Could you apply to become a DEA agent? Nearly one in two wouldn’t even pass the admissions process, unless your youthful experiments with marijuana were deemed limited and experimental by the DEA. Over one in ten Americans who have or will consume cocaine would be better advised to not even bother. As Congress and the Controlled Substances Act face off against local State laws that allow medical marijuana use, we are faced with a medical, a law enforcement, and a public policy conflict. It used to be, and still is for some, a moral conflict as well, but this view is far less prevalent as measured by recent polls. Nearly half even favor decriminalizing recreational use of cannibis. Within the libertarian community there is support for the relaxing of restraints on this type of drug use, both for fiscal reasons, (the costly war on drugs), and under the banner of individual freedom as well.

Is the right of any individual, according to this view, to put what they wish into their bodies unconditional? Clearly not; even leaving aside the problem of minors consuming drugs, and not just cannabis, we place limits on drug use as a matter of social norms. Try coming to work at an air traffic control center high on crack, even in the insane case that it were legal. It may have happened, but one hopes any such event resulted in immediate dismisal. Try coming to any job high on any drug or drunk. Try consuming alcohol openly if you are pregnant. Beyond the debate over legality, society places conditions on drug and alchohol use as a natural reaction to the powerful effect they produce on those who consume them. Your landlord might evict you if you consume or grow marijana, for example. This is relevant to the battle between those states that have decriminalized cannabis use for medical purposes, (for now), and Congress and Federal law enforcement authorities. In a paper available at the Cato Institute’s site, Professor Robert Mikos of Vanderbilt University outlines in detail a legal way forward for liberalizing states. It deals with the anti-commandeering limitation on federal supremacy over state laws when the two are in conflict. By linking private, medical use of marijuana to possible, even likely, use of cannabis originally for medical use in interstate commerce — in other words for drug trafficking — the Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Raich deemed that medical marijuana use was “hopelessly intertwined” in the professor’s words with drug trafficking. This would seem to mean that the Controlled Substances Act preempts state attempts to decriminalize cannabis.

Not so fast says Professor Mikos. He introduces, or reminds us of, the anticommandeering constraint on the ability of Congress to preempt state laws. “Congress may neither dislodge states from nor keep states out of the state of nature” according to the professor. The state of nature defined as those private and societal forces which shape behavior and where “government has no distinct influence on behavior.” And guess what? In the state of nature, marijuana use would be “rampant.” In other words, Congress or Federal law officials are guilty of unconstitutionally overturning or disregarding state laws allowing for the decriminalization of cannabis, according to this view. If at some point in the future, the Supreme Court rules according to the principles outlined by Professor Mikos, it may mean that as a landlord you may have to tolerate a grow op in your building. And we may have another enormous medical problem that will saddle society with costs similar, if not quite as deep or widespread, to those that tobacco and alchohol cause. And maybe at that point, society will deem cannabis, whose smoke may contain over 50 carcinogens, almost as evil as say, tobacco.

Of the entire Bush clan, I admit Jeb Bush has never been my favorite. George H. W. Bush should have been a two-termer. World War II hero, ambassador, director of the CIA (my personal favorite) and eight years under the tutelage of Reagan. George W. Bush was a decent, hard-working man who fell victim to bad circumstances and never earned the loathing liberals love to heap upon him. Jeb Bush, though, eh… I would vote for him, but with a little caution. And his recent comments on immigration in a Fox News interview are exactly why.

During the interview at his brother’s presidential library, Fox News correspondent Shannon Bream asked about Bush’s policy toward immigration. His statement was a watery appeal to please immigrant voters, no doubt. “Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love. It’s an act of commitment to your family,” the former Florida governor said. Obviously, he wasn’t talking to the interviewer. He was speaking to potential voters.

Running for president does mean compromise. That’s understandable. The smartest summary I ever heard of a presidential bid was Get half the vote. Plus a little more. To gather that nationwide support, you need to compromise a little. But Jeb Bush’s comments are such a bleeding heart appeal to immigrant voters that it sounds like a pamphlet from Ralph Nader, not someone of Bush blood. Compromise legislation is one thing, but compromising beliefs is another.

