Friday, November 30, 2012

"West Seattle development: 3062 Avalon Way passes early-design review with standing-room-only attendance"

The West Seattle Blog covered my neighborhood's ass-kicking community shout-out to the City of Seattle's "Early Design Review" meeting

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Dozens of vigilant neighbors comprised a standing-room-only crowd in the Senior Center of West Seattle‘s upstairs meeting room as another 7-story Avalon Way apartment-building proposal debuted before the Southwest Design Review Board last night, second one in two months.
The residents of 32nd SW, north of the proposed development’s vicinity, again wore “Love The ‘Hood” stickers, as they had at the September meeting for 3078 Avalon Way, a similar building proposed next to the site of this one. MORE...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Jon Stewart Takes McCain and Graham to Task for Hypocrisy of Susan Rice Attacks" (with video)

Heather (Crooks and Liars) with video (09:20):
Senators John McCain and his BFF Lindsey Graham found themselves receiving some similar criticism to that dished out last week by Rachel Maddow, when she slammed McCain for all of the times he said something wrong on a Sunday show. If these two and their "third amigo" Kelly Ayotte want to keep making hypocritical asses of themselves with their petulant attacks on U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, I just hope there's more segments like this to come. MORE...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Smear campaign against Rice broadens, intensifies"

Steve Benen (The Maddow Blog), with video (07:40) from MSNBC:
The only meaningful complaint raised by Republicans against Susan Rice is that she shared the collective judgment on the Benghazi attack on Sunday shows. It gives new meaning to the phrase "blame the messenger" -- Rice didn't write the CIA talking points, she simply told the public what they said, just as she was asked to do. And yet, the Republican campaign against her appears to be intensifying. The latest criticism comes by way of Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who, next year, will ostensibly be the Senate's only GOP moderate. MORE...

"Why Obama Won't Be the One to End the War on Drugs"

Paul Waldman (The American Prospect):
It's the inverse of Nixon going to China.---While Obama may believe that the War has been a failure and it's absurd to lock up hundreds of thousands of people for possessing, buying, or selling small amounts of marijuana, it just isn't all that high on his priority list. If making a major policy change is risky, he's not going to bother. On the other hand, he doesn't want to alienate the 50 percent of the country that now supports legalization, many of whom are his staunch supporters, so his preferred outcome would be that no one pays much attention to the issue for the next four years. MORE...

"Rice met with strong opposition on Capitol Hill" (video)

MSNBC-video (11:00).

Howie P.S.: Ari Melber, Joy-Ann Reid and Chip Saltsman chew the fat.

WA: "How state Democrats overpowered GOP in governor's race: data and doorbelling"

Love him or not, the dude gets s##t done!

Jim Brunner (Fairview Fannie):
The Democratic Party's robust ground game — which combined sophisticated data tracking with old-fashioned doorbelling — played a significant role in the outcome of one of the nation's most-watched gubernatorial races, leaders of both parties said in interviews. "McKenna didn't know who was going to vote, and we did," boasted state Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz, who credited a campaign that focused on persuading 400,000 Democratic-leaning but sporadic voters to mail in their ballots. MORE...

"Former GOP Strategist Kevin Phillips on the Roots of American Revolution and Future of U.S. Politics" (video)

Democracy Now! with video:
With the Republican Party in a state of turmoil following Mitt Romney’s loss three weeks ago, we begin today’s show with a guest who was once one of the most influential Republican strategists. In 1969 Kevin Phillips wrote the groundbreaking book, "The Emerging Republican Majority." Newsweek described the book as the “political bible of the Nixon administration.” After a series of best-selling books on the Bush family, Wall Street and the American theocracy, Phillips is looking back at the roots of the American Revolution in his new book, "1775: A Good Year for Revolution.” “What happened that set the United States in motion in the mid 1770s is still relevant in some ways because what it showed was that you sometimes have to have a lot of very disagreeable politics to make progress. That you don’t get anywhere by having all kinds of nice slogans and by trying to barter every difference with a cliche and pretend thats all’s well and the United States is in wonderful shape,” Phillips says. “The United States is not in wonderful shape and it needs to get back some of that spunk that it had when people were willing to talk very bluntly about harsh and tough measures.” [Includes rush transcript]

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I-502: "Vendors respond to pot law"

