Asked about state efforts to legalize pot, Obama declared of the drug, “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.” Without fanfare, Obama had just flouted decades of anti-pot propaganda by the federal government. And he wasn’t done: Obama followed his Drug War apostasy by linking the prohibition of marijuana to the racist enforcement of the nation’s drug laws. “Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do,” the president said. “And African-American kids and Latino kids are . . . less likely to have the resources . . . to avoid unduly harsh penalties.”
The president and the attorney general are walking a tricky line. But what’s clear is that they are embracing drug reform as a legacy issue. To complete what they’ve set in motion, they must follow through with conviction. That means firing senior drug-control officials who publicly disagree with the new policies. It means cutting off funding for wasteful and counterproductive drug-enforcement programs. Above all, Obama and Holder will need to stay focused in the face of a prison-industrial complex and the vested bureaucratic interests that want nothing so much as to sustain the Drug War’s status quo.
Here, in any case, is a reality of the initial thirteen years of the twenty-first century: for the first time in at least a half a millennium, the imperial principle seems to be ebbing, and yet the only imperial power, increasingly incapable of organizing the world, isn’t going down.
If you survey our planet, the situation is remarkably unsettled and confusing. But at least two things stand out, and whatever you make of them, they could be the real news of the first decades of this century. Both are right before our eyes, yet largely unseen. First, the imperial principle and the great power competition to which it has been wedded are on the wane. Second and no less startling, war (global, intrastate, anti-insurgent), which convulsed the twentieth century, seems to be waning as well. What in the world does it all mean?
Large proportions of uninsured adults, particularly whites and middle-income adults, were more likely to have an unfavorable than a favorable opinion of the law. In addition, the uninsured most likely to benefit from the ACA (e.g., lower- and middle-income adults, including nonwhites and Hispanics) expressed only weak support for it and were more likely to have no opinion than to have a favorable view … Those most likely to have no opinion are the groups most likely to benefit from the law—those in fair/poor health, those with lower incomes, the uninsured, nonwhites and Hispanics, high school graduates (or less), and the young.
There is no Sleepy Hollow on the internet, no peaceful spot where contemplativeness can work its restorative magic. There is only the endless, mesmerizing buzz of the urban street. The stimulations of the web, like those of the city, can be invigorating and inspiring. We wouldn’t want to give them up. But they are, as well, exhausting and distracting. They can easily, as Hawthorne understood, overwhelm all quieter modes of thought. One of the greatest dangers we face as we automate the work of our minds, as we cede control over the flow of our thoughts and memories to a powerful electronic system, is the one that informs the fears of both the scientist Joseph Weizenbaum and the artist Richard Foreman: a slow erosion of our humanness and our humanity.
As a matter of public policy, the solution is obvious. There are few government interventions that can match the elegance of a higher minimum wage. It boosts the fortunes of the working poor and the economy at large, with minimal trade-offs. Raising the minimum wage does little or nothing to dampen job growth. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that an increase to $10.10 would trim payrolls by less than one-third of one percent, even as it lifts nearly 1 million Americans out of poverty.
Outside of Washington, D.C., raising the minimum wage is not a partisan issue. Supported by more than 70 percent of Americans, the policy achieves both liberal and conservative goals: It alleviates poverty even as it underscores the value of hard work. It reduces corporate welfare even as it lessens dependence on the social safety net. Today, taxpayers are shelling out nearly $250 billion a year on welfare programs for the working poor. Nearly 40 percent of food stamps are paid out to households with at least one wage earner.
And yet, the Republican Party is going all out to portray a mandatory pay hike as just more job-killing nanny-state overreach. “You’ve gotta totally wipe out this notion of fairness,” said Rush Limbaugh. “That’s not what a job is. It isn’t charity.”
Happy birthday to the Queen herself, the unforgettable Nina Simone.
Here she is performing “Feelings” at the 1976 Montreux Jazz Festival, for the pleasure and agony of your very soul
"I wish I’d never lived this long."
From The Daily Show, Jessica Williams looks at the Michael Dunn case and updates the Black History Month curriculum.
According to reports, the policyholder, who was equipped with limited resources of his own during the fight, immediately faced the punishing and grave challenge of successfully submitting claims for a preliminary consultation with an out-of-network oncologist. As a slew of taunts and jeers rained down from the hordes of health insurance professionals, sources said the increasingly weary combatant suffered a crushing blow upon receiving a $60,000 bill for one week of inpatient care that exceeded his plan’s hospitalization coverage limit.
A tense hush reportedly fell over the arena moments later when a CT scan showed the cancer on the brink of remission, though the stadium soon erupted into emphatic cheers when the patient was not approved for further sessions of targeted chemotherapy that were deemed “medically unnecessary.”