Sen. Ted Stevens declared his innocence Tuesday after his indictment on charges that he concealed hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gifts and services from a company in his home state.
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In the 28-page indictment, Stevens was charged with seven counts of making false statements on his Senate financial disclosure forms.
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The 84-year-old senator is a former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and is renowned for his prowess in steering federal funds to his vast, sparsely populated state.
Stevens is the oldest Republican senator and second in age only to Sen. Robert Byrd, the 90-year-old Democrat from West Virginia.
He has represented Alaska in Washington since 1968 and is up for re-election in November. He is the longest-serving Republican senator in history.
I Vow To Vote No on Prop 8, a statewide ballot initiative that is intending to amend the California constitution to ban marriage for gay and lesbian couples. Gay and lesbian couples deserve the same fundamental freedoms that all Californians enjoy. I hereby Vow To Vote No on any constitutional amendment that stands in the way of equality for all.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama says “mental distress” should not qualify as a justification for late-term abortions, a key distinction not embraced by many supporters of abortion rights.
In an interview this week with “Relevant,” a Christian magazine, Obama said prohibitions on late-term abortions must contain “a strict, well defined exception for the health of the mother.”
Obama then added: “Now, I don’t think that ‘mental distress’ qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term.”
So much for mental health parity.
h/t Melissa McEwan.
Reporter: You said that mental distress shouldn’t be a reason for late-term abortion?
Obama: “My only point is this — historically I have been a strong believer in a women’s right to choose with her doctor, her pastor and her family. And it is…I have consistently been saying that you have to have a health exception on many significant restrictions or bans on abortions including late-term abortions.
In the past there has been some fear on the part of people who, not only people who are anti-abortion, but people who may be in the middle, that that means that if a woman just doesn’t feel good then that is an exception. That’s never been the case.
I don’t think that is how it has been interpreted. My only point is that in an area like partial-birth abortion having a mental, having a health exception can be defined rigorously. It can be defined through physical health, It can be defined by serious clinical mental-health diseases. It is not just a matter of feeling blue. I don’t think that’s how pro-choice folks have interpreted it. I don’t think that’s how the courts have interpreted it and I think that’s important to emphasize and understand.
Update (July 3): Barack Obama replies:
I want to take this opportunity to speak directly to those of you who oppose my decision to support the FISA compromise.
This was not an easy call for me. I know that the FISA bill that passed the House is far from perfect. I wouldn’t have drafted the legislation like this, and it does not resolve all of the concerns that we have about President Bush’s abuse of executive power. It grants retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that may have violated the law by cooperating with the Bush Administration’s program of warrantless wiretapping. This potentially weakens the deterrent effect of the law and removes an important tool for the American people to demand accountability for past abuses. That’s why I support striking Title II from the bill, and will work with Chris Dodd, Jeff Bingaman and others in an effort to remove this provision in the Senate. Read the rest of this entry »
WASHINGTON — The presidential campaigns of Senators Barack Obama and John McCain on Sunday rejected an invitation for a town-hall-style meeting in Manhattan that had been proposed by ABC News and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York.
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Bill Burton, a spokesman for the Obama campaign said, “Both campaigns have indicated that any additional appearances will be open to all networks for broadcast on TV or Internet like the presidential commission debates rather than sponsored by a single network or news organization.”
Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, echoed that sentiment, saying, “Both campaigns agree the town hall meetings will be open to press but not sponsored or moderated by the press.
Chicago Tribune (The Swamp):
Barack Obama can take some solace out of Hillary Clinton’s new television ad in Pennsylvania. At least one of her supporters featured in the spot hammering Obama for his small town comments isn’t registered to vote in Pennsylvania.
Clyde Thomas, who sports a goatee in the ad and says, “the good people of Pennsylvania deserve a lot better than what Barack Obama said,” is actually registered in New Jersey. He voted there for Clinton Feb. 5. He only recently moved to Bethlehem, Pa.
Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY) on Obama: “I’m going to tell you something: That boy’s finger does not need to be on the button. He could not make a decision in that simulation that related to a nuclear threat to this country.”