Stuart Miller (The Western Front):
When Initiative 502 goes into effect on Dec. 6, businesses and institutions in Washington state will be making changes in their policies regarding marijuana. Bellingham Police Chief Mark Young said city police are currently working out a plan on how to enforce the initiative, and are unable to comment on it. Seattle Police, however, have already established their own guidelines under the new law, and it is available to citizens on their website. After raids on three Bellingham marijuana collectives as recently as last March, the non-profit gardens are tentatively hopeful the legalization of recreational marijuana use will deter the police from future raids. “Right now even the medical cannabis law states that we just have an affirmative defense,” said Gus Gunther, a volunteer at the Northern Cross Collective on Cornwall Avenue. The affirmative defense means under Washington’s medical marijuana law, police can arrest and charge medical marijuana patients, growers and collective operators, but if they are verified as medical patients in court, they have a legitimate legal defense against the charges. “Now we have this other law [I-502], that is a blanket law that we fall into and have other rights,” Gunther said, “I think it will end up easing off some of the pressure — they’re going to have a lot more to deal with outside of the medical community.” Even after Dec. 6, medical marijuana dispensaries will be the only place to legally purchase pot until the Washington State Liquor Control Board establishes a system to regulate the legal sale and growing of the plant, no later than Dec. 1, 2013. Until then, distribution and production of recreational pot will stay illegal, but possession of an ounce or less by people older than 21 will be legal. “We see in the Superior Court many instances of the medical marijuana statute being used inappropriately, and so we may see less of that simply because they have another option,” said Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Charles Snyder. The most visible changes in Washington will come in late 2013 or early 2014, said Roger Roffman, professor emeritus at the University of Washington and author of the forthcoming book “A Marijuana Memoir.” “We’ll see stores being established that exclusively sell marijuana or marijuana products,” Roffman said. “They’ll be like the old Washington State Liquor Control Board liquor stores before the voters changed that law, with the exception that stores will be privately owned rather than owned by the state of Washington.” The stores will be privately owned and run by retailers who have applied for and been granted licenses. They cannot be located near schools or playgrounds. Retailers are limited to one sign outside, no bigger than 1,600 square inches, or about a square meter. “The initiative really took that issue to heart and said we want tight regulations on advertising, particularly to avoid marketing targeting young people,” Roffman said. It remains unclear how a legal growing and distribution system will affect marijuana prices. With Washington state taxing the industry 25 percent at every level, that is, a 25 percent tax for growers, the same tax for processors and the same tax for retailers. The price of marijuana could change dramatically from current standards at legal retailers, medical dispensaries and black market pot dealers. The Office of Financial Management estimated in their impact statement 100 producer licenses, 55 processor licenses and 328 retail locations, said Mikhail Carpenter of the Washington State Liquor Control Board. That value will decrease or increase based on a variety of factors. The tax revenue from legal marijuana is estimated at up to $2 billion, Carpenter said. Because nobody has dealth with a system like this before, estimating a lot of things will be difficult, Carpenter said. Carpenter expects the Liquor Control Board to take all of 2013 to finish designing the growth and sales system. Though they will try to learn from current examples of legalization, such as Amsterdam’s marijuana laws, no law like Washington’s exists anywhere yet. The board is building from scratch. Smoking marijuana won’t be allowed in places where tobacco smoking is prohibited, such as in bars and many buildings. The wording in the initiative states that containers holding marijuana cannot be opened in the view of the public. The Cobra Lounge, a hookah-smoking establishment in Bellingham and Tacoma, has found their own way around laws against indoor smoking. “You can be a private club and you can smoke indoors,” said Justin Herrmann, manager and co-owner of the Cobra Lounge. “That’s why we charge the $5 membership for each person who comes in, and we always have to sell our shisha away from where we smoke it.” Though the Cobra Lounge has no plans to change to allow marijuana smoking, the owners are acceptant of the idea. “Personally, I love the style of an artistic city like Amsterdam. Public discourse, creativity and community building all happen in a very real way within its cafes,” said Erin Cobb, co-owner of the Cobra Lounge, in an email. “The more time people spend face to face, talking about the issues in the community, the better, and The Cobra Lounge is the perfect place for that. If we are given the chance legally, I would love to have [marijuana] Volcanoes available for the use of our members.” Perhaps the most significant and intangible change will be how the culture in Washington changes after marijuana becomes legal and openly sold. Roffman said he would be surprised if there wasn't an increase in experimental drug use among people that haven't tried it before after the initiative is fully implemented a year from now. “And then I think over time, and it may take some months, some years, I think that new norms will develop, as to what’s cool and what’s not cool,” Roffman said. Though Gunther dislikes portions of the initiative, especially the DUI conditions, he likes the step Washington voters made. “I think it will be good for us because it’s putting another step in the right direction for everyone socially to accept it,” Gunther said. The initiative’s impaired driving portion, also effective Dec. 6, establishes a 5 ng/mL THC concentration in a driver’s blood as the legal limit for DUI, similar to the 0.08 blood-alcohol content standard for alcohol. A DUI is a gross misdemeanor, but can change to a felony if you have prior DUI convictions. This part of the bill has raised issues with many medical marijuana patients who claim their blood is almost always above the 5 ng/mL level, and needs to be to recieve proper medication. This is expected to increase felony DUI charges, Gunther said.

"Obama Returns To The Campaign Trail For Tax Push"

BuzzFeed Politics:
The Obama White House is looking to the 2011 battle over the debt ceiling as a cautionary tale for this year's fiscal standoff, crafting a far more aggressive public relations campaign to fend off Republican policy demands. During the mid-2011 debt ceiling fight, House Republicans credibly threatened to send the economy into a tailspin by refusing to raise the nation's borrowing limit, escalating the conflict and forcing Democrats into a defensive position. Meanwhile, rather than take his case to the public, Obama wavered between closed-door negotiations with congressional leaders and angry statements to the press. Now the president is making his case directly to the people. This month, fresh from his reelection victory, Obama plans to keep the fight public, at the cost of any imagined backroom goodwill. The president will hit the road to push his agenda on the fiscal cliff this Friday, traveling to Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Obama will "continue making the public case for action by visiting a business that depends on middle-class consumers during the holiday season," a White House official said. White House aides believe Obama's inside-the-beltway approach to the last crisis contributed to the Republican wins after they took back the House in 2010 on multiple government shutdowns and tax votes. Now Obama aides believe they have more leverage — with Republicans particularly wary of a tax hike on the top 2% of wage-earners, a tax-increase plan validated, the White House believes, by the presidential election. Tax rates will go up for everyone at the end of the year, and Obama believes he can win by advocating for the 98%. MORE...

Monday, November 26, 2012

"Trying to Turn Obama Voters Into Tax Allies"

The Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago in October. The administration is drawing on supporters for help in other areas.

 MICHAEL D. SHEAR (New York Times):
WASHINGTON — When Tea Party activists swamped town hall-style meetings about health care in the summer of 2009, President Obama’s army of campaign volunteers largely stayed away, seemingly less interested in fighting for legislation than they had been in electing the nation’s first African-American president. Now, Mr. Obama is seizing a second chance to keep his election-year supporters animated. MORE...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"Marijuana is new? Washington State DUI testing plans-"

Photo- Port Hadlock Transit Center

Oak Bay Starfish:

Asking a few questions here is not to defend operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, legal or illegal drugs or marijuana.

“Marijuana consumed within the past seven to 10 days usually triggers a positive result, said Swedish’s Dr. Ray Jarris. In the future, tests — such as oral swabs — may be able to more precisely pinpoint recent usage, but not yet, he said.”

With pot legal, police worry about road safety
“We’ve had decades of studies and experience with alcohol,” said Washington State Patrol spokesman Dan Coon. “Marijuana is new, so it’s going to take some time to figure out how the courts and prosecutors are going to handle it. But the key is impairment: We will arrest drivers who drive impaired, whether it be drugs or alcohol.”
Marijuana is new?
Medical marijuana has been here since 1998.
Has I-692 caused problems on the highways?
If this is an honest concern- what has the state been waiting on?
People have been able to get behind the wheel after using marijuana for decades.
This would remain so- even if recreational use of marijuana never became legal.
Maybe the Washington State Patrol sees this as a non-issue.

