Sunday, March 31, 2013

"High court poised to upend civil rights policies"

Associated Press/Eric Gay - In this March 5, 2013 photo, University of Texas senior Bradley Poole poses for a photo on campus near the Martin Luther King Jr. statue in Austin, Texas. Poole, an advertising major, became president of the school's Black Student Alliance, seeking camaraderie after noticing he often was the only African-American in his classes. In two pivotal legal cases, one on affirmative action and another on voting rights, a divided U.S. Supreme Court may be poised in the coming weeks to rule that racism is largely a relic of America's past. The question is apt as the nation nears a demographic tipping point, when non-whites become the country's majority for the first time.

Hope Yen (AP):
In the seven or so states that enacted bans on affirmative action at their public universities, freshman enrollments of blacks and Hispanics almost always fell afterward — as much as 50 percent at UCLA and the University of California, Berkeley — although in some cases they later rebounded. Those states now include Arizona, California, Florida, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Washington. A Supreme Court ruling that further restricts affirmative action could shake up college admissions policies nationwide, perhaps shifting focus to low-income students or low-performing schools. MORE...

"White men have much to discuss about mass shootings"

Charlotte Childress and Harriet Childress (WaPo op-ed):
Imagine if African American men and boys were committing mass shootings month after month, year after year. Articles and interviews would flood the media, and we’d have political debates demanding that African Americans be “held accountable.” Then, if an atrocity such as the Newtown, Conn., shootings took place and African American male leaders held a news conference to offer solutions, their credibility would be questionable. The public would tell these leaders that they need to focus on problems in their own culture and communities.
But when the criminals and leaders are white men, race and gender become the elephant in the room. Nearly all of the mass shootings in this country in recent years — not just Newtown, Aurora, Fort Hood, Tucson and Columbine — have been committed by white men and boys. When white men try to divert attention from gun control by talking about mental health issues, many people buy into the idea that the United States has a national mental health problem, or flawed systems with which to address those problems, and they think that is what produces mass shootings. But women and girls with mental health issues are not picking up semiautomatic weapons and shooting schoolchildren. Immigrants with mental health issues are not committing mass shootings in malls and movie theaters. Latinos with mental health issues are not continually killing groups of strangers. MORE...

Saturday, March 30, 2013

WA: "Booth Gardner: A visionary who loved junk food"

Joel Connelly (
TACOMA — The old saying is that a person dies twice, once physically and again when others stop telling stories about him or her. A Saturday memorial service for former two-term (1985-93) Gov. Booth Gardner delivered an unmistakable message: Booth Gardner will never die. Gardner, who passed away at 76 earlier this month, was admired — but also loved. Ex-Gov. Christine Gregoire’s voice broke as she remembered her onetime boss as “a mentor, a friend and a really fun guy,” and Gardner’s long fight with Parkinson’s disease. U.S. Rep. Denny Heck wiped tears from his eyes remembering Gardner’s multiple personal kindnesses, saying: “Booth had time for everyone.” The celebration of Gardner’s life, at the University of Puget Sound, was a bipartisan blast from the past. MORE...
Howie P.S.: I worked on a few political projects that were either inspired, financed or endorsed by Booth Gardner. The description that comes to mind is a class operation.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Very Last Word (MSNBC): "Howard Dean on DOMA" (video)

MSNBC with video (01:07):
On Wednesday’s Very Last Word, former Gov. Howard Dean discussed the implications of the Supreme Court striking down DOMA.

WA: "Consultant: Tax revenues on pot won’t be half of what’s projected"