If he runs, he plans on racing spreading a “hopeful, optimistic message.” Nothing wrong with a little optimism, but our incumbent president ran under the same philosophy and while the entire country waited for change, the change never happened, at least not for the better. For the last six years the Republican party has done little more than spin its tires in Congress, and it’s time for less optimism and more realism. George H. W. Bush took a realistic approach to Iraq, and his son took the same approach to terrorist threats and both made the world safer, albeit with a little controversy.

If he’s looking for blind optimism and wishful thinking, then maybe Jeb needs to switch political parties.

Former CEO of Mozilla Brenden Eich became the next man to burn as a result of his conservative views, and the LGBT communities could not be happier. In 2008, Eich donated $1,000 to support Proposition 8, the California law that would prohibit same-sex marriage in the state. In 2014, Eich was fired for it.

This is not about same-sex marriage or Proposition 8. This is not even about his politics. It is about a brainwashed atmosphere in media that believes having a different opinion is not just unpopular, it’s criminal. That certainly how they treated Eich. Not only was he the CEO of Mozilla, but he co-founded the company (a company that, by the way, designs and builds excellent software for free).

It seems media only tolerates public figures that are either ultra-liberal or silently apolitical. Anyone that discusses their political opinions that lean even slightly to the right gets lambasted. Consider the fates of Mel Gibson or Jim Caviezel. The only Republicans Hollywood will allow are passive ones. Now the progress of portable technology is making the Silicon Valley into the next Hollywood.

For a group that touts Freedom of Speech at any cost, even at the cost of national security, the liberals use of dirty means like a threatened boycott is about as undemocratic as you can get. It’s double-speak in the best Orwellian sense: think whatever you want, as long as it’s what liberals think. It’s not a matter of what’s right and wrong. It’s about having the freedom to have a public opinion.

What kind of political dialog can there be when anyone with a differing opinion in this way? What would the Founding Fathers think? That last piece of rhetoric spices speeches on both sides of the fence, but it’s only rhetoric. We will never know. It was a different world in 1776.

But we can be sure they wouldn’t want a political atmosphere so intolerant of political dynamics that public figures can only argue over inches or become pariahs. In fact, I think they have names for such countries.
They call them dictatorships.

Do you find yourself saying ‘Happy Holidays’ to people or perfect strangers because you don’t want to offend or upset them if they don’t celebrate Christmas? I decided a while ago, this was a minor detail that I would not worry about.

For this exact reason: I don’t care if someone says “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah,” “Happy Holidays,” or “Joyous Kwanza,” etc. because I decided that I’d just be thankful that someone had something kind or nice to say to me in the holiday season. It’s something to think about.

If someone says, “Merry Christmas,” but you are not Christian, the polite thing to do is wish that person a “Merry Christmas,” because clearly they do. Returning the message only spreads a kind word to another human.

While traveling for the holiday, I said, “Merry Christmas!” to everyone including the airport shuttle driver, ticket agent, flight attendant, pilot, etc. as an experiment. Every single one of them said it back to me.

Imagine New York City, a melting pot of cultures, religions, etc. without the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center as to not offend anyone in the city.

Thoughts on this?

But…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

:)

102 Minutes

By

Filed Under Open Thread on Sep 11 

I’ve spent the past few days trying to put together a fitting tribute on this anniversary of September 11th. After much thought I came to the conclusion that I could only write something from my perspective on that day as mine is the only perspective of which I have first hand knowledge. You’ll find this post below the fold.

In the mean time, if you do nothing else today, take a look at this video…and remember.

It was a normal Tuesday morning on September 11, 2001. For me the day began much like most days did – finding me waging the battle of the bulge on a Nordic Track in the garage of my Los Angeles home. At 0530, I began my workout on that dreaded torture device with Blogfather Hugh’s morning radio show murmurings in the background.

