Don’t Clench Your Butt in Front of These Cops

police car

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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

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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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Congressional Republican Loggerheadedness Beginning to Backfire

Infused with a new burst of political capital as the country shakes its head and laughs at the fanatical, obstructionist wing of the Republican Party, Democrats have successfully shifted the dialogue away from Obamcare and have begun trying to leverage the ill-conceived brinkmanship to avoid spending cuts scheduled for the forthcoming sequester.

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The List: 6 Terrifying Consequences of the Government Shutdown

shutterstock-capitol

1. Insufficient FDA inspections: The government shutdown has been tied to the increase in the “continuing” salmonella outbreak that has now hospitalized nearly 300 people and spread across 18 states. Due to the forced furlough of about 60% of its staff, the FDA is unable to perform routine inspections necessary to prevent food-borne illness. This has prompted one website to make a list of the top 10 foods to not eat during the government shutdown.
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