Bob Young (Seattle Times):
Washington’s new pot consultant has one overarching, discouraging message for lawmakers and state budget writers: don’t look at weed as an ATM. Potential tax revenues will probably be less than half of the $450 million that’s been projected, said Dr. Mark Kleiman, in a interview Thursday night with TVW’s Austin Jenkins. More important, Kleiman said, to rely on money from pot — like money from gambling, alcohol and tobacco — means relying on abuse and addiction, which are not necessarily desirable state goals. “The brute fact,” said Kleiman, a UCLA drug policy expert, is that those activities depend on heavy use by a few, not moderate use by many. Just 20 percent of users consume 80 percent of all weed in the U.S., Kleiman said. (Forty-six percent of all alcohol consumed in the U.S. is part of drinking binges, he added). “The only way to get a lot of revenue is to sell a lot,” he said. “The only way to sell a lot is to sell to people who use a lot.” Policy-makers may not want the state “fostering disease,” he said. But Kleiman stressed he is not the state’s drug czar and is not here to argue legalization. “We weren’t asked if this was good idea. We were asked to help the (liquor control) board implement a law that had been passed,” he said. In doing so, Kleiman suggested one coming disappointment: State-licensed pot stores probably won’t open until late spring, although the state may meet its goal of implementing rules for a recreational pot system by December. The trickiest part, Kleiman said, will likely be setting prices. There are many tangled priorities implicit in pricing. Higher prices means less use, but also less revenue, and a stronger black market. Lower prices could cripple the black market but increase youth use and adult abuse, as well as exports. As an academic and Californian, Kleiman said he was glad to see this grand experiment unfold in Washington not California. He’s said he’s been impressed by the smarts and morale of state officials. ”We’re obviously pleased that drug policy that doesn’t take an ideological edge is in demand,” he said of winning the state’s consulting contract. “It hasn’t been.” And he stressed that this remains a state experiment that could be challenged at any time by a federal government that views marijuana as a dangerous drug. “We’re only trying to cause a legal market because the federal government is in the background.”

Thursday, March 28, 2013

"Projected annual revenue Mexican drug cartels stand to lose from pot legalization in Colorado and Washington : $1,400,000,000"

"Legalizing marijuana: Initiative 502 — The movie" (with video)

Joel Connelly ( with video (02:39):
“Evergreen: The road to legalization in Washington” was a hit when screened Sunday night at the home of TV travel guru Rick Steves, and hopefully will be coming soon to your cable TV screen or a Seattle movie screen. After all, the Emerald City hosts, in Hempfest, the largest marijuana legalization event in North America. “The film isn’t so much about pot as politics,” director Riley Morton says of the 82-minute flick. It follows the 2012 campaign for Initiative 502, which sought to free one state from an odious, counterproductive, hurtful and vastly expensive aspect of the “War on Drugs” — arrests for possessing small amounts of marijuana. The campaign to legalize, regulate and tax the growing and sale of marijuana to adults was mounted by physicians, lawyers, two former U.S. attorneys and the ex-head of Seattle’s FBI office. “It’s an important story,” Morton added. “What a groundbreaking change. What a huge problematic change. This was definitely NOT your usual stoners trying to legalize weed.” Indeed, at Hempfest, advocates of I-502 ran into vocal opposition from the medical marijuana industry, with shouting exchanges in what is normally the city’s mellowest summer festival. Morton and co-producer Nils Cowan were there to film it. “Evergreen” is, curiously, a film without an ending either happy or sad. The U.S. Department of Justice has yet to announce what it will do about I-502, which contravenes the federal Controlled Substances Act. Eight former bosses of the Drug Enforcement Administration have urged DOJ to head for a courtroom and overturn the initiative. After all, it challenges a 42-year-old bureaucracy that has wasted billions of dollars, arrested hundreds of thousands of people, and concentrated its enforcement efforts against the young and specifically African-American and Latino youth. “It ends in a giant question,” said Cowan. And it borrows a phrase coined by Ronald Reagan, as it challenges his successor: “President Obama, tear down this wall.” “Obama is about as far as you can go after being a stoner in high school,” joked Cowan, referring to the future 44th president’s self-described use of marijuana (“and a little blow”) as a 1970s high school student in Honolulu. The film follows, from beginning to end, an 18-month campaign. It shows the super-respectable opening news conference, the fiery debates at Hempfest, and goes on the road to Spokane, Wenatchee and Leavenworth as Steves stumps for the initiative. I-502 penetrated the “Cascade Curtain” and won in places like Ferry, Okanogan and Whitman counties. The interviews range from campaign director (and ACLU drug policy director) Alison Holcomb to Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes; from Don Pierce of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs to Stranger city editor Dominic Holden; from ex-FBI agent-in-charge Charles Mandigo to Hempfest co-founder Vivian McPeak; as well as “marijuana suppliers and pot related businesses,” and “drug dealers and local citizens on the street.” “Evergreen” was a hand-to-mouth operation. Steves sent out an appeal for money to finish the project, which was completed, in Cowan’s words, with “a gift donation from Europe through the back door.” No strings were attached to the needed dollars. The co-producers are now seeking a distributor who will give “Evergreen” a national audience. They predict it will be seen “late spring to early summer.” Inaccurate to the point of self-parody and hilarity, the anti-marijuana movie “Reefer Madness” was nonetheless a promotional vehicle for the “War on Drugs” that President Richard Nixon launched in 1970. It sent thousands of people to jail. Nixon, of course, received a presidential pardon for his crimes in office. “Evergreen” deserves a national audience. It shows a path to common sense after a decades-long march of folly.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"180 Days: A Year Inside an American High School: Episode One" (video), with video (1:55:40):
This special gives space and breadth to our nation’s education reform debate by giving the audience a first-hand view of what happens in a school that meets the needs of the most challenged students in new and sometimes non-traditional ways.