My view is that traffic safety professionals should initiate recommendations on speed limits, guard rails, road signs, traffic lights, DUI protocols, etc.
A new testing protocol is now forced on the traffic safety professionals of our state by the voters.
Where is the marijuana related accident data of the past 20 years?
If there has been a problem on the roads- why has Washington State Patrol made no recommendations on how to address the situation?

the FIELD NEGRO: "White on Rice."

“You’ve got grumpy old (white) men going after a young accomplished woman of color,” Milbank wrote in a piece this week. “It’s arguable this is not the path to convincing the American people that the GOP is truly a big tent where all races, religions and classes are welcome.”

That was Dana Milbank of the Washington Post writing about the GOP's latest attempt to find skeletons in O's presidential closet. This time they are hoping that Susan Rice will be the crack in O's armor that will lead to his ultimate downfall. (Good luck with that. They will find that Troy was a cake walk compared to getting to O.) Poor "grumpy old (white) men", they tried to make Eric Holder their Trojan Horse but to no avail. Now, unfortunately for her, Susan Rice will have to face the wrath of the "grumpy old (white) men".MORE...

John Heilemann on why Susan Rice will be confirmed

John Heilemann (
Beyond the spectacle of gratuitous spleen-venting, does any of this Republican fulmination matter in the least—or, as the headline of a recent Maureen Dowd column in the Times put it, “Is Rice Cooked?” As a rule, your columnist avoids predictions, but in the spirit of holiday indulgence, I will make an exception here: Not only will Obama appoint Rice to succeed Clinton but she will be confirmed. And though I offer this forecast without the aid of polling averages to lend a patina of statistical certainty to the endeavor, I do believe there are at least five sound reasons to think it will come true: MORE...
Howie P.S.: Snarky quote from the above:
I estimate there is a 79.4357 percent probability that Susan Rice will be confirmed early next year as secretary of State, and the vote won’t even be close. Just remember: You read it here first—and Nate Silver ain’t got nothing on me.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

WaPo: "Patty Murray likely to be a key voice in Senate on budget deal"

  Rosalind S. Helderman (WaPo):
One of the biggest winners in the sweeping Democratic victories in Senate races this month was a woman whose name appeared on no ballot: Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). With a low-key style that contrasts with some of the Senate’s camera hogs, Murray may be the most powerful senator a whole lot of people have never heard of outside of the two Washingtons where she lives and works. MORE...

Friday, November 23, 2012

"Highlight Of This Year's Macy's Parade" (photo)


Greg Mitchell (Pressing Issues):
Someone sighted the return of the Pepper-Spray Cop.

"McGinn and challengers: The race for mayor begins"

Joel Connelly (
Hizzoner is facing reelection next year: After disastrous stumbles on the tunnel and S.R. 520, McGinn is trying to show he can walk the talk, learn to stroke his city’s interest groups, and be a bearer of bearer of good economic news as the Emerald City (formerly the Queen City) recovers from the Great Recession. He’ll get no respite. A front-rank challenger, Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess, appears on the verge of announcing his candidacy. The former policeman and businessman flirted with the 2009 race, and probably would be running for reelection had more than his toe gone into the water. MORE...

"NBC News Stopped Gay Rights Group From Releasing Chelsea Clinton Ad, According To Report"

Josh Feldman (MEDIAite):
If you’re part of a political family and a paid employee of a news network, how do you strike that balance? Chelsea Clinton was not on the campaign trail this time around because she was hired by NBC News last year to be a correspondent on the network’s “Make A Difference” series. That did not stop Clinton from filming a video for a group fighting to legalize gay marriage in Washington (which ultimately passed on election day). The video never saw the light of day because NBC News, according to a report by BuzzFeed, killed it. MORE...

"Bill Maher: Here's How Obama Can Get Back at All the Rightwing Hacks Who Accused Him of Being an Angry Black Man Pushing a Liberal Agenda... " (with video)

Dan Savage (The Stranger) with video (04:56) from Buzz sourse:
While progressives may be happy that President Obama will be around for another four years, Bill Maher warned them not to get too complacent, and pointed out that now Obama no longer has to run for reelection, they can "hold his feet to the fire" on a number of important progressive issues, from the drug war to the the defense budget. Maher said that after four years of conservatives accusing Obama of being an "angry black man with a liberal agenda," the president should do... just that for the next four years.

"Frank Rich on the National Circus: Lessons for Obama’s New Cabinet"

Frank Rich (New York Magazine):
Much of his cabinet has performed well, so I am not sure there are a ton of lessons to be learned. My biggest concern is Treasury. To me, the biggest failure of the Obama administration has been its inability to address the malfeasance of the financial sector that inflicted so much damage on the country and largely walked away from the wreckage scot-free once America and the world plunged into the Great Recession. The president can try to improve on that record with an economic team that, unlike the departing Geithner and the departed Larry Summers, is free of Robert Rubin protégés who were complicit in the greed-fueled abuses that led to the meltdown. MORE...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tim Egan: "Give Pot a Chance"

Tim Egan (NY Times):
SEATTLE – In two weeks, adults in this state will no longer be arrested or incarcerated for something that nearly 30 million Americans did last year. For the first time since prohibition began 75 years ago, recreational marijuana use will be legal; the misery-inducing crusade to lock up thousands of ordinary people has at last been seen, by a majority of voters in this state and in Colorado, for what it is: a monumental failure.
That is, unless the Obama administration steps in with an injunction, as it has threatened to in the past, against common sense. For what stands between ending this absurd front in the dead-ender war on drugs and the status quo is the federal government. It could intervene, citing the supremacy of federal law that still classifies marijuana as a dangerous drug.
But it shouldn’t. Social revolutions in a democracy, especially ones that begin with voters, should not be lightly dismissed. Forget all the lame jokes about Cheetos and Cheech and Chong. In the two-and-a-half weeks since a pair of progressive Western states sent a message that arresting 853,000 people a year for marijuana offenses is an insult to a country built on individual freedom, a whiff of positive, even monumental change is in the air.

