he had won the primary, and Lautenberg was inserted onto the ballot without a primary. Quelle undemocratic!

According to “smartone”:

gee dave
i guess you forget the long series of southern democrats who switch to republican in the 90s …

My other critics came out swinging.

Let me get in a couple of licks in answer to your courteous response.

‘Smartone’ has your number about Jeffords defection. I mean, get real.

From the tenor of your remarks, I doubt it possible to convey my certainty that the Bushite GOP is an essentially fascist entity, able and willing to subvert normal democratic processes in their pursuit of power.

Of the 1 million Californians who signed-off on the recall petition, not a single one can point to an instance of malfeasance committed by Davis. So let me ask you this: assuming a republican had won the governor’s office last November, and had proceeded to conduct him/herself in an honorable (albeit partisan) fashion, would a recall be warranted?

Hell no, it wouldn’t. I tell you straight on, that if Pete Wilson, a man I disdain, had found himself in a similar spot, I would have voted ‘No’ to the recall.

In fact, I did exactly that when Dianne Feinstein faced a similar challenge circa 1978. I’m a native San Franciscan, and Dianne has always been way too conservative for me, but I made a point of voting against her recall because it was unwarranted.

And those that dismiss this criteria when it comes to a recall best think it through. I’d say to them: if you succeed in upending Davis, I will seek to torpedo whomsoever you place in his stead. One million votes? In a polarized state, and with enough dough, they’re there for the picking. Most especially when times are tough- as when a state has been methodically raped by a corporation that happens to have been the single greatest contributor to the coffers of an incumbent President of the United States.

As to Phil Burton? Yeah, you got a point, but not much of one. Phil, like republican legislators where the cotton was high, did it fair and square: once, after the census at the top of the decade.

And Toricelli? I doubt any party could go to the well many more times with that tactic. It did stink.

But he was wrong.

I’m not sure that Smartone has my number. Jeffords’ switch swung control of the Senate from Republican to Democrat 6 months after a legitimate election. None of the Southern swings did that. And my point isn’t that Jeffords is the devil. Both parties bend the rules. It’s always sad to watch.

I pretty much agree with your points. I’m just being nitpicky about Davis’s speech and what appears to be the key Democratic talking point on the recall. Que sara sara. It wasn’t intended to win me over, obviously …

Logic was useless.

First, a politician switching parties is nothing new. It happens all the time. Our piece of sh*t senator Norm Coleman was a democrat when he first became mayor of St. Paul. In fact, I would say he would not have even had a chance to be mayor of St. Paul if he had not been a democrat. After he was in office he switched to the GOP. Judi Dutcher who if the DFL had any sense would have nominated to run for governor, was once a republican and switched to the DFL. So it happens.

Bullshit through and through.

Back to the circle jerk with you… best to Unka Karl!

Hm. In April 2001, Trent Lott was majority leader. In June 2001, Tom Daschle was majority leader. However, KARL ROVE! So I saw this guy’s point.

But “Bill” was interesting.

I loved Davis’ theme – that the Republicans are subverting the Democratic process. But we Democrats must also recognize that we had a small hand in this trend with the replacement of Sen. Toricelli on the ballot a few weeks before the election just because he was going to lose – after all, isn’t that why you have an election! To see who wins and who loses.

Clearly, Dems haven’t subverted the process to the extent that the Reps have, but we didn’t help it with the Toricelli switch. Or, for that matter, with the election of a dead man in 2000.

The moral. I don’t know. The internet’s weird?


Bill Herbert smacks the stupid out of Kevin Drum. It’s excellent.

Drum’s standard here is pure hypocrisy: when the BBC falsely reports that Lynch’s rescuers fired blanks, he chalks it up to “garden variety mistakes, common in war reporting.” But when the military allows information to be leaked about the circumstances surrounding Lynch’s capture, and that information turns out to be false, it’s a major disinformation campaign. Never mind that the false information was caveated with a “we really haven’t evaluated this report yet” disclaimer, or that an Army doctor corrected the record two days later, or that everything else BGEN Brooks said about the raid turned out to have been completely accurate. It’s simply inconceivable to Drum — or, more importantly to the BBC’s reporters — that the pentagon simply made a mistake, and actually believed that their intel could have been accurate at the time.