Monday, March 25, 2013

TYT: "Is Medical Marijuana Too Strong?" (with video)

TheYoungTurks, with video (05:25):
"My brother is a weed scientist. Every weekday morning, he drives to work in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, throws on a lab coat with "Northwest Botanical Analysis" stitched over the pocket, and starts putting tiny samples of ganja through a gas chromatography machine, among other gadgets.* He tells breeders and the "dispensaries" that that currently distribute pot under the local medical marijuana system the potency of their various colorfully named strains as well as the relative amounts of the many subtly different compounds, called cannabinoids and terpenes, that make each one a different experience to smoke. He checks for mites, pesticides, and mold (a common problem with bud grown in Seattle's damp basements). These days, he's talking to the state Liquor Control Board as it works on the rules and regulations for retail sales of dope starting later this year."* Is medicinal marijuana too strong? Some say yes, that it's too much for them to use on a more casual basis, and that they want a much softer high from it. Is there a market for more subtle strains? Ana Kasparian, John Iadarola (TYT University), and Desi Doyen (Green News Report) discuss. MORE...

"Jim Carrey Mocks The Late Charlton Heston And Gun Nut Penises In ‘Cold Dead Hand’" (with video)

Tommy Christopher (MEDIAite) with video (05:55) from FunnyorDie:
Comic actor Jim Carrey riled conservatives up pretty good just by tweeting about his new anti-gun musical satire “Cold Dead Hand,” dedicating the then-forthcoming Funny or Die song to the “heartless motherf%ckers unwilling 2 bend 4 the safety of our kids.” MORE...

"David Rolf: The man who would make unions matter again"

"David Rolf, president of the state's powerful service employees union for health care workers, has a lonely job as one of the few labor leaders in the country to call for major changes in the way unions do business." 

Tyrone Beason (Seattle Times):
ONE DAY when David Rolf was a kid growing up in Cincinnati, his grandfather, a man with an eighth-grade education who'd worked at a General Motors plant in Ohio and read little more than the Bible, Reader's Digest and the United Auto Workers' Solidarity newsletter, posed a simple but important question. "Do you know why I have all this?" he said, looking around the house he'd bought with the income from his union job. Rolf thought the answer was because the powerful UAW had fought to secure good wages for its members. But his grandfather added a twist. "Because I walked a picket line three times," he answered finally. "What that taught me was that the union is the workers," Rolf says. The lesson seems obvious. But Rolf, president of the Seattle-based Local 775 of the Service Employees International Union for health-care workers, and current international vice president of SEIU, knows that unions today don't always act that way. MORE...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Frank Rich on the National Circus: How Iraq Wounded America"

"A US Marine covers the face of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's statue with the US flag in Baghdad's al-Fardous square 09 April 2003. The world was stunned when iconic images of US marines and Iraqis pulling down a statue of Saddam Hussein flashed across television screens. The toppling of the statue was immediately seized on as symbolising the overthrow of one of the world's most notorious despots. But four years later, some Iraqis say the symbol has turned into a sign of the brutal violence that has devastated their country. The square and its surroundings have changed dramatically since the launch of the invasion in March 2003." AFP PHOTO/Ramzi HAIDAR (Photo credit should read RAMZI HAIDAR/AFP/Getty Images)

 Frank Rich (New York Magazine):
We should not forget that (as with Vietnam) many Democrats in Washington eagerly signed on to the war plan, and that many “liberal” pundits succumbed quickly to the war fever sweeping the Beltway. The Washington Post editorial page was as fervently a proponent (and defender) of the war as The Wall Street Journal. Virtually every top news organization, from the Times to the broadcast network news divisions, was better at abetting than vetting the White House propaganda campaign that fictitiously tied Saddam Hussein to 9/11 and the threat of nuclear Armageddon. MORE...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"Washington State ‘Pot Czar’ On CNN Clearly Unamused By Erin Burnett’s Questions" (with video)

Andrew Kirell (MEDIAite) with video (03:48):
The man chosen to help Washington state implement its marijuana legalization policy appeared on CNN’s OutFront last night, and he was not amused by host Erin Burnett‘s line of questioning, dismissing her characterization of pot activists and, at one point, outright telling her: “That’s probably the wrong way to ask the question.” MORE...