In Mexico, where about 60,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence, political leaders are voicing cautious optimism that the tide could turn for the better. What happens when the United States, the largest consumer of drugs in the world, suddenly opts out of a black market that is the source of gangland death and corruption? That question, in small part, may now be answered.
Prosecutors in Washington and Colorado have announced they are dropping cases, effective immediately, against people for pot possession. I’ve heard from a couple of friends who are police officers, and guess what: they have a lot more to do than chase around recreational drug users.
Maine (ever-sensible Maine!) and Iowa, where the political soil is uniquely suited to good ideas, are looking to follow the Westerners. Within a few years, it seems likely that a dozen or more states will do so as well.
And for one more added measure of good karma, on Election Day, Representative Dan Lungren, nine-term Republican from California and a tired old drug warrior who backed some of the most draconian penalties against his fellow citizens, was ousted from office.
But there remains the big question of how President Obama will handle the cannabis spring. So far, he and Attorney General Eric Holder have been silent. I take that as a good sign, and certainly a departure from the hard-line position they took when California voters were considering legalization a few years ago. But if they need additional nudging, here are three reasons to let reason stand:
Hypocrisy. Popular culture and the sports-industrial complex would collapse without all the legal drugs that promise to extend erections, reduce inhibitions and keep people awake all night. I’m talking to you, Viagra, alcohol and high-potency energy drinks. Worse, perhaps, is the $25 billion nutritional supplement industry, offerings pills that make exaggerated health claims and steroid-based hormones that can have significant bad consequences. The corporate cartels behind these products get away with minimal regulation because of powerful backers like Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah.
In two years through 2011, more than 2,200 serious illnesses, including 33 fatalities, were reported by consumers of nutritional supplements. Federal officials have received reports of 13 deaths and 92 serious medical events from Five Hour Energy. And how many people died of marijuana ingestion? Of course, just because well-marketed, potentially hazardous potions are legal is no argument to bring pot onto retail shelves. But it’s hard to make a case for fairness when one person’s method of relaxation is cause for arrest while another’s lands him on a Monday night football ad.
Tax and regulate. Already, 18 states and the District of Columbia allow medical use of marijuana. This chaotic and unregulated system has resulted in price-gouging, phony prescriptions and outright scams. No wonder the pot dispensaries have opposed legalization — it could put them out of business.
Washington State officials estimate that taxation and regulation of licensed marijuana retail stores will generate $532 million in new revenue every year. Expand that number nationwide, and then also add into the mix all the wasted billions now spent investigating and prosecuting marijuana cases.
With pot out of the black market, states can have a serious discussion about use and abuse. The model is the campaign against drunk driving, which has made tremendous strides and saved countless lives at a time when alcohol is easier to get than ever before. Education, without one-sided moralizing, works.
Lead. That’s what transformative presidents do. From his years as a community organizer — and a young man whose own recreational drug use could have made him just another number in lockup — Obama knows well that racial minorities are disproportionately jailed for these crimes. With 5 percent of the world’s population, the United States has 25 percent of its prisoners — and about 500,000 of them are behind bars for drug offenses. On cost alone — up to $60,000 a year, to taxpayers, per prisoner — this is unsustainable.
Obama is uniquely suited to make the argument for change. On this issue, he’ll have support from the libertarian right and the humanitarian left. The question is not the backing — it’s whether the president will have the backbone.

"tryptophan - oral" (with photo)
USES: In Canada, tryptophan is sold as a prescription drug to treat mood disorders (such as bipolar disorder, depression). It is usually used with other medicines. It works to make the mood more stable and reduce extremes in behavior by restoring the balance of certain natural substances (serotonin, melatonin) in the brain. Tryptophan is a natural substance (amino acid) found in high-protein foods and milk.In the US, tryptophan is sold as a dietary supplement. It has been used to support mood, relaxation, and restful sleep. If you are taking other medications that may affect serotonin (such as many antidepressants), do not take tryptophan without talking with your doctor first. A very serious (possibly fatal) drug interaction may occur. Your doctor should closely monitor you. See also Side Effects section.Some supplement products have been found to contain possibly harmful impurities/additives. Check with your pharmacist for more details about the brand you use.The US FDA has not reviewed this product for safety or effectiveness. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details. MORE...
Howie P.S.: My daughter is a chemistry major, so this may explain my interest here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"PETA Asks Obama To Stop Turkey-Pardoning Ceremony, Compares Turkeys To Minorities"

Josh Feldman (MEDIAite):
It’s Thanksgiving time, and you know what that means! Time for PETA to send a letter to the White House asking that President Obama puts a stop to the annual tradition of pardoning a turkey, and even going so far as to compare the rights of turkeys to the rights of oppressed minorities. MORE...
Howie P.S.: I have never understood what good it does to "pardon" one turkey. That's like telling one inmate (chosen at random) on Death Row to go home, but the rest of you can "sit tight." My favorite line from the above
they should at least stop calling it a “pardoning,” because “the bird has done nothing wrong.”

"Arlo Guthrie/Alice's Restaurant" (with video)

guth3, video (18:34):
Arlo performing Alice's Restaurant at the Guthrie Center. July 2, 2005. Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Howie P.S.: If you were, or still are, a dirty hippy, this is your Thanksgiving Anthem. The "full" version, video (23:31), is here! The audio is better there, too.

Barack Obama's Thanksgiving "prayer" (video), with video (02:03):
President Obama tells Congressional leaders that he hopes to work together on an agreement that will reduce our deficit in a balanced way while making sure that middle-class families are able to get ahead.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"Patty Murray, Saxby Chambliss 'This Week' Interview: David Petraeus Scandal, Obama's Budget Battle" (video)

ABCNews, video (12:09):
Two key senators on David Petraeus' resignation and the upcoming "fiscal cliff" negotiations.

"Hempfest opens Seattle store and office"

When the doors to Hempfest Central officially opened at 1 p.m. Friday, there were more more than a dozen people in line at what previously had been a vacant Lake City storefront. The day before, as supporters turned out for a soft opening, the store did more than $2,000 in business. When Vivian McPeak and friends organized the first Hempfest in 1991, he never thought in a million years it would become as big as it is today -- with an office and retail store to promote hemp-based products and such pro-pot accoutrements as pipes and bongs. It all goes to support the continued existence of the three-day summer festival for which Hempfest is best known, the world's largest cannabis-law reform rally, which began in 1991 with 500 attendees under a different name. "Maybe I would have paced myself if I had known it would be a 22-year experience," McPeak said with a laugh. MORE...