Shortly after 0546 I heard Blogfather Hugh deviate from his normal morning routine as he began to make mention of a “tragedy in New York City”. He mentioned something about the World Trade Center having been evidently struck by a plane. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t pay much attention – it was after all well before sunrise and I wasn’t really awake yet. I finished my workout and wandered into the living room and turned on MSNBC a few minutes before 0600.

My verbal reaction to the image on the screen (something having to do with sanctified natural fertilizer) woke the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro who then came in to find out what the ruckus was about.

She rounded the hallway corner into the living room just seconds after 0603 – the moment in which United Flight 175, piloted by Marwan al-Shehhi, tilted its wings and impacted between floors 77 and 85 of the World Trade Center’s South Tower.

We sat there and watched in stunned silence for what seemed like an eternity. 34 minutes later, as NBC’s Jim Miklashevski reported live at the Pentagon, his entire desk shook as the building absorbed American Airlines Flight 77 as it the westernmost wall.

In the midst of all this I managed to ready myself to head for my office near LAX. As I was heading for the door at just before 0700, the unthinkable happened. There was a loud rumble, audible even to the cameras in the distance, and the South Tower collapsed upon itself like a folding telescope. Lower Manhattan disappeared in a huge cloud of smoke, dust, and pulverized debris.

America was in a state of shock. New York City was in a state of panic. Unbeknownst to all but a few, two minutes earlier the passengers aboard United Flight 93 had decided to take action. Their own plane had been hijacked by the same band of Islamofacist Murdering Thugs responsible for the other hijacked airplanes.

Thirty-seven passengers and five crew members were herded into the aft section of the Boeing 757-200. The intentions of their hijackers soon became clear. Some passengers had made phone calls to friends and loved ones who informed them about the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon. They looked at each other. They took a vote. They decided to rush the cockpit and attempt to reclaim the aircraft.

It is said that America’s strength is neither in her military nor in her treasure. America’s strength is in her citizens. Forty-two Americans, most of whom had not known each other prior to that morning, banded together and started to push the drink cart down the aisle to do battle with their captors. The final words anyone heard from these brave souls were those of Todd Beamer:

Are you guys ready? Okay. Let’s roll!

Six minutes later, United Flight 93 crashed nose first at 563 miles per hour into a reclaimed coal mine in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Thus began America’s counterattack in the War on Terror.

Having stopped for breakfast on my way to the office, I saw the North WTC Tower collapse upon itself at 0728. Though nobody knew it, at that moment the attack was over. When all the dust had settled and the smoke had cleared, some 2,996 men, women, and children perished on that Tuesday morning in September.

From the time the American Airlines Flight 11 impacted the North Tower to the time that same tower collapsed down upon itself, a total of 102 minutes elapsed. Those 102 minutes would forever change America. For weeks after that day, Los Angeles radio station KFI ran a haunting one sentence reminder at various intervals during the day. On either side of the voiceover was about five seconds of dead air – just enough to get your attention. Then a voice stated:

It could have just as easily happened here.

Los Angeles is a geographical continent and cultural world away from New York and DC. Distance and culture notwithstanding, LA ground to a halt just like most metro areas. Businesses and schools shut down and parents like me were left wondering just exactly how to explain the events of that morning to our children.

My son Corderinho, then a three-year-old bundle of curiosity, was very concerned. You see at that time I traveled often for business and he would accompany the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro when she either dropped me off or picked me up at LAX. When I told Corderinho that some “bad men” had crashed the planes into those big building, he looked at me with the quivering lip unique to three-year-olds and asked:

Daddy, are there bad men on your planes?

No three-year-old should have to ask that question.

A few years ago while visiting New York City, I made a pilgrimage to Ground Zero. As I stood looking out over the 20 acre hole in the ground, I was approached by a Boston PBS station reporter who put a microphone in my face and asked me how I “felt”. My answer surprised the reporter:

I am still angry.

There were no follow up questions and I’m sure the interview got tossed in the corner of the cutting room floor.

I leave you today with a performance by Billy Joel at the Concert for New York City – an event held a few weeks after September 11. He wrote this song some thirty years ago as a science fiction song, but the lyrics are very prescient.

Count me among the handful.