Horsey: "Shooters rejoice: Feinstein's assault weapons ban is dumped" (with cartoon)

 David Horsey (Los Angeles Times):
Whether or not the assault weapons ban would make any difference is an open question. Even if it were law, it would not affect the 3.5 to 4 million military-type rifles that are already in private hands. Still, Feinstein and numerous military leaders and police chiefs argue it is patently crazy that such powerful weapons are so easily available. Their argument apparently is going nowhere. On Tuesday, Feinstein announced that her ban would not be part of a package of gun legislation that is heading to the Senate floor. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has told her the votes just are not there and he does not want to scuttle the rest of the bill by anchoring it to assault weapons. Feinstein’s proposal will still get voted on as an amendment, but Reid predicts it will be lucky to attract 40 votes in the 100-member Senate. Feinstein sounded a bit weary in defeat. “America has to stand up,” she said. “I can't fight the NRA. The NRA spends unlimited sums, backed by the gun manufacturers, who are craven in my view.” The political reality is that no gun legislation will make it through the Senate and House without the OK of the NRA, and that pretty much guarantees that tomorrow’s mass shooters will continue to have no trouble acquiring the legal means to their evil ends. MORE...

"50 Seattleites Who Are Changing the World"
Ed Murray State Senate Democratic Minority Leader, Age 57:
The state senator from Capitol Hill—and 2013 Seattle mayoral candidate—leads the defensive effort against the Republican coup in Olympia. The expert political tactician ushered a series of gay rights laws through the state legislature, culminating last year with the gay marriage bill and the only successful tax increase in the last decade (a gas tax to pay for transportation infrastructure, which like the gay marriage law was also affirmed by a public vote). Watch for Murray to not only trip up the GOP agenda but to maneuver some more liberal items through the legislature as well.
NEXT MOVE He’s pushing for a capital gains tax. And his run for mayor will elevate the debate from picayune neighborhood squabbling to bigger issues of governance. MORE...

Howie P.S.: C. R. Douglas, Sally Jewell, Alison Holcomb, Suzan DelBene, and Reuven Carlyle are some of the other "political" figures on the list.

Monday, March 18, 2013

WA: "State’s First Big Marijuana Grow Operation is Announced, and Here’s the Fun Part – It’s in a Public Building"

Erik Smith (Washington State Wire):

OLYMPIA, March 16.—Here’s a sign of how the world has changed since Washington voters passed a first-of-its kind marijuana-legalization initiative last November. A Seattle entrepreneur has taken out a lease for what he hopes will become a big indoor grow operation. Unthinkable enough just a few months ago, but get this: He’ll be growing the once-forbidden fruit in a public building.
Seattle restaurateur Marcus Charles will take over a part of vacant sawmill complex at the Port of Willapa Harbor in Raymond, Wash., a coastal community hard-hit by decades of downturn in the lumber industry. Port officials say Washington’s new cannabis industry is a good fit. They have the buildings. Charles has the capital. And isn’t that the way economic development is supposed to work?
And so, under the brave new world created by Washington’s Initiative 502, it looks like all that campaign talk about green jobs is coming true. It’s just not what political leaders had in mind during the last campaign when they were talking about windmills and soybean-powered airplanes. “We appreciate that there are no odors, no wastewater, no on-and-on,” said port manager Susan Chaffee. “But for us it is the jobs. It is the jobs.
“We have lost jobs and lost jobs, and we have high unemployment. We are losing our young people, we are losing our family-age working people, and our population is aging. We are the classic rural community that is just struggling to survive. We no longer have shipping, we no longer have rail, we don’t have good highway access – I mean, the list of what we don’t have goes on and on. But we do like living here. It is a nice community, and we think this could provide an opportunity for us.”
An Evergreen-State Business Opportunity
Where marijuana once was rather frowned upon, to say the least, you can definitely say there’s a new attitude in business and government. Initiative 502, one of two marijuana-legalization initiatives approved in this country last year, opens the door to legal investment in a business that already generates well over $1 billion in sales ever year. This state arguably is further along than Colorado, because the legalization measure in the Mile-High State did not prescribe the new market structure with the same level of detail. In Washington, I-502 created an intricate taxation scheme and a “three-tier” market structure for production, processing and retailing, much like that which exists for alcoholic beverages nationwide. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but unless the feds go to court to snuff the budding industry, state officials expect to finish drafting regulations in June and begin awarding production licenses. The grow season for Washington’s new cash crop might begin as soon as August.
Enter Marcus Charles, a successful entrepreneur in the restaurant and bar trade in the Seattle area. Charles, 39, has launched a series of bars and restaurants in Seattle since age 23, starting with Pioneer Square’s Marcus’ Martini Heaven. Currently he operates the Crocodile, a music venue, and the nearby Local 360 restaurant and bar. “It seems kind of weird talking about it, because it has been such a taboo, but how often does a new industry present itself in a lifetime?”
Charles says it’s all about business. Marijuana really wasn’t on his mind during last year’s initiative campaign – and he certainly wasn’t part of the political movement that gathered the signatures that placed the measure before the Legislature last year and ultimately forwarded the issue to the ballot. “I personally have no great passion about marijuana,” he said. “I am not a big smoker. I did not vote for the initiative. I was just indifferent.”
But when it got 55 percent of the vote – that’s when he sat up and took notice. “I think there’s a business opportunity here, and I think my skill set is suited to it.”
A Thumbs-Up From Government
Former sawmill office at the Raymond facility that will provide headquarters location.
"Former sawmill office at the Raymond facility that will provide headquarters location." MORE...