Mitt Romney 2.0 (with photo)

Alex Alvarez (MEDIAite):
Some people are still plenty curious about former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, it turns out. An image of Romney appearing to pump his own gas at a La Jolla, CA gas station was posted by Redditor mkb95 late last night, along with the observation that Romney “looks tired and washed up” and that “he didn’t have any security with him.” Mkb95 at one point clarified that this “was definitely not a negatively inspired post, I just thought it would interest some of you” and that “washed up =/= demonic.”
In the image, Romney appears much more casual than we’re used to seeing him on the campaign trail, his hair — usually so immaculately neat — tousled and his hands in his pockets.
Business Insider, for one, noted that many of the comments on the image have a “lay off the guy” tone to them.
Personally, if we were in Romney’s position, we’d want at least ten giant security people between us and any curious gawkers snapping photos while we wait at the gas station. Nobody needs to know about our penchant for gas station nachos.
Howie P.S.:  As calculating and dishonest as Willard is, I cannot help believing this is part of his latest attempted "redefinition." Actually it should be "5.0" or something.

"The Defense Digs up Dirt on Trayvon" (video)

TheLipTV, video (05:02):
In this REMIX clip, the Clemente Bros talk about the Trayvon Martin case and if it is immaterial to include the past of the murder victim into the courtroom as part of Zimmerman's defense.

"Law Enforcement Leaders Ask Department of Justice to Respect State Marijuana Laws"

Neill Franklin delivers a letter to the Department of Justice. 

There will be a teleconference for reporters interested in speaking with Mr. Franklin and other law enforcement signatories of the letter, as well as an NAACP leader, today at 12:00 PM ET. Please call 1-800-311-9403 (Passcode: "Marijuana"). Individual interviews are also available. The text of the letter delivered today to Eric Holder is online at

The signatories of the letter collectively represent more than 1,100 years of experience in law enforcement.  

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) is a group of police, judges, prosecutors, corrections officials and federal agents who, after witnessing the harms of the drug war firsthand, are now devoted to ending that war. More info at

"Costco CEO tells Obama, no more middle-class tax hikes"

Melissa Allison (Seattle Times):
President Obama spoke this past weekend with several prominent CEOs, including Costco Wholesale’s Craig Jelinek, who told him to avoid middle-class tax increases.--Costco Wholesale CEO Craig Jelinek told President Obama over the weekend that he supports efforts to compromise with Congress before the end of the year in a way that avoids tax increases on the middle class. With more than 115,000 U.S. workers and small-business customers employing thousands of workers who have “borne the brunt of the recession,” Jelinek said in a rare Costco news release that he told the president it would be “a particular burden on those working families to face higher income taxes.” MORE...

Monday, November 19, 2012

"Damn right, George Bush should face criminal proceedings for waterboarding"

A protest calling for the arrest of George Bush as he visited British Columbia, Canada in 2011 on a speaking engagement at an economic forum. Photograph: via Andy Worthington.  

Katherine Gallagher (GuardianUK-OpEd):
Though signatory to the convention against torture, Canada neglected to investigate George Bush. Will the UN now act?---One thing brings together these four men – Hassan bin Attash, Sami el-Hajj, Muhammed Khan Tumani and Murat Kurnaz: they are all survivors of the systematic torture program the Bush administration authorized and carried out in locations including Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantánamo, and numerous prisons and CIA "black sites" around the world. Between them, they have been beaten, hung from walls or ceilings, deprived of sleep, food and water, and subjected to freezing temperatures and other forms of torture and abuse while held in US custody.
None was charged with a crime. Two were detained while still minors. And one of them remains at Guantánamo.
This week, in a complaint filed with the United Nations committee against torture, they are asking one question: how can the man responsible for ordering these heinous crimes, openly enter a country that has pledged to prosecute all torturers regardless of their position and not face legal action? MORE...

"Progressive Talk saga in Seattle, CBS Sports radio a done deal at AM 1090"

Michael Hood (BlatherWatch):
Everyone else is calling it since the change in call letters from KPTK to KFNQ "the Fan"? this past week. CBS radio will roll out an aggressive Sports Radio format to push to their markets and CBS owned stations such as AM 1090, to go head to head, 24 hours a day, to compete with ESPN and FOX sports radio beginning Jan 2.
We hear the papers have already been signed.
What is not a done deal is if anyone will pick up the pieces of progressive talk in the Seattle market.  We'd like to believe the rumors that KLAY 1180, a locally owned station in Lakewood signing up Stephanie Miller and Ed Schultz along with other progressive hosts, to their talk format, but we understand it's only speculation.
They have told us they will know more on the 28th.  Plus their AM footprint is limited in reaching the 3 county area and beyond that the AM 1090 signal had.
Folks can still Internet stream other progressive talk stations, but will the two stations in the Seattle/Portland market to leave the format, signal other stations nationwide to bow out as well? MORE...

Horsey: "'Obama gifts' comment shows Romney is clueless about the real USA" (with cartoon)

Mitt Romney blames his defeat on Obama's 'gifts' (David Horsey / Los Angeles Times / November 18, 2012).

David Horsey (Los Angeles Times):
In a postmortem of his campaign, Mitt Romney blamed his loss on President Obama’s "gifts" to key voting groups, thereby demonstrating, one last time, how he does not understand the country he hoped to lead. Meanwhile, Paul Ryan's poor showing in his own hometown indicates how out of touch he is with the community he claimed to know so well. Maybe that lack of perception is one reason why these two aspirants for the highest offices in the land fell short of their goal. MORE...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bill Moyers: "Naomi Klein on Capitalism and Climate Change" (with video)

Bill Moyers with video:
Naomi Klein, author of the international bestseller The Shock Doctrine, says the tragic destruction of Hurricane Sandy can also be the catalyst for the transformation of politics and our economy. She’s been in New York visiting the devastated areas — including those where “Occupy Sandy” volunteers are unfolding new models of relief — as part of her reporting for a new book and film on climate change and the future, and joins Bill to discuss hurricanes, climate change, and democracy.
“Let’s rebuild by actually getting at the root causes. Let’s respond by aiming for an economy that responds to the crisis both [through] inequality and climate change,” Klein tells Bill. “You know, dream big.”

