Thirty-six years after
the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse
recommended that "simple possession" of pot be decriminalised, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has introduced a bill
, co-sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), to remove federal criminal penalties for possession of up to 100 grams (about three-and-a-half ounces) of marijuana and the not-for-profit transfer of up to one ounce (28.3 grams). Drug reform advocates
lit up hailed
the legislation as "an important step toward bringing federal law into line with scientific fact, practical reality and public opinion." Is America, at long last, having a collective moment of sanity?
posted by kliuless
on Apr 20, 2008 -
The Cabinet Office in the UK has published "Future Strategic Challenges for Britain" [full pdf
, summary pdf
], a 180-page document which summarises current futures thinking in the UK Government, with a horizon of about 20 years. It includes predictions on big issues such as democratic participation, foreign affairs, climate change, family life and public services.
posted by athenian
on Feb 8, 2008 -
Reviving an ancient practice
, churches are exposing sinners and shunning those who won't repent. Unfortunately, some of the worshipers are expelled not because of willful or unrepentant sins, but for criticizing the pastor on matters of church polity
. "A lot of times, flocks aren't willing to submit or be obedient to God. If somebody is not willing to be helped, they forfeit their membership."
posted by mrducts
on Jan 18, 2008 -
When the working poor turn to addictive drugs to manage pain so they can keep working, that's "moral weakness, not a public health problem."
Every morning before sunup, Trapp drives 120 miles.... "This methadone makes you feel like a human being again," Trapp says. With disability rates as high as 37 percent in coal-mining areas such as Buchanan County, the region has many people with long-term pain management needs. As is the case with lots of aging miners, Trapp's addiction to pills began in a doctor's office, not a back-alley drug deal.... The clinic's counseling staff members say that many patients need to be on some sort of drug to cope with severe, long-term pain and that methadone has made them functional. And for those who lack insurance or access to more personalized care, it is often the only affordable option. [more inside]
posted by orthogonality
on Jan 15, 2008 -
Secrecy no more?
The first major overhaul of the Freedom of Information act in years is awaiting President Bush's signature.
It will finally create an "independent" government agency to handle to disputes between records holders and information requesters. The passage of the act comes after, ironically, after an Arizona senator used a "secret hold" to block the bill. He was ferreted out
by a group of journalists.
posted by nospecialfx
on Dec 20, 2007 -
Haven't you ever wished the US Government had an official blog? Now they do. It's called Gov Gab
posted by finite
on Oct 29, 2007 -
to gather information about Americans' phone records
--... the NSA had approached the company (Qwest) about participating in a warrantless surveillance program to gather information about Americans' phone records.
...Nacchio's account, which places the NSA proposal at a meeting on Feb. 27, 2001, suggests that the Bush administration was seeking to enlist telecommunications firms in programs without court oversight before the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The Sept. 11 attacks have been cited by the government as the main impetus for its warrantless surveillance efforts. ...
-- The Administration's crimes and illegal spying on all of us and Quest's punishment for not going along with their plans.
posted by amberglow
on Oct 13, 2007 -
Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal
by Joel Salatin. This Saturday will mark this article's four year anniversary. Frankly, I was mildly surprised not to have found it mentioned before in MeFi. It's a good read about a sad state of affairs; how our government is turning its own people into outlaws, because freedom has been traded in for an illusion of security. ...but then we already knew that. Don't we?
posted by ZachsMind
on Aug 29, 2007 -
The Library Of Unified Information Sources (LOUIS)
is a beta-release project of the previously mentioned Sunlight Foundation
, the goal of which is "to create a comprehensive, completely indexed and cross-referenced depository of federal documents from the executive and legislative branches of government." LOUIS currently contains searchable full text documents of Congressional Reports, the Congressional Record, Congressional Hearings, Presidential Documents, the Federal Register, GAO Reports and Bills & Resolutions, going back to 2001. Other interesting Sunlight Foundation projects include Visualizing Earmarks
, 3 (non-satirical) Modest Proposals
, The Congressional Family Business Project
, and Congresspedia
posted by cog_nate
on Jun 20, 2007 -
War vs. Democracy: Untold Stories from the Lynch / Tillman Hearing
-- ...U.S. soldiers whose injuries or deaths remain mired in secrecy. Pat Tillman's brother and fellow Army Ranger Kevin Tillman advocated strongly for other families still waiting for answers. ... "The family was told, it was -- quote -- 'an ambush by insurgents.' Two years later, they found out that those -- quote -- 'insurgents' happened to be the same Iraqi troops that he was training. Before his death, he told his chain of command that these same troops that he was training were trying to kill him and his team. He was told to keep his mouth shut." ...
Thorough and eye-opening examination of the many ways the military spun, lied, withheld information on soldier deaths and injuries for propaganda purposes (and even delayed action until cameras were present in the Jessica Lynch
posted by amberglow
on May 12, 2007 -
Roads To Riches (or We've Got a Bridge in Brooklyn to Sell You--Seriously)
-- Why investors are clamoring to take over America's highways, bridges, and airports—and why the public should be nervous.--...a slew of Wall Street firms—Goldman, Morgan Stanley, the Carlyle Group, Citigroup, and many others—is piling into infrastructure ... Assets sold now could change hands many times over the next 50 years, with each new buyer feeling increasing pressure to make the deal work financially. It's hardly a stretch to imagine service suffering in such a scenario; already, the record in the U.S. has been spotty. ...
posted by amberglow
on Apr 29, 2007 -