Chris Bowers @ OpenLeft:
Ever since the Blue Majority page was launched nearly one year ago, we at Blue Majority knew that we would add the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee to the page. In my opinion, Barack Obama has now emerged as the presumptive nominee. With a pledged delegate lead of 162, a popular vote lead of more than 800,000, barring a spectacular collapse and / or a highly unlikely thwarting of the popular vote, Barack Obama will become the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. When he reaches 2,024 delegates, which at this point requires only 42.7% of the remaining delegates to be decided, he will control both the credentials committee and the majority of the non-disputed delegates at the floor of the convention. At that point, the only way that Barack Obama loses the nomination is if he decides that Hillary Clinton should be the nominee instead. In other words, Barack Obama has become the presumptive Democratic nominee, and it is time to start supporting him.
Importantly, my rationale for endorsing Barack Obama goes beyond his status as the overwhelming favorite to win the nomination. As a progressive, there are two key ideological markers that I believe make Barack Obama a better choice than Hillary Clinton: the Iraq war and the DLC. First, Barack Obama opposed the invasion of Iraq from the start, and rejected the neoconservative principle of pre-emptive warfare as one of his main reasons for opposing the war. Being able to identify the invasion of Iraq as a colossal mistake makes Barack Obama far more qualified to lead our country than candidates who both were, and still are, unable to recognize why the war was such a bad idea. Comparing Obama’s and Clinton’s statements on the death of 4,000 American soldiers in Iraq, it seems clear that Hillary Clinton still believes in the neoconservative vision for Iraq, while Barack Obama does not. The second ideological marker is the Democratic Leadership Council, an organization formed to push the Democratic Party and the national political debate to the right on a variety of issues. While Hillary Clinton is a member of the DLC’s leadership, Barack Obama has repeated refuses to be associated with the group.
If this is not to be rejected and denounced, the Republicans can have the Clintons.
“The Republican approach I think has played itself out. I think it’s fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time over the last 10 or 15 years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom. Now, you’ve heard it all before. You look at the economic policies, when they’re being debated among the presidential candidates, it’s all tax cuts. Well, we’ve done that, we’ve tried it.”
“I have to say, you know, my leading opponent the other day said that he thought the Republicans had better ideas than Democrats the last ten to fifteen years. That’s not the way I remember the last ten to fifteen years.”
“Her principal opponent said that since 1992, the Republicans have had all the good ideas. I’m not making this up, folks.”
Just a note. I withdraw all endorsements. Figure it out.
California Cannabis Hemp & Health Initiative 2008
AN ACT TO AMEND THE HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE OF CALIFORNIA:
I. Add Section 11362.6 to the Health and Safety Code of California, any laws or policies to the contrary notwithstanding:
1. No person, individual, or corporate entity shall be arrested or prosecuted, be denied any right or privilege, nor be subject to any criminal or civil penalties for the possession, cultivation, transportation, distribution, or consumption of cannabis hemp marijuana, including:
(a) Cannabis hemp industrial products.
(b) Cannabis hemp medicinal preparations.
(c) Cannabis hemp nutritional products.
(d) Cannabis hemp religious and spiritual products.
(e) Cannabis hemp recreational and euphoric use and products.
2. Definition of terms:
(a) The terms “cannabis hemp” and “cannabis hemp marijuana” mean the natural, non-genetically modified plant hemp, cannabis, marihuana, marijuana, cannabis sativa L, cannabis Americana, cannabis chinensis, cannabis indica, cannabis ruderalis, cannabis sativa, or any variety of cannabis, including any derivative, concentrate, extract, flower, leaf, particle, preparation, resin, root, salt, seed, stalk, stem, or any product thereof.
(b) The term “cannabis hemp industrial products” means all products made from cannabis hemp that are not designed or intended for human consumption, including, but not limited to: clothing, building materials, paper, fiber, fuel, lubricants, plastics, paint, seed for cultivation, animal feed, veterinary medicine, oil, or any other product that is not designed for internal human consumption; as well as cannabis hemp plants used for crop rotation, erosion control, pest control, weed control, or any other horticultural or environmental purposes, for example, the reversal of the Greenhouse Effect and toxic soil reclamation.