"“Fiscal Cliff” Fight A Gift To America’s Wealth Class"

 Farron Cousins (Ring of Fire):
The news is buzzing about talk of America falling off the “fiscal cliff,” as Republicans refuse to abandon their goals of giving the top 1% of Americans everything they’ve ever wanted. And if you’ve been paying attention, you know that the top 1% are doing just fine on their own, and Mike Papantonio recently spoke with author Les Leopold about how well the wealthy are doing compared to the rest of the country. The following is a transcript of that interview: MORE...

"Howard Dean's vindication, six years later"

Steve Benen (TheMaddowBlog):
Going into the 2006 midterms, then-chairman of the Democratic National Committee Howard Dean, pushed an ambitious plan that the party establishment strongly disliked. It was called the "50-state strategy."
The party believed limited DNC resources needed to be invested in key districts and swing states, but Dean envisioned a bottom-up party infrastructure literally everywhere in the country. The idea that the party would spend money on a ground game in non-competitive "red" states was seen as the height of madness, and the 50-state strategy led to some notorious shouting matches between Dean and then-DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel.
In the end, Dean executed his plan, and that year, Democrats won back the House and Senate. Barack Obama largely emulated the 50-state model two years later, en route to the White House.
And six years later, the right is starting to think Dean's model is worth emulating. MORE...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Economist: "Barack Obama is changing his most senior officials"

The Economist:
IT IS typical of the diplomacy displayed by Hillary Clinton over her four years as secretary of state that she contrived to be as far from Washington as possible—in Perth, Australia—as speculation about her successor reached full frenzy this week. Would Barack Obama pick Susan Rice, currently America’s ambassador to the United Nations, in spite of her embarrassing misrepresentation of the recent murder of American diplomats in Libya? Or might he opt for John Kerry, the chairman of the foreign-relations committee in the Senate, in spite of the risk that the Democrats might lose the subsequent by-election for his seat? And how might that decision affect the host of other cabinet jobs thought to be up for grabs? MORE...

"Obama in weekly address: Tax cuts. Take two. For reals. " (with video)

Susan Gardner (Daily Kos) with video (03:28) from "whitehouse":
President Obama urges Congress to act now on one thing that everyone agrees on -- ensuring that taxes don't go up on 98 percent of all Americans and 97 percent of small businesses at the end of the year. On Friday, the President had a constructive meeting with Congressional leaders on finding ways to reduce our deficit in a way that strengthens our economy and protects our middle class, and he looks forward to working together to get this done. MORE...

Friday, November 16, 2012

"“Seattle’s Progressive Talk” to be shut down; CBS Radio converting AM 1090 to sports" (Updated)

UPDATE: A source from Portland reveals:
A lot of Portland folk listen to KBOO (90.7 FM). It’s a combo of Progressive radio and music.

Andrew (Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate):
Last week, as we reported a few days ago, Clear Channel pulled the plug on progressive talk radio in Portland, converting AM 620 KPOJ (“Portland’s Progressive Talk”) to a Fox Sports affiliate after more than eight years of serving as a home for popular hosts like Thom Hartmann, Ed Schultz, Randi Rhodes, Norman Goldman, Rachel Maddow, Al Franken, and Sam Seder.
Now we’ve received confirmation that CBS Radio will be doing the same thing with AM 1090 in Seattle as of January 2nd, 2013.
On January 2nd, CBS (which used to be known as Viacom before it spun off several of its business units as a separate company called Viacom) plans to convert KFNQ, formerly KPTK, to the sports radio format, along with many other stations around the country. The apparent objective is to create a stronger network of sports radio stations so that CBS can better compete for national sports programming contracts.
Seattle, of course, already has plenty of stations offering sports talk. These include KRKO (broadcasting as Fox Sports Radio 1380), KIRO (broadcasting as 710 ESPN Seattle) and KJR (broadcasting as Sports Radio 950).
But CBS executives don’t care. As far as they’re concerned, AM 1090′s current format isn’t making enough money – so they’re going to completely trash it, just like Clear Channel did with AM 620 in Portland.
CBS hasn’t yet officially announced the change, and they haven’t authorized an on-air announcement or an explanation for AM 1090′s website, but staff in Seattle have been told that it is happening. And they have communicated the news to people they know (including many of AM 1090′s most loyal listeners).
So we know this isn’t a rumor.
Management at CBS claims that although progressive political talk has a dedicated core audience, the overall audience has been declining, both in our region and nationally. We haven’t seen any numbers backing up that assertion, but that is part of the justification for the format change that CBS Seattle staff have been given.
Those unfamiliar with the radio business might be surprised to know that AM 1090 has been through a lot of format shifts before. AM 1090 is Seattle’s third oldest-radio station; it began broadcasting in 1927 as KVL.
In 1947, Dorothy Bullitt launched KING AM on the frequency. KING AM was initially a NBC News affiliate; it also broadcast traditional pop music, jazz, and swing. In the 1970s, 1090 became “Musicradio 11 KING”, principally broadcasting hits from Billboard’s “Top 40″ chart. KING AM shifted to soft adult contemporary music in 1980, but ratings remained low, and two years later, the station stopped broadcasting tunes entirely due to the growing popularity of the FM band.
The station was relaunched in 1982 as KING NewsTalk 1090, with a slate of hosts that included Mike and Candace Siegel, Randy Rowland, Jim Althoff, Carl Dombek, Jeff Ray, and Pat Cashman (later one of the stars of Almost Live!). Fourteen years later, in 1994, the station quit paying all of its local talent and instead began carrying the Associated Press’ All News Radio. Not long after, the station was sold by the Bullitt family, and its call letters were changed nearly half a dozen times.
By 1996, 1090 AM was broadcasting country music, and it was bought by Infinity Broadcasting, which later became CBS Radio (a unit of Viacom, now CBS Corporation). Infinity experimented with a news talk format again after the turn of the century (with local talent such as Bob Rivers and Ron & Don), but pulled the plug after less than a year. 1090, which was by this time known as KYCW, returned to country music, and continued broadcasting that until October 2004, when it became KPTK (“Seattle’s Progressive Talk”).
Now the geniuses at CBS want to convert 1090 AM to a sports format. They figure the audience for sports programming is larger, and the station will be able to make more money by competing for that audience.
We wonder if they’ve done their homework. This is not a market that is currently under-served.
KJR already has Husky football and basketball; KIRO (AM + FM) has the Mariners, Sounders, and the Seahawks, and both stations also carry plenty of sports commentary and analysis in addition to games.
And as of a few weeks ago, sports fans in the Pacific Northwest have even less incentive to listen to games or analysis on the radio.
If they subscribe to Comcast cable, Frontier FiOS, or Dish Network, they can watch all the games that the likes of ESPN and Fox don’t decide to carry on the Pac-12 Networks, a family of television channels created by the Pacific 12 conference.
The Pacific 12 conference, as many readers know, consists of twelve schools, including Washington and Oregon’s four largest public universities. The schools collectively decided a couple of years ago that they could better monetize their athletic events by creating a broadcasting arm under their direct control.
Now that the Pac-12 Networks are live, college sports fans can watch far more games on TV than they could before. Each region of the conference has its own channel, and there’s also a national Pac-12 channel as well.
This is what CBS is up against. They’re making an extremely risky bet. By converting AM 1090, they lose the station’s current loyal audience and all the goodwill they have tried to cultivate over the years through “Precinct 1090″ and annual town hall forums. No other station in Seattle broadcasts progressive talk, which means that AM 1090 – in its present incarnation – has a niche.
And it has boosters, too. Many local activists have promoted the station for years with AM 1090 bumper stickers or window decals on their vehicles.
CBS executives are mistaken if they think this community of listeners, which their Seattle staff has worked hard to build, are going to stick around once the company turns its back on them by junking “Seattle’s Progressive Talk”.
At least CBS hasn’t made the switch yet, unlike Clear Channel. If you’re an AM 1090 listener who wants progressive talk to stay on the air in Seattle, you can voice your displeasure regarding CBS’ plans to its corporate office.
1271 Avenue of the Americas FL 44
New York, NY 10020
There’s also a Facebook page called “Keep Progressive Talk in Seattle” which you can become a fan of. The creator of the page is urging people to send postcards to CBS headquarters protesting the format change.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

WA: "Voters rewrite marijuana laws" (video)

MSNBC-"The Last Word"-video (05:45).

"Seattle Police Department publishes how-to guide for smoking pot legally"

Stephen C. Webster (Raw Story):
The Seattle Police Department on Friday published a how-to guide that explains the do’s and don’ts of marijuana legalization in the state. Written by a former writer for The Stranger, an alternative weekly newspaper in Seattle, readers might never guess it’s an official publication of the police department were it not for the .gov web domain. Despite the unprecedented nature of a major city’s police department releasing such a thing, it went completely under the radar until Thursday, when The Associated Press picked it up first. “Marijwhatnow? A Guide to Legal Marijuana Use In Seattle,” by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee, explains exactly how legal weed is going to work in Washington once the law is fully implemented. “While I-502 has decriminalized marijuana possession in Washington, the new state law does not change federal law, which classifies marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic,” the guide explains. “All Seattle Police officers have taken an oath to uphold not only state law, but federal law as well. However, SPD officers will follow state law, and will no longer make arrests for marijuana possession as defined under I-502.” MORE...

"Real Romney blames Obama 'gifts'" (video)

MSNBC-"The Last Word", video (10:20):
Ashley Parker, Joy Reid and Ari Melber join Lawrence O'Donnell.

"Obama gives no hint which way he’ll lean during second term"

Niall Stanage and Amie Parnes (The Hill):
Saying, “I didn’t get reelected to bask in reelection. I got elected to do work,” President Obama on Wednesday set out his stall for the first months of his second term. But he gave no clear hint about whether he would tack to the left or to the center now that he has run his last election campaign. On several big issues, including the fiscal cliff, immigration reform and climate change, the president’s comments at his first press conference since winning a second term in the Oval Office contained enough to buttress arguments both of those who say he is a reflexive left-winger and those who say, rather, that he is a pragmatic deal-maker. MORE...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"Wash. gov awaits federal decision on new pot laws"

In this Nov. 7 photo, a medical marijuana plant grows at the Northwest Patient Resource Center medical marijuana dispensary in Seattle. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File (AP):
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire said Tuesday the federal government still hasn't decided whether to take action to block new laws legalizing marijuana in her state and Colorado.
Gregoire met with Deputy Attorney General James Cole in Washington, D.C. She told Cole she would prefer to know "sooner rather than later," because Washington state is in the process of getting ready to decriminalize pot, which is still illegal under federal law.
"I told them, 'Make no mistake, that absent an injunction of some sort, it's our intent to implement decriminalization,'" Gregoire told The Associated Press. "I don't want to spend a lot of money implementing this if you are going to attempt to block it."
Initiative 502 passed last week with 55 percent of the vote in the state. It decriminalizes the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana beginning Dec. 6. The state would license the growing, processing and labeling of marijuana, but state officials have a year to come up with those rules before sales can begin.
Colorado also passed a measure legalizing the drug.
Federal lawyers are reviewing the two new state laws, trying to determine what their response will be, Gregoire said.
"It's not a simple analysis for them," she said. "There's a difference between our two initiatives, and they want to look at that. They clearly want to know how things are going to flow, how regulations develop, how enforcement would be taken, taxes would be gathered."
She said she pressed Cole as to whether the ultimate federal response would treat both Washington and Colorado the same way, and Justice Department officials indicated to her that that was their intent.
In Washington, home-growing marijuana for recreational reasons remains barred, as does the public display or use of pot. The measure also establishes a standard blood test limit for driving under the influence, and Gregoire says the head of the Washington State Patrol has to begin training officers to enforce that portion of the measure.
"He can't wait, he's got to start doing this," Washington's governor said.
Gregoire said she promised to keep the Justice Department fully informed as to the progress the state is making in implementing the new marijuana law.
Colorado's governor and attorney general spoke by phone Friday with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, with no signal whether the U.S. Justice Department would sue to block the marijuana measure.
If Colorado's marijuana ballot measure is not blocked, it would take effect by Jan. 5, the deadline for the governor to add the amendment to the state constitution. The measure allows adults to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, and six marijuana plants, though public use of the drug and driving while intoxicated are prohibited.
Colorado's new law also directs lawmakers to write regulations on how pot can be sold, with commercial sales possible by 2014.

"Obama Appeals To Activist Base For Help With Fiscal Cliff"

HuffPo ("Amanda Terkel contributed to this article"):
President Barack Obama made a direct, personal appeal to 30,000 of his top campaign activists on Tuesday night, asking them to stay involved in politics and to continue pressuring Republicans during upcoming tax and budget negotiations. "I'm so proud of what you guys accomplished and I will always be in awe and inspired by what you've done," the president said on the call, which the Huffington Post listened to. "So that's the good news. The bad news is our work can't stop now. Because as we learned in the first term, in some ways an election is just the beginning. It is not the end point. It is a means to a goal and that is to actually help families all across the country." The president, speaking from a White House phone, cautioned listeners to expect disappointments during his second term. As he has in the past, Obama warned that he was prepared to swallow some bitter pills during the negotiations, including some that would agitate the base. MORE...
Howie P.S.: I was on this call and this report pretty much gets it right.

Monday, November 12, 2012

"J.D. Salinger's Favorite Book"

Kenneth Slawenski (Dead Caufields):
Given the opportunity to ask J.D. Salinger one question in his later years most would have made a similar inquiry: “What have you been writing?” Few of us would have had the insight to ask a very different but equally telling question: “What have you been reading?”
That is exactly what happened in 1995 when the proprietor of the satellite TV company being used by Salinger at his Cornish, NH home inquired what the author considered his favorite book. Salinger not only answered the question, he also offered to lend his copy.
It might surprise some that Salinger’s best-loved book was The Landsmen by Peter Martin. Published in 1952 by Little, Brown, The Landsmen is described as a novel of Jewish-American roots set in a small village in Tsarist Russia at the end of the nineteenth century. Clearly, Salinger’s enthusiasm for Martin’s work evidences his interest in his own family heritage. The Landsmen depicts the very world in which Salinger’s grandfather grew up: the intricate but precarious tapestry of life once lived in small Jewish communities throughout the Russian Empire.
According to the recipient, “the best part of The Landsmen was the note” Salinger had slipped inside its covers. It reads as quintessential J.D. Salinger and can be viewed here or by clicking the small cover image that begins this post (Howie: go to  the "Dead Caulfields" link above).
Howie P.S.: As my daughter told me when she (and I) heard about this recently, "this is crazy," but my father wrote the novel described above. I knew my father the novelist and believe me, I'm no novelist.

Melissa Harris-Perry: "What Mandate Did Voters Give Obama?" (video)

MSNBC—Christie Thompson, with video (11:58) from Melissa Harris-Perry:
Contrary to conservative conspiracy theories, Barack Obama won by a bigger margin than JFK, Nixon, Carter and George W. Bush. But what are voters trying to tell him about their hopes for his second term? As executive editor Richard Kim put it, "they rejected the Romney/Ryan agenda...they rejected the idea that society is made of takers and givers." He joins Nation columnist Melissa Harris-Perry to piece apart what Obama's new mandate means for the future of progressive policy.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

"Obama Veterans Day Speech: President Honors Military Members" (with video)

HuffPo with video (01:20) @ the link
On this Veterans Day, President Barack Obama and first lady, Michelle, will host a breakfast with veterans at the White House. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden will also attend. Afterward, the president will visit Arlington National Cemetery to participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. He will also speak to those gathered in the Memorial Amphitheater. The first lady, the vice president and his wife will also attend Sunday's event.

"Sen. Murray: Dems would let Bush-era rates expire before taking ‘unfair deal’"

Meghashyam Mali (The Hill):
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on Sunday said Democrats were prepared to allow the expiration of all George W. Bush-era tax rates if Republican lawmakers objected to raising taxes on the wealthiest. “We can't accept an unfair deal that piles on the middle class and tell them they have to support it. We have to make sure that the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share,” said Murray on ABC”s “This Week.” Murray said one option would be to let the lower rates expire across-the-board and then return to the table next year with new talks on a tax-cut package. “So if the Republicans will not agree with that, we will reach a point at the end of this year where all the tax cuts expire and we'll start over next year. And whatever we do will be a tax cut for whatever package we put together. That may be the way to get past this,” said Murray. The Washington senator is likely to become chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee and previously served on the congressional “supercommitee,” which failed to finalize a deficit-reduction plan, which may trigger sequestration cuts in January 2013. Economists warn that the tax-rate rises and automatic spending cuts could bring another recession and both parties have said they hope to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff.” “Look, no one wants to go off the fiscal cliff. But a fair deal is absolutely critical here,” said Murray on Sunday. President Obama and Democrats have called for raising taxes on the wealthy to pay for the deficit-reduction plan, while Republicans want to extend the lower-Bush era rates across-the-board. The president will meet with lawmakers next week to begin talks on a deal and said he was “encouraged” last week when House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Republicans were open to new revenues in any such deal. Appearing with Murray, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) praised Boehner. “I thought he showed great leadership by saying that revenues need to be on the table,” said Chambliss. But Chambliss cautioned that new revenues needed to be matched with measures reforming entitlement programs and said the Bowles-Simpson model could provide a template for negotiators. “Bowles-Simpson said, look, eliminate all these tax credits and tax deductions. You can generate somewhere 1 to 1.2 trillion in additional revenue. You can actually lower tax rates by doing that,” said Chambliss.
 Kyung M. Song (Fairview Fannie):
Murray also focused on fielding female candidates this year. That paid off with four new Democratic female senators, including Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin. They, along with Republican Deb Fischer of Nebraska, will join a class of 20 female senators in January, breaking the record of 18 in the last Congress. Murray believes the infusion of estrogen — Democratic and Republican — will bring a much-needed propensity for bipartisanship. "I think that dynamic will really help move us to solve some of the problems that have been plaguing us for a long time," she said. MORE...