Thursday Open Thread

By

Filed Under Open Thread on Jun 6 

In the most recent weeks, these sobering investigations remind me how disappointed I was when the votes were counted on Election Day. My conscience is clear because I never voted for the guy. However, I do share a society with the 51% of voters who did vote for this useless, manipulative, dishonest creep.

Years ago, I got it. It was a popularity contest. He’s undeniably a charismatic speaker, much like his democratic predecessor, Bill Clinton, and people believed what he had to say. Now I wonder how that 51% feels.

On the down side, it only just started. It’s disheartening to be in this great nation, and hear and see such dishonest revelations from our government, and this is likely just scratching the surface. Alas, it’s Obama’s last term, yet it has only just begun.

Political correctness is running amuck in our current world and in our current administration. The idea that we cannot call something exactly what is for fear of offending others is becoming an ever growing problem. From illegal immigrant to radical Islam, the current administration is becoming the poster child of avoiding the issue in order to save face or not offend. Well, maybe a little offense is a good thing.

President Obama, much to many a Republican and conservative surprise (or not…) avoided connecting the dots between radical Islamists and the heinous act in London that left one British soldier disgustingly murdered in the street. The perpetrators were heard, in their own words, speaking about jihad and radical actions based upon their Islamic beliefs. But, we cannot say that they are radical members of a particular religion so as not to offend those who may practice peacefully. Crazy? A little.

The fact cannot be ignored that we ARE at war with a radical sect of Islam. The Boston Bombers, 9/11 hijackers, the underwear bomber, Fort Hood Shooters, and the most recent London attackers have been radicalized and believe they are on a religious war. In many of their own words, it is clear that they are fighting in the name of religion so why not take their actions as such? Who are we worried about offending with the truth? Maybe if we called it what it is it would make no difference except to show them that we will not bow to their type of beliefs that harm our citizens and our world.

Yes, there are radicals in every group. As a person who is white, I am not offended by the term “white supremacist” as an affront to my racial background. They are a particular group of people that I am aware exist, wish desperately that they did not believe in what they profess, and believe this world would be better without. But, am I offended when the term is used? No, because there is a clear delineation between myself and them: we do not share the same beliefs! The term radical Islamists is not the same as the “n” word. It is not a slur but a statement of fact. Radical Islamists exist, they hate us, and running from the term only confuses the issue and paints a rosy picture on a group that deserves no such thing. Sometimes there is an “us against them”, and the western world needs to recognize that avoiding calling it what it is will not change it.

Do you think that the term Radical Islam is offensive such as a slur would be? Do you think the Obama Administration is right in avoiding the use of the words Radical Islam for fear of offense? Or does it matter at all.

2016 Power Rankings

By

Filed Under Open Thread on Nov 8 

Yes, you read that right. Our first edition of the 2016 rankings are coming soon. Who would you include on both sides of the aisle?

We were up until the wee hours of the morning until the Iowa Caucus was decided back in January, or at least until everyone believed it had been decided. Join us tonight until the election is called. Hopefully it isn’t called one way, then the other, then back the original way again, then subject to a recount followed by a Supreme Court challenge.

The first polls will close on the east coast within the hour. For Mitt Romney to win the Presidency, he must carry Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, and one of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, or Wisconsin with one of the smaller swing states. Otherwise, President Obama will have his second term.

So here we sit, the afternoon before polls open and the answer is still very much in question.

Both candidates are conducting last minute campaign blitzkriegs, seeking to sway the precious few Americans that are planning to vote, but that have not yet made up their mind.

There are grand predictions of landslides for both sides, which look silly. No, more than likely, this is election is going to be more like 2000 or 2004, rather than 2008.

The national polls remain virtually tied, but they realistically mean nothing, as Al Gore will tell you after winning the 2000 popular vote, but losing the White House to George W. Bush. The swing states are where this election will be decided. The RCP state polling aggregate lists 11 states as “toss up”, and President Obama has leads in nine of them. The Romney states are North Carolina and Florida, while Obama holds the lead by three points or more in Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Closer are Ohio, Nevada and New Hampshire. Even closer are Colorado and Virginia.