Sunday, March 17, 2013

WA: "Background checks on gun buyers: Only by initiative — legislators"

                                                            Rep. Ross Hunter  

Joel Connelly (
REDMOND — The state Senate has moved to protect parking spaces for the charging of electric cars, but a statewide initiative will be needed to force criminal background checks on those purchasing firearms at gun shows or in private sales, a crowd at Redmond City Hall learned Saturday from 48th District legislators. “I am not a fan of initiatives, (but) this may be something that needs to happen that way,” said influential State Rep. Ross Hunter, D-48. The packed house was because of the appearance of renegade Democratic state Sen. Rodney Tom, who has combined with the upper chamber’s Republicans to form a conservative coalition. But it was in the Democratic-run House that legislation requiring background checks for gun purchasers died last week, even as the Colorado Legislature gave approval to a similar bill. “We had a major disappointment in the House Wednesday when we tried a pretty reasonable approach on background checks,” said Hunter. The measure ended up two votes short of the 50 needed for passage: There are 54 Democrats in the House. MORE...

Copenhagen: "Life after cannabis prohibition: The city announces its ambitions"

"Seattle city attorney Peter Holmes argues that the US government will soon have no choice but to decriminalise cannabis." (Photo: Peter Stanners)

 Peter Stanners (The Copenhagen Post):
The Copenhagen Model will challenge the convention more directly, however, by decriminalising the possession and sale of cannabis. This approach more closely follow the strategy of the US state of Washington, where in November 2012, voters passed a law that legalised the possession and cultivation of cannabis. Seattle's city attorney, Peter Holmes, explained that the initiative passed by promising voters that cannabis would be heavily taxed and regulated. MORE...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

"GOP Sequester regrets" (video)

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

MSNBC-The Last Word, video (08:57). Sam Stein and Ryan Grim chew the fat.

"Elizabeth Warren Rips NRA And GOP For ‘Keeping The Game Rigged’" (with video)

Jason Sattler (The National Memo) with video:
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) used her speech at the Consumer Federation of America Thursday to make a wide-ranging argument defending the role of government and ripping Republicans and the National Rifle Association for intentionally keeping the American public in the dark.
After calling out the NRA’s “armies of lobbyists [that] are fighting to rig the system so that the public remains in the dark,” the senior senator from Massachusetts attacked the organization’s efforts to stop public research into gun violence.
“If as many people were dying of a mysterious disease as innocent bystanders are dying from firearms, a cure would be our top priority,” Warren said. “But we don’t even have good data on gun violence. Why? Because the NRA and the gun industry lobby made it their goal to prevent any serious effort to document the violence.” MORE...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

WSLC: "Legislative Update: Enough to make you sick"

the STAND:
When it comes to policy bills, the story of the 2013 legislative session may wind up being neatly summarized by the fates of bills regarding whether people who work in this state should be able to stay home from work when they’re sick. MORE...