(c) The term “cannabis hemp medicinal preparations” means all products made from cannabis hemp that are designed, intended, or used for human consumption for the treatment of any human disease or condition, for pain relief, or for any healing purpose, including but not limited to the treatment or relief of: Alzheimer’s and pre-Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, arthritis, asthma, cramps, epilepsy, glaucoma, migraine, multiple sclerosis, nausea, premenstrual syndrome, side effects of cancer chemotherapy, fibromyalgia, sickle cell anemia, spasticity, spinal injury, stress, easement of post-traumatic stress disorder, Tourette syndrome, attention deficit disorder, immunodeficiency, wasting syndrome from AIDS or anorexia; use as an antibiotic, antibacterial, anti-viral, or anti-emetic; as a healing agent, or as an adjunct to any medical or herbal treatment. Mental conditions not limited to bipolar, depression, attention deficit disorder, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, shall be conditions considered for medical use.
(d) The term “cannabis hemp nutritional products” means cannabis hemp for consumption by humans and animals as food, including but not limited to: seed, seed protein, seed oil, essential fatty acids, seed cake, dietary fiber, or any preparation or extract thereof.
(e) The term “cannabis hemp euphoric products” means cannabis hemp intended for personal recreational or religious use, other than cannabis hemp industrial products, cannabis hemp medicinal preparations, or cannabis hemp nutritional products.
(f) The term “personal use” means the internal consumption of cannabis hemp by people 21 years of age or older for any relaxational, meditative, religious, spiritual, recreational, or other purpose other than sale.
(g) The term “commercial production” means the production of cannabis hemp products for sale or profit under the conditions of these provisions.
3. Industrial cannabis hemp farmers, manufacturers, processors, and distributors shall not be subject to any special zoning requirement, licensing fee, or tax that is excessive, discriminatory, or prohibitive.
4. Cannabis hemp medicinal preparations are hereby restored to the list of available medicines in California. Licensed physicians shall not be penalized for, nor restricted from, prescribing or recommending cannabis hemp for medical purposes to any patient, regardless of age. No tax shall be applied to prescribed cannabis hemp medicinal preparations. Medical research shall be encouraged. No recommending physician shall be subject to any professional licensing review or hearing as a result of recommending or approving medical use of cannabis hemp marijuana.
5. Personal use of cannabis hemp euphoric products.
(a) No permit, license, or tax shall be required for the non-commercial cultivation, transportation, distribution, or consumption of cannabis hemp.
(b) Testing for inactive and/or inert residual cannabis metabolites shall not be required for employment or insurance, nor be considered in determining employment, other impairment, or intoxication.
(c) When a person falls within the conditions of these exceptions, the offense laws do not apply and only the exception laws apply.
6. Use of cannabis hemp products for religious or spiritual purposes shall be considered an inalienable right; and shall be protected by the full force of the State and Federal Constitutions.
7. Commerce in cannabis hemp euphoric products shall be limited to adults, 21 years of age and older, and shall be regulated in a manner analogous to California’s wine industry model. For the purpose of distinguishing personal from commercial production, 99 flowering female plants and 12 pounds of dried, cured cannabis hemp flowers, bud, not leaf, produced per adult, 21 years of age and older, per year shall be considered as being for personal use.
8. The manufacture, marketing, distribution, or sales between adults of equipment or accessories designed to assist in the planting, cultivation, harvesting, curing, processing, packaging, storage, analysis, consumption, or transportation of cannabis hemp plants, industrial cannabis hemp products, cannabis hemp medicinal preparations, cannabis hemp nutritional products, cannabis hemp euphoric products, or any cannabis hemp product shall not be prohibited.
9. No California law enforcement personnel or funds shall be used to assist or aid and abet in the enforcement of Federal cannabis hemp marijuana laws involving acts which are hereby no longer illegal in the State of California.