Ditto for the other “lies” the pentagon told about the war. They said they took Um Qasr and Basra. Then it turned out they hadn’t completely solidified those vitories. That’s war, asshole. Information from the field is almost always sketchy, and often turns out to be wrong. If you want to give the BBC the benefit of the doubt that they believed their own copy, why can’t you allow the same possibility for military spokespeople working under the same wartime uncertainties?

Many liberals who criticize Fox News (Russell Mokhiber calls it “Pravda”) have taken an interest in defending the BBC at all costs, as the one news organization that can report on America without being blinkered. But its bias is provable, and Chafetz has the goods. Stick to the catblogging, Kevin.


Racism = not good
Barbara Grutter, the (racist, imperialist, Jim Crow etc) plaintiff in the U of M affirmative action cases, has an op-ed in the National Review.

Thirty years ago as a young woman, I entered a sexist work environment, empowered and emboldened by the promise of the equal-opportunity statement, and encouraged by the strides being made — only to find myself 25 years later discriminated against on yet another basis — this time race. That is not progress! Voters are tired of waiting, tired of wasting time, and they are unwilling to turn back the clock.

We will never become a truly inclusive society if we continue to discriminate against or disenfranchise one group in the process of including another. Equal protection means the same thing for everyone or it means nothing for anyone. We will not wait, as Sandra Day O’Connor suggests, another 25 years for the principle of equal treatment to become a reality in Michigan.

Sometimes I like it when NR bucks the win-at-any-costism of the Republican party. Sometimes I don’t.


Sanchez 1, Conason 0
Julian Sanchez waves his hand and dismisses Joe Conason’s tedious bestseller Big Lies. It’s a stellar put-down:

the excerpt is a tedious recitation of cherry picked polls showing that the majority of the American people support big government programs. My first thought when seeing such stats is always… “yeah, they like Paradise Hotel and Chicken Soup for the Soul too… who cares?” But I do sometimes wonder about the mysteries of public attitudes.

See, among the polls Conason doesn’t cite are those showing that Americans prefer “smaller government with fewer services” to “larger government with more services” by a margin of 54 to 41 percent, even when the polling question doesn’t mention higher taxes. (Though when you characterize the services as “needed” people say that providing those—which count as “needed” is left nebulous—is more important than shrinking government by two to one.) Conason looks instead at approval of particular programs, and that’s a pretty consistent trend. Ask people whether they want smaller government, and majorities say yes. But ask about particular programs and majorities want to keep them.

When I worked for the Center for Individual Rights, I siezed on a new poll from the Washington Post that tracked opinions of affirmative action. It was a minor bombshell – 1,709 respondents were asked this question:

In order to give minorities more opportunities, do you believe race or ethnicity should be a factor when deciding who is hired, promoted, or admitted to college?

No group supported this. Blacks opposed it 86 to 12. Whites opposed it 94 to 3. Democrats in general opposed it 87 to 8, and Republicans opposed it 96 to 2. But what struck me was how the Post spun its own findings:

Whether out of hostility, indifference or simple lack of knowledge, large numbers of white Americans incorrectly believe that blacks are as well off as whites in terms of their jobs, incomes, schooling and health care, according to a national survey by The Washington Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University.

Depending on the question, the poll found that 40 percent to 60 percent of all whites say that the average black American is faring about as well and perhaps even better than the average white in these areas.

Was that the most amazing part of the poll? More amazing then 86 percent of African-Americans opposing racial preferences? The Washington Post thought so, and there was the liberal media in all its glory.

Conason’s poll selection seems to follow the same pattern (you’d think he’d want to be at least as honest as Ann Coulter, who provided footnotes for all of her assertions in Slander and Treason). He picks and chooses the polls that suit him, which you could never get away with in a college political science or journalism course. Then he uses them to make his point. He takes info that’s favorable to progressives at face value. Then he calls the media that provides that info “right-wing.” Then he calls us liars.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am an ignorant American who has to get back to his history of Byzantium.


Did you know that Arnold Schwarzenegger hates Mexicans? It’s true! Lalo Alacaraz offers his take in convenient poster format.

I like Alacaraz’s art and his book Latino USA, but his politics are predictable and silly. Of course, this was the week that the Economist referred to Prop 187 as “a measure that denied rights to Latinos,” so maybe facts are passe and Lalo is riding the trend.