President Obama: "I'm no Dick Cheney on drones"

Josh Gerstein and Manu Raju (Politico)
President Barack Obama’s defense to Democratic senators complaining about how little his administration has told Congress about the legal justifications for his drone policy: Dick Cheney was worse. That’s part of what two senators in the room recounted of Obama’s response when, near the outset of his closed-door session with the Senate Democratic conference on Tuesday, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) confronted the president over the administration’s refusal for two years to show congressional intelligence committees Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel memos justifying the use of lethal force against American terror suspects abroad. MORE...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

WA: "What we want from new marijuana rules" (with photo gallery)

Facing the daunting task of establishing a legal market for marijuana, the Washington State Liquor Control Board has sought help from residents to create the rules and regulations to control the market and supply the marijuana.
Specifically, the board has to first set up the rules for the “marijuana producer” license created by I-502. The comment period for this stage of implementing the initiative will continue until the first draft is done, sometime this spring.
The state plans several more rounds of public hearings and comment periods when the rules for producers as well as retailers are in draft form.
The board conducted public hearings in towns and cities around the state and also asked residents to submit their ideas in writing. We received a copy of the hundreds of written submission through a public record request and sifted out the ones we thought best represented the themes and tone of those letters.
In the gallery above (@the link),you’ll find our estimation of what were the highest concerns and most common suggestions as well as a few surprises. MORE...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ryan's Tax Plan: "Trickle Down Tricks" (video)

MSNBC-NOW! with Alex Wagner, video (10:52). Ezra Klein and Ari Melber chew the fat.

“Suit and Tie” (video)

SNL-video via Drew Grant (New York Observer) (05:27):
We knew this weekend’s Saturday Night Live would be good–Justin Timberlake being to the variety show what fruit and sprinkles are to plain frozen yogurt … just something that you know will make the whole supposed treat actually delicious–but did we know it was going to be history-making? Probably not. From Lorne Michaels lifting the Chevy Chase ban to the Jay-Z duet, the return of Stefon, Andy Samberg AND the classic Festrunk brothers, Mr. Timberlake proved once again he’s the consummate entertainer: a song-and-dance man who also can also land a punchline. MORE...
Howie P.S.: I believe this version of "Suit and Tie" (above) is gush-worthy.

Monday, March 11, 2013

"The five biggest lies about entitlement programs"

Michael Hiltzik (Los Angeles Times):
Everybody loves lists. Most of those you see in the papers or online tend toward the inconsequential (The Six Best "Fast & Furious" Movies). So here's a list with a bit more gravitas: The five biggest lies you're being told about entitlement programs. MORE...

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

"Police reforms mired in mayor, city attorney power struggle" (with video)

Luke Ducey, with video (03:21)from KOMO-TV via
Pressure is building among two powerful city leaders and the man tasked with overseeing changes to the Police Department. It all stems from Merrick Bobb's plan for Seattle police officers, which was released on Tuesday. Bobb was appointed by the federal government to make sure SPD implements a slew of reforms put forth after a Department of Justice investigation found officers using excessive force. In Bobb's report, which was filed on Tuesday, he details plans to change the way the department defines, reports, investigates and reviews use-of-force claims against officers. What's yet to be determined is whether any city leaders will agree with Bobb's plan. Bobb, Mayor Mike McGinn and City Attorney Pete Holmes have been bickering back and forth about the changes for some time. MORE...

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Palast: "Vaya con Dios, Hugo Chàvez, mi Amigo"

Greg Palast:
For BBC Television, Palast met several times with Hugo Chàvez, who passed away today. As a purgative for the crappola fed to Americans about Chavez, my foundation, The Palast Investigative Fund, is offering the film, The Assassination of Hugo Chavez, as a FREE download. Based on my several meetings with Chavez, his kidnappers and his would-be assassins, filmed for BBC Television. DVDs also available. Media may contact Palast at interviews (at) Venezuelan President Chavez once asked me why the US elite wanted to kill him. My dear Hugo: It's the oil. And it's the Koch Brothers – and it's the ketchup. MORE...

Melissa Harris-Perry panel on Charlie Brown and the sequester: "Who can resolve the man-made crisis?" (video)

MSNBC-Melissa Harris-Perry, video (06:15).

Politico: "Patty Murray tries to unite Dems on budget plan"

"Patty Murray has enlisted a team of aides to defend her plan." (AