Open Thread

- Jim McDermott has added his name to the small but growing list of Congressmen who are finally speaking up about the need to legalize marijuana as part of the response to our nation’s economic mess. Mary Ann Akers at the Washington Post writes about Howard Woolridge, the lobbyist for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. The conventional wisdom has long been that there’s a danger for politicians to embrace McDermott’s position because of the voters, but for some reason, Ron Paul keeps getting re-elected by wide margins in one of the most conservative parts of the country. The problem is not that voters will reject it. It’s that politicians and special interests (law enforcement agencies, prison lobbies, and pharmaceutical firms) have a strong interest in holding it back.

– A major bust in Belltown brought charges against 32 individuals for drug dealing. The answer to the PI’s question is No. Arresting people does not fix an area’s crack problem. Here’s my question: How many more decades will this approach have to fail before we finally recognize that it always fails?

– I’m having a lot of trouble understanding the logic inside Obama’s Justice Department. This week, they recommended that Charles Lynch, the medical marijuana dispensary owner who was raided by the Bush Justice Department, be sentenced to 5 years in prison. This is only weeks after Eric Holder said that Obama would no longer target those in medical marijuana states like Lynch who follow state law. The Times article quotes U.S. Attorney Thomas O’Brien as saying that Lynch was violating state law, which is clearly bullshit. Not only did Lynch have the mayor of the town at his side when he opened his dispensary, but during the trial, the Federal Prosecutors went out of their way to prevent the jury from knowing that he was following state law.

So to sum up the Obama Administration’s DOJ stances: We won’t prosecute people for torture because that’s looking towards the past, but we will honor previously-imposed mandatory minimum sentences for things that we no longer think should be enforced. I’m sorry, but that’s every bit as bad as the Bush Administration was. On issues of civil liberties, Obama and his fellow Democrats need to start getting serious or they’ll start bleeding independent voters before 2010.

– PubliCola writes about how Civil Liberties legislation fared in Olympia this session.


  1. 1

    ArtFart spews:

    Having spent my life among health care professionals, I think maybe a disctinction might be made between weed and other commonly abused substances like heroin, coke (either the rich man’s version or the poor man’s one) and meth. The difference is that the latter substances are known beyond a shadow of a doubt to cause serious physical harm to almost anyone using them. With this in mind, getting as much of those drugs off the street as possible becomes a public health issue.

    Part of the problem, though, is that the entire “war on drugs” has concentrated largely on pot, mostly because it’s the low-hanging fruit–it’s comparatively easy to round up lots of pot smokers and display truckloads of confiscated weed to make the taxpayers think they’re getting something for their money.

  2. 2

    Steve spews:

    Shane Murphy, second in command of the ship siezed by pirates:

    “It feels great to be home,” said Murphy in an interview with WCBV in Boston. “It feels like everyone around here has my back, with the exception of Rush Limbaugh, who is trying to make this into a race issue…that’s disgusting.”

    Limbaugh made the remark to suggest why President obama might have appeared preoccupied at church on the day of the operation to rescue the ship’s captain, who was taken hostage by the pirates until Navy SEAL snipers shot them in a daring rescue effort.

    “He was worried about the order he had given to wipe out three teenagers on the high seas,” Limbaugh said. “Black Muslim teenagers.”

    “You gotta get with us or against us here, Rush,” Murphy said. “The president did the right thing…It’s a war…. It’s about good versus evil. And what you said is evil. It’s hate speech. I won’t tolerate it.”

    Why does Shane Murphy hate America?

  3. 5

    Steve spews:

    McClatchy Newspapers:

    “WASHINGTON — The CIA inspector general in 2004 found that there was no conclusive proof that waterboarding or other harsh interrogation techniques helped the Bush administration thwart any “specific imminent attacks,” according to recently declassified Justice Department memos.

    That undercuts assertions by former vice president Dick Cheney and other former Bush administration officials that the use of harsh interrogation tactics including waterboarding, which is widely considered torture, was justified because it headed off terrorist attacks.”

    Why does the CIA inspector general hate America?

  4. 6

    Steve spews:

    PRAGUE — Czech authorities have released former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke from detention and ordered him to leave the country.

    Police spokeswoman Katerina Rendlova says Duke must leave the Czech Republic by midnight Saturday after he was detained on suspicion of denying the Holocaust.

    Palin/Duke 2012

  5. 7

    Steve spews:

    Why does the Czech Republic hate America?

    Duke was in Prague on an invitation from a neo-Nazi group to promote the Czech translation of his book “My Awakening.”

    Palin/Duke 2012

  6. 8

    SJ spews:


    I agree with you. THC is harmless.

    There is, however, a problem .. a man made problem .. with anything that is illegalized.

    A good example is sex. Prostitution does harm BECAUSE we created laws, taboos, and ways of breaking the law. Sex is fine, human trafficking is not.

    I suspect, though do not know, that the same thing may be involved now with MJ. In the cae Lee refers too, it wold be nice to know more about the “medical dispensary.” Was it actually restricting its sales to those who have prescriptions or was it acting as a wholesale outlet to folks with scrips who were reselling??? Weere people on the premises only taking medically “needed” amounts of MJ or were they using it recreationally?

    Given Lee’s on sidedness, I would not trust hos judgment to know whether this is an unfair action by the new government.

  7. 10

    Steve spews:

    From OKNews:

    An Oklahoma City man is accused in a federal criminal complaint of making threats through the Internet social networking site Twitter.

    Daniel Knight Hayden, 52, is accused of issuing death threats April 11.

    Hayden, under the moniker of “CitizenQuasar,” posted threatening messages to his Twitter account involving the April 15 public tax “tea party” protests held at the state Capitol, FBI Special Agent Michael S. Puskas reported.

    Why does the FBI hate America?

  8. 11

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    You will get no disagreement from me: marijuana should be a legal substance to be enjoyed by those adults who choose to enjoy it. This is a substance that can be regulated just like alcohol, and the government has no damn business stopping people from exercising their personal rights to use or to not use this substance.

    For those people worried about kids using marijuana, here’s a newsflash: they already use marijuana without your knowledge or permission. Being a parent is a hard job, so if you want your children to not use marijuana, get to work!

  9. 13

    Piper Scott spews:

    Why am I not surprised at the absence of a mention of the $225 thousand settlement between King County and Sound Politics El Jeffe, Stefan Sharkansky, for the county’s blatant violation of his rights under the Public Disclosure Act in connection with the 2004 election.

    Read my blog post at

    Another out-and-out scofflaw joins the Obama Admninistration.

    The Piper

  10. 14

    ByeByeGOP spews:

    Why am I not surprised that Pooper Scott doesn’t want to talk about the trouble the GOP is in over torture? Since the GOP has EVEN lower ratings than they did on Nov 4, you’d think they’d be smart enough to figure out their strategy of hating America, supporting torture and hatred, telling lies and battling the Democrats instead of trying to help improve America is NOT working!

  11. 15

    ByeByeGOP spews:

    I just sent $25 to Palin encouraging her to run for GOP Presidential candidate. As a Democrat, there’s no opponent I’d rather face that that stupid crazy white trash bitch!

  12. 16

    Piper Scott spews:

    @14…BBGOP (Not bright enough to be a Know-Nothing)…

    Wow! Half your net worth!

    Now you can’t get Ado Annie.

    The Piper

  13. 17

    ArtFart spews:

    Much as it’s fashionable here to dis the Fairview Fishwrap, there’s a fascinating article today about a joint appearance by David Plouffe and Steve Schmidt that confirms what I’ve long suspected: McCain and his team were forced by the whack jobs running their party to accept Sarah Palin and the whole neocon strategy, and were so disgusted with the whole fiasco that they were relieved when it was all over. Schmidt stated that he knew it was all over the day Lehman Brothers collapsed, and that the strategy they were stuck with was “Hold the South, and spend $80 million trying to flip Ohio.”

