Can Someone Help James Dupree?
And Let’s Fix Eminent Domain
While We’re at It.


Would someone please help James Dupree already?

For weeks I’ve been following his story.  Hopefully you know it by now.  In case you don’t, he’s the artist who owns a building in West Philly and he’s being forced out, under the city’s “eminent domain” rules in order to make way for a grocery store.  Apparently, the neighborhood really needs a grocery store.  So much so that the city is compelled to make him an offer he can’t refuse:  Sell his property at a much-lower-than-market price or watch his building be bulldozed.  Nice.  Dupree is fighting the city.  He’s enlisted some major people in the art world to back him up too.

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As Promised, Welcome to Chris Christie Scandal No. 3

AP Photo | Julio Cortez

AP Photo | Julio Cortez

Don’t you hate when people say “I hate to say I told you so” — when you know at that moment there is nothing they relish more than saying those words? I am at that moment right now. I won’t lie. I love telling you I told you so. As promised in my post last week, the third in the continuing series of Chris Christie scandals is here.

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Don’t Clench Your Butt in Front of These Cops

police car

Photo |

I’ve spent nearly a decade investigating and reporting on the fallout from America’s inexpedient and misguided “War on Drugs.” I’ve talked to people who’ve spent years of their lives in jail for as little as a pound of pot, documented the plight of cancer patients denied adequate pain medication as a result of knee-jerk policies designed to curb abuse, and toured urban communities where as much as a third of the male population is incarcerated or on supervised release for drug-related offenses.

But none of that could have prepared me for what must certainly be the most heinous example of how our unmitigated assault on illegal substances has completely debased the principles of justice upon which our nation was founded.

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Chris Goldstein Is the Federal Government’s Next Marijuana Martyr

Chris Goldstein's August citation. Photo by Chris Goldstein.

Chris Goldstein’s August citation. Photo by Chris Goldstein.

Philly NORML co-chair Chris Goldstein very well may be going to jail in the new year, and, to him, it’s all over an act of expression falling under the First Amendment. That is, if you consider smoking a joint at the Liberty Bell freedom of speech.

“I’m being prosecuted for an expressive act — smoking a joint,” he says. “But it’s not simply about the act of smoking, so at that point it becomes a First Amendment issue. There are better places to get high than Independence National Park.”

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There Is No Reason for Anyone to Be Happy About How the Shutdown Ended

American Flag as a brick wall

Shutting down the shutdown and avoiding imminent default was not like Idris Elba in Pacific Rimcancel[ing] the apocalypse.” Democrats making victory laps on the heads of irritated Republicans seems a bit premature, don’t you think? Talking point-fueled elation notwithstanding, the average person looking on won’t understand cheery partisan piston pumps when the $24 billion plus in damage is already done, not to mention the sting of a perennially uncertain political system. This wasn’t our proudest governing moment, unless governing by crisis is your thing.

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The Republican Party Is Sinking. And That’s Bad for America.

GOP Elephant sinking


Sixteen days after shutting down the government and less than 48 hours before pushing America into default, Republicans in Congress have finally abandoned their fruitless effort to preempt the lawful implementation of the Affordable Care Act and allowed the government to re-open and pay its bills.

I’m not sure exactly what convinced them it was time to fold; maybe it was their party’s historic plummet in public opinion polls, or perhaps it was the scolding they received from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce–a committed ally–for their intransigence on the debt ceiling issue.

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Have Americans Become Too Comfortable Receiving Government Assistance?

Jobs on a puzzle pieceThe great fish moved silently through the water, and into immortality. Without question, Jaws was a classic, filled with memorable lines. But the one that best reflected the attitude of the times was Quint’s blunt speech to the business owners.

“(Killing the shark) will bring back the tourists. That’ll put all your businesses on a paying basis. Now you gotta make up your minds. Do you wanna stay alive and ante up, or you wanna play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter?”

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Are Normally Hawkish Republicans Endangering U.S. Security Abroad?

U.S. CAPITOL BUILDINGIt’s not at all clear if Republicans, especially those knee-jerking and red-necking in the House, have assessed that a government shutdown is having a massive impact on American foreign policy. The nation has been brought to an unnecessary and crumbling cliff—mostly because a small contingent of mostly rural, outhouse lawmakers want to make a point. But, beyond the domestic impact and future Constitutional crisis this will soon raise are the rather dangerous ramifications abroad.

Which is strange considering Republicans are quick to brand themselves as more hawkish and pro-defense than Democrats.

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