10. Any person who threatens the enjoyment of these provisions is guilty of a misdemeanor. The maximum penalties and fines of a misdemeanor may be imposed.
II. Repeal, delete, and expunge any and all existing statutory laws that conflict with the provisions of this initiative.
1. Enactment of this initiative shall include: amnesty, immediate release from prison, jail, parole, and probation, and clearing, expungement, and deletion of all criminal records for all persons currently charged with, or convicted of any non-violent cannabis hemp marijuana offenses included in this initiative which are hereby no longer illegal in the State of California. People who fall within this category that triggered an original sentence are included within this provision.
2. Within 60 days of the passage of this Act, the Attorney General shall develop and distribute a one-page application, providing for the destruction of all cannabis hemp marijuana criminal records in California for any such offense covered by this Act. Such forms shall be distributed to district and city attorneys and made available at all police departments in the State to persons hereby affected. Upon filing such form with any Superior Court and a payment of a fee of $10.00, the Court shall liberally construe these provisions to benefit the defendant in furtherance of the amnesty and dismissal provision of this section. Upon the Court’s ruling under this provision the arrest record shall be set aside and be destroyed. Such persons may then truthfully state that they have never been arrested or convicted of any cannabis hemp marijuana related offense which is hereby no longer illegal in the State of California. This shall be deemed to be a finding of factual innocence under California Penal Code Section 851.8 et seq.
III. The legislature is authorized upon thorough investigation, to enact legislation using reasonable standards to:
1. License concessionary establishments to distribute cannabis hemp euphoric products in a manner analogous to California’s wine industry model. Sufficient community outlets shall be licensed to provide reasonable commercial access to persons of legal age, so as to discourage and prevent the misuse of, and illicit traffic in, such products. Any license or permit fee required by the State for commercial production, distribution or use shall not exceed $1,000.00.
2. Place an excise tax on commercial sale of cannabis hemp euphoric products, analogous to California’s wine industry model, so long as no excise tax or combination of excise taxes shall exceed $10.00 per ounce.
3. Determine an acceptable and uniform standard of impairment based on performance testing, to restrict persons impaired by cannabis hemp euphoric products from operating a motor vehicle or heavy machinery, or otherwise engaging in conduct that may affect public safety.
4. Regulate the personal use of cannabis hemp euphoric products in enclosed and/or restricted public places.
IV. Pursuant to the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, the people of California hereby repudiate and challenge Federal cannabis hemp marijuana prohibitions that conflict with this Act.
V. Severability: If any provision of this Act, or the application of any such provision to any person or circumstance, shall be held invalid by any court, the remainder of this Act, to the extent it can be given effect, or the application of such provisions to persons or circumstances other than those as to which it is held invalid, shall not be affected thereby, and to this end the provisions of this Act are severable.
VI. Construction: If any rival or conflicting initiative regulating any matter addressed by this act receives the higher affirmative vote, then all non-conflicting parts shall become operative.
VII. Purpose of Act: This Act is an exercise of the police powers of the State for the protection of the safety, welfare, health, and peace of the people and the environment of the State, to protect the industrial and medicinal uses of cannabis hemp, to eliminate the unlicensed and unlawful cultivation, selling, and dispensing of cannabis hemp; and to encourage temperance in the consumption of cannabis hemp euphoric products. It is hereby declared that the subject matter of this Act involves, in the highest degree, the ecological, economic, social, and moral well-being and safety of the State and of all its people. All provisions of this Act shall be liberally construed for the accomplishment of these purposes: to respect human rights, to promote tolerance, and to end cannabis hemp prohibition.
George Clayton Johnson
Ronnie Lee Smith
Michael S. Jolson
Seeva Marie Cherms
Do you think Judith gets jealous of September 11?
In 1982, in an essay entitled “The Spawn of Annenberg, Part 1”, Harlan Ellison wrote about his visit to San Quentin and the chilling experience of listening to the convicted murderer of a 5-year-old child explain why he couldn’t have done what he obviously had done.
The convict had stomped the boy to death, but explained that he could not have done it because he wears sneakers.
And sneakers are soft.