  14. 19

    ByeByeGOP spews:

    Hey Pooper if $25 were half my net worth then that would make me 200 times richer than you – what does cleaning toilets at the sex offender unit actually pay?

    And just because it’s you – I decided to donate another $25 in your honor to NARAL. Hoping the next aborted baby comes from Publican parents.

  15. 20

    ByeByeGOP spews:

    Now that we’re going to put Publicans on trial for torture – I am looking forward to seeing how excited the right wing hypocrites are about the RULE OF LAW!

  16. 21

    proud leftist spews:

    As long as Republican politicians bend over to the will of the lunatic fringe of their party, we’re golden. I must say that I do think a healthy democracy requires a noble opposition, so, in that regard, it’s kind of unfortunate that the GOP is in such an intellectual shambles. On the other hand, Democrats have always been able to come up with fratricidal debates amongst themselves. Maybe we just don’t need those guys.

  17. 22

    ArtFart spews:

    20 Maybe all of what you describe is the true nature of the “system of checks and balances”, rather than what they taught us all in school. Perhaps the only reason the entire world isn’t under totalitarian rule is that politicians are universally incompetent.

  18. 23

    mark spews:

    The only problem with legalizing pot is the potsmokers aren’t gonna change where they buy their weed if all of a sudden the govt sells and adds sales tax to it. The whole business will stay underground and it will be another failed govt operation.

  19. 24

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    @22, Dolt. Is there a big “underground economy” for alchohol? Tobacco? It pot was legalized, the price would come down considerably, and your dealer would be hard pressed to make minimum wage.

    The only problem here appears to be….you. You and your insurmountable economic illiteracy.

  20. 26

    SJ spews:

    @8 Lee

    Sound like this judge is a fair man trying to deal with a damned foolish law.

    I really wish someone could come up with a rational way of undoing the harm done by misrepresenting MJ.

  21. 28

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    One of the trolls on Sucky Politics said Stefan should have gotten $50 million. That shows you how little respect they have for King County’s taxpayers.

  22. 29

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Don’t get me wrong, trolls! I don’t necessarily think Ron Sims is the greatest thing since sliced bread. But given a choice between him and a guy who beats up his own mother … what’s a voter to do? The problem is, we have only 1 functioning political party in this state. The rest of a citizens are merely a rabble. And that ain’t my fault.

  23. 30

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I’ve heard of news reports that Sims is receiving an unprecedented number of death threats. I doubt they’re coming from liberals; that leaves you-know-who.

  24. 31

    ByeByeGOP spews:

    More bad news for the America-hating right PRESIDENT OBAMA remains unbelievably popular –

    After 100 straight days of vicious attacks by Faux News, the GOP, and every right wing racist, nutjob, idiot and fool – PRESIDENT OBAMA STILL REMAINS ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR PRESIDENTS EVER!

    Publicans THANKFULLY just don’t get it. They tried their hate and fear and lies all last year and got their asses kicked Nov 4. It didn’t work then and STILL won’t work but what else can they do other than spew hate and lies? They have no skill, morals, ideas or policies of their own. So they lie and lie and lie and lie – and meanwhile, America LOVES PRESIDENT OBAMA! Sit on it and spin you right wing turds!

  25. 32


    I’m a child of the sixties and all the battles we are fighting now are the same ones as then.

    If you have ever seen a picture of Odin, he is dressed in black, has one eye missing, and a raven on his shoulder.

    He’s the good guy.

    In traditional Scandinavian theology there is an epic battle between good and evil.

    Evil wins.

    There will be no legal marihuana now or ever. But you can fight the good fight and rest easy for eternity.

  26. 33


    re 12: Is his faked-up inconvenience worth the same as a surgeon cutting off a limb accidentally?

    I thought ‘tort reform’ was a big thing with you guys.

    Guess not.

  27. 34

    proud leftist spews:

    My favorite Scandinavian member of the god class was Loki–the god of mischief/evil. We had a dog named Loki when I was a kid. When you grow up a Lutheran pastor’s kid, you seek such dichotomies.