So let’s have some electoral college fun!

Read more

Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone in the Northeast U.S. had an uneventful visit from Hurricane Sandy. The Kaiser house lost power for a couple of days, but all is up and running now.

The campaign, after taking a brief pause for the storm, resumes in earnest today, less than a week before the nation goes to the polls. The polls continue to show a close race, with most giving Mitt Romney a slim lead nationally, but Barack Obama seemingly with an edge where it counts, the electoral college.

The focus continues to be on the battleground states, places like Pennsylvania and Iowa.

Do you see a path to the Oval Office for Romney, and if so, what swing states will he capture?

Pollster Scott Rasmussen believe “Wisconsin may be the new Ohio“.

A quiet prayer delivered by Mitt Romney had a significant impact on a Washington insider.

Peggy Noonan writes: “America doesn’t date losers”.

Unable to make any comprehensible argument whatsoever on the economy or actual plans to improve it, Politico reports that Democrats are going all in on abortion. More evidence of this is today’s quarter 3 economic growth report showing a stagnant annualized rate of 2%, in other words a three month growth rate of 0.5% and a Q1-Q3 annualized rate of only 1.77%. This pales in comparison to the President’s projection in 2009 based on his policies. At that time Obama told Americans that his actions would result in GDP growth of 4.6% in 2012.

Even CNN is now questioning whether President Obama has an actual, feasible plan for a second term. Video after the jump.
Read more

Races can often be looked at in retrospect at certain dates when things began to change. In 2008, the homestretch according to polling began September 18, 2008 as Barack Obama led John McCain by only 1.9%. Then Obama only pulled away from there. In comparison, on September 18, 2012, Barack Obama led Mitt Romney by 2.8%, eventually reaching a high of 4.1% on September 30. Since then everything has changed. On today’s date in 2008, Obama’s lead had grown to a completely unbeatable 8%. Today, incumbent Obama trails Mitt Romney by 0.7%, who seems to have turned the corner on October 9, leading the RCP average all but three days since. Romney has also led the daily Gallup tracking poll every single day since October 11. Additionally, despite losing 8 points of his advantage among male voters, Romney has completely erased a 16 point deficit among female voters.

In light of the recent debate on foreign policy, the Washington Post reports:

The government expects to continue adding names to kill or capture lists for years.

Among senior Obama administration officials, there is a broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade. Given the way al-Qaeda continues to metastasize, some officials said no clear end is in sight.

“We can’t possibly kill everyone who wants to harm us,” a senior administration official said. “It’s a necessary part of what we do. . . . We’re not going to wind up in 10 years in a world of everybody holding hands and saying, ‘We love America.’ ”

Tonight marks the final Presidential Debate. The live conversation starts here on Political Derby at 9:00 pm ET.

Foreign policy is the theme, which leads to several questions:

  • How many times will President Obama tout: “Bin Laden is dead”?
  • Will Governor Romney be successful in moving the conversation to the terrorist attack on American soil in Libya?
  • Are there any major differences between the candidates, or will they end up agreeing with each other most of the night?
  • Will both candidates continue to show a lack of understanding of the benefits of trade by continually pounding China for making American lives better through the production of lower cost goods?

Finally, a contest. Jason Wright will send a signed copy of his newest book, The 13th Day of Christmas to whomever can the most accurately predict which candidate is allowed more speaking time and by how much (to the nearest second). Entries must be posted in the comments prior to 8:55 pm ET. If someone has already posted a prediction and you duplicate it, your entry will be invalid.

With less than three week to go until the election, President Obama and Governor Romney find themselves in a dead heat across national polls. The only major poll where the lead is not within the margin of error is the daily Gallup tracking poll, where Romney is up 6 points (margin of error of +/-3). Regarding this poll, Karl Rove says: “No candidate who has led in mid-October with 50 percent or more in the likely voter poll has ever gone on to lose.” Romney must have as bright an outlook, especially as traditional Republicans are typically more likely to vote. In 2008 there was a significant exception as with historically high Democrat turnout drove Obama’s decisive win. Most analysts do not expect this to be repeated.