  28. 36

    proud leftist spews:

    Piper, mi amigo,
    It ain’t “Jeffe,” it’s “Jefe.” Not that I want to be anal about such things.

  29. 38


    re 12: The Lord says that in eternity people like you and Scharansky will be separated from the good of heart by a chasm that cannot be crossed, and though we would wish to offer you comfort, the Lord will not allow it — as you have had your reward on earth and shall suffer in exile and loneliness for eternity.

    God said it. Not me.

  30. 40

    delbert spews:

    “Attention grasp:
    The attention grasp consists of grasping the individual with both hands, one hand on each side of the collar opening, in a controlled and quick motion. In the same motion as the grasp, the individual is drawn toward the interrogator. ”


    Yeah, let’s bring up some charges based on that. I’m sure a jury would be more than willing to convict some evil CIA type who committed an attention grasp. It’s some harsh stuff, I tell you. Has me shakin’ in my boots.

  31. 41

    ArtFart spews:

    The only Norse deities I ever worshipped were Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman and Inger Stevens.

  32. 42

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Sunday, April 26, 2009

    The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows that 35% of the nation’s voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-two percent (32%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of +3

    Seems Obama can only go one way from here…down! When the crisis Biden promised us happens in the next couple of months (you remember big-mouth Joe’s prediction)…you will see minus numbers.

    Ohhh, and did all you KLOWNS thank Stefan Sharkansky for his hard work and personal sacrifice in holding corrupt KingCo, Dean Logan the evil Don Ron Sims King accountable for their anti-open government, illegal withholding of public records??
    THANK STEFAN over at

    I’m sure Stefan would love to hear from you!
    He already heard stupidity from Rog Rabbit, the anti-open government KLOWN holed up in a cheap hotel in E. Washington.
    C’mon YLB and Goober and Kountry Klub Steve..congratulate Stefan.

  33. 43

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Jim McDimwit is not only a proponent of legal weed, he’s a full-time user!!
    What an idiot McDimwit is.
    And who cares what he thinks.
    90% of his District is perpetually stoned.

  34. 45

    Steve spews:


    04/26/2009 +3
    03/16/2009 +4

    Yeah, President Obama’s fucking plummeting.

    The only thing revealed by the Rasmussen poll internals is that America-hating Republicans, like their party leader, Rush Limbaugh, want America’s president to fail.

  35. 46

    ByeByeGOP spews:

    Remember folks – CYNCYN is a child rapist who quotes the Faux News run Rasmussen poll daily in an attempt to deflect from the fact that EVERY SINGLE NATIONAL POLL done by a NON-Faux News run organization puts PRESIDENT OBAMA AT THE TOP!

    Now let’s see – where is WHATADICK Cheney, the current Publican leader’s poll numbers? He’s hovering consistently around 20% You keep working that CYNCYN – your 20% will get you enough votes to win a few seats in the more inbred parts of the country. We’ll take our 80% get a veto-proof majority and then…


    And there won’t be a thing you can do about it bitch!

    HE HE!

  36. 48

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    46. Steve spews:
    72% of Americans have a favorable impression of President Obama.
    I think we all know who the 28 percenters are – America-hating Republicans.

    Steve, once again you are wrong.
    The 28 percenters are the people paying taxes to support the 72 percenters.
    Here’s a web page regarding what “percenters” pay taxes and which “percenters” live off of others.
    Remember what the veep said, paying taxes is patriotic. Why don’t the democrats want their voters to be patriotic.

  37. 49

    SJ spews:


    Sorry but every demographic study I have seen says that the Repricans do NOT represent America’s successful people. The connection Reagan created between belief in Jesus, loyalty to the Empire, God over environment, etc for some odd reason is nto appealing to realists who actually do generate money.

  38. 51

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    48. SJ spews:
    Sorry but every demographic study I have seen says that the Repricans do NOT represent America’s successful people.

    What are you saying old man?
    Represent as in “Repricans” are not the party of the rich? Or that “Repricans” don’t represent the values of the rich?

  39. 53

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Torture is both illegal and immoral.

    Now let’s review what the Republican position on torture is:

    1. Our government should torture people.
    2. Our government should hide the fact it tortures people.
    3. Our government should lie to the American people and the rest of the world about the fact it tortured people (including innocent people).
    4. The fact our government authorized, ordered, and approved torturing people (including innocent people) should not be investigated or discussed.
    5. The torturers should not be prosecuted.
    6. Innocent victims of U.S. government-sponsored torture should not be able to sue the government, the officials who authorized the torture, or the torturers.

    Remember what I said about torture being both illegal and immoral, then draw your own conclusions about what the Republican Party and its followers are.

  40. 54

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    In primitive human societies that lacked legal systems, grievances were settled by seeking revenge. Legal systems were created to provide an alternative dispute resolution mechanism to traditional revenge-seeking.

    Now let’s say an innocent person is subjected to a grievous wrong — he’s kidnapped, imprisoned, and tortured — and then is told there not only will be no criminal prosecution of those who did this to him, but he can’t sue the perpetrators, either. In other words, he’s just supposed to grit his teeth and bear it, and cut his losses and go on with his life.

    If that happened to me, and that’s how the system responded to what happened to me, I’d be tempted to get a knife and hunt down every last one of the fucking bastards and cut his fucking heart out, until they were all dead.

    Don’t misinterpret this. I’m a peaceable rabbit. I don’t like violence. I believe in the rule of law. But I have emotions, just like humans do, and when politics interferes with the functioning of law, I naturally revert to my wild instincts. If you humans want to live under the Law of the Jungle, well, we wild animals know how that law works.

    I am, after all, only a fucking feral rabbit. So, you shouldn’t expect me to exercise superhuman forebearance in the face of a stupendous wrong.

  41. 55

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The Jews went through this; so they seized a patch of land and created their own state; and they armed it with jets, tanks, and nuclear bombs; and now, when other people fuck with them, they kill them.

  42. 56

    delbert spews:


    Torture is illegal and immoral.

    However, slapping, grabbing, confining or even mind fucking a detainee/terrorist/freedom fighter/asshole/rabbit/islamofascist is not, and has never been, torture.

    Stop trying to define down “torture” to please a political agenda.

  43. 57

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Of course, I wasn’t kidnapped, detained, or tortured by the Bush Stalinists — I was only wiretapped — so there’s no reason for me to go after Bush’s NKVD men.

    I’m merely a lawyer who supports the idea of prosecuting torturers, or at least subjecting them to civil liability, as a matter of upholding the rule of law.

    If, on the other hand, the rule of law fails and victims then decide to take the law into their own hands, and they are prosecuted or sued for doing it, if I were on the jury I’d acquit them. This is called “jury nullification.” I’m normally against jury nullication, but there are exceptions to every principle. I figure that since countless southern juries gave free passes to murderers who lynched helpless African-Americans, then I’d commit no greater affront to the rule of law by giving a free pass to those who exact revenge from human scum who have it coming to them, when the law refuses to punish them or hold them accountable.

    You can’t pick and choose when or to whom the law applies. It either applies to all of us, all of the time, or there is no law and you have to use other means to protect your vital interests.

  44. 58

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @52 Nice try at deflecting, delbert, but I’m not talking about “slapping, grabbing, confining, or … mind fucking,” I’m talking about torture.

    The Bush regime didn’t just slap, grab, confine, or mind-fuck people. It tortured them, and some of the people it tortured died under torture. A large number of the people it kidnapped, confined, tortured, and killed were utterly innocent.

    Of course, I don’t care whether you believe this or not; what you believe doesn’t turn a truth into a lie, or turn a lie into a truth. The fact that you lie to yourself, and believe lies, and mouth lies, is a social problem in the same sense that the Nazis were a social problem, and at some point the rest of us may have to deal with the social problem just as we were forced to deal with the Nazis, but for now it’s sufficient to point out that it is Democrats who are in power, and therefore it is Democrats who will decide whether Bush’s torturers are held legally accountable or not, and if they are not our issue will be with the Democrats who let them off, although that in no way exonerates Republican torturers or conservative apologists for Republican torturers.

  45. 59

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    52. Roger Rabbit spews:
    6. Innocent victims of U.S. government-sponsored torture should not be able to sue the government

    Considering how you feel about stefan and the coverup settlement you must also believe victims of the government should not be able to sue.
    Unless of course you are a hypocrite.

  46. 60

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    56. Roger Rabbit spews:
    Of course, I wasn’t kidnapped, detained, or tortured by the Bush Stalinists — I was only wiretapped

    Since you never complained about the clinton administration and their wiretapping program I’m sure bush assumed you approved.
    See, that’s why you are supposed to speak up when a democrat does it.

  47. 61

    The Truth spews:

    Watched reports about Presisednental preprograms on when he first learned of of the attack against out our nations and why he didn’t do anything except talked to his teleprompter and what advice he received.
    The pandemic will be regarded as another thorn in Obama in his first 100 days.
    Will the grown ups come back to lead the country?
    Where going in the wrong directions.

  48. 63

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @58 What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is Marvin Stupes equating Stefan’s request for public records with innocent people minding their own business in their own country being kidnapped, detained, and tortured by our government.

  49. 64

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @60 Somebody call 9-1-1 and report that another inmate has escaped from Western State.

  50. 65

    ByeByeGOP spews:

    Funny how the right wing – hate America Publicans were on all the talk shows today saying shit like “we can’t afford an investigation into torture” or “we should just look forward.”

    Funny, they didn’t mind spending 100million dollars to run their witch hunt against President Clinton and they certainly we’re not opposed to “looking back.”

    As usual – the right wingers are for rule of law except when it might apply to them – hypocrites, liars, perverts, traitors and cowards – every single one of em.

  51. 66


    re 47: “The 28 percenters are the people paying taxes to support the 72 percenters.”

    You have previously stated that the top 5% pay 96% of income taxes — so which statement is factual and which is BS.

    Both are BS, I suspect.

  52. 67

    delbert spews:


    “The Bush regime didn’t just slap, grab, confine, or mind-fuck people. It tortured them, and some of the people it tortured died under torture. A large number of the people it kidnapped, confined, tortured, and killed were utterly innocent.”

    Cite your source or STFU.

    And press releases/comments from CAIR, ANSWER, Al Qaida, Hamas, Daily KOS and HuffPo are not sources.

  53. 68

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    61. Roger Rabbit spews:

    @58 How is Stefan a “victim of government”? Explain that to me.

    Easy Rog..
    Stefan put in a legal Public Records Request the King Kounty Socialists were obliged to respond to within a reasonable time.
    It took them 3 years.
    Not reasonable.
    Stefan was a victim of unreasonable and illegal delays in having his legitimate Records Request responded to by King Kounty Socialist government.
    He was damaged.
    The law provides consequences.
    Hence, Stefan was a “VICTIM”.

    Talk about lobbin’ a fat pitch over the middle Rog!

  54. 69

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Just curious..when you were at that “flea-bag” hotel in E. Washigton, precisely how many bagged rolls did you eat every day at the Continental breakfast?
    Seems to have clouded your already clouded thinking.
    All those preservatives are like glue in your brain.

  55. 70

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    65. Major Major spews:
    re 47: “The 28 percenters are the people paying taxes to support the 72 percenters.”
    You have previously stated that the top 5% pay 96% of income taxes — so which statement is factual and which is BS.

    Got a link to my previous statement? Don’t feel pressure to back up what you say, no one expects you to.
    Didn’t I provide a link in the post you replied to for you to verify. If you don’t believe the link is factual, feel free to provide a link to prove otherwise.

    Both are BS, I suspect.

    You can suspect all you want headless, except when you do it to black people.
    Do you refuse to post links because you think you know better or because you can’t find links to prove your points?

  56. 73

    ByeByeGOP spews:

    Wonder how the wingers feel about the poll results showing that only 20.4% of Americans now are willing to call themselves a republican. THEY are even ashamed of themselves!