The missing California jobless claims not reported last week, leading to the supposedly lowest week during Obama’s presidency, have been reported this week, given the US its highest weekly number of new jobless claims-388,000-in four months.

Governments in the US spent $1.03 trillion on welfare in 2011. This “data excludes spending on Social Security, Medicare, means-tested health care for veterans without service-connected disabilities, and the means-tested veterans pension program” and is divided between $746 billion spent by the federal government and $283 billion spent by state governments.

Finally, in Cuba some private property ownership is now being allowed, mostly for apartments. There is a significant division in the value of apartments built since 1959 and those built in the 1940s and 1950s. The older apartments have a significantly higher value in the free market as they are typically marketed as ‘capitalist construction’.

Debate two is in the books, and while the result is no where near as convincing as Romney’s drubbing of the President in the first debate, it is clear that Barack Obama had a much better performance this time, while Mitt Romney took a small step or two back. Overall, last night’s debate was a slug fest, with both sides vacillating between attack and defense.

Obama was clearly more focused, energized and prepared for this match, and he managed a few zingers on his opponent. Romney missed out on some chances to hit Obama, especially early on. He did score some points on Benghazi, but committed a bit of a gaffe with his “binders of women” statement. Both battled, sometimes bitterly, over oil production on federal lands, over auto company bailouts, and over Romney’s wealth. Regardless of the topic, it has become very apparent that these two do not like each other, and some of the descriptions characterized the debate as “nauseating” and as the “most rancorous Presidential debate ever.”

Polls are giving Obama a slim victory, and while both candidates swung hard, no significant blows were landed.

Joe “The Gaffe Machine” Biden faces off against Paul “MiniMitt” Romney. The festivities begin at 9:00 pm eastern daylight time. (Yes, we are still on daylight time unlike the rest of the world. Not fun when you’re in international business.)

Tonight’s moderator is the wife of Julius Genachowski, whom President Obama appointed to lead the FCC. Her name Martha Raddatz. Obama also attended their wedding in 1991.

If you have a television, every major network will be carrying the debate. If you don’t, it will also be broadcast on YouTube.

Tonight is the country’s one and only opportunity to see Joe Biden and Paul Ryan debate head to head. CBS News says not to expect it to have much of an impact the election. However, after Mitt Romney’s dominating performance in front of 70 million viewers has led to Romney leading five of the last seven  major polls (tied and down one in the other two), it seems Americans are quite interested in the candidates’ real time responses to their opponent’s positions and accusations.

Of course, we will have a debate open thread up and going here on PoliticalDerby.com beginning about an hour before the fracas begins at 9:00 pm eastern.

Politico has ‘5 things to watch in VP debate‘ which include: ‘Can Biden draw blood?,”Can Ryan defend himself?,’ ‘Good Joe v. Bad Biden’.

The Supreme Court is once again hearing arguments from an American university, this time the University of Texas, regarding why the school believes the color of a person’s skin is a valid criteria to determine admission.

Finally, more evidence continues to show the global financial crisis is nowhere near solved as Standard & Poor’s has downgraded Spain’s debt rating to ‘one level above junk’. Of course, you could probably see this coming as Spain’s external debt to GDP ratio is 243%, similar to Greece at 232%. The US is just over 100% with its $16 trillion-plus debt and surprisingly the UK is over 500%.

It is VP Debate Eve and what a busy one indeed!

The U.S. State Department is spinning a much different tale than the one initially told, that the size and scope of the attack was unlike any seen in Libya, and that the attack did not start with a protest over a video, as the White House has insisted. The official report has now changed, and the House is set to investigate “inappropriate security” levels at the embassy.

Romney’s gains in the polls continue, with a number of battleground states trending in favor of the Republican nominee, and several states once though out of reach are now in play, including Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Jack Welch continues to rip the validity of the recent job numbers.

And finally, The Daily Caller is reporting that President Obama attended the wedding of tomorrow night’s VP debate, and later appointed her husband to head the FCC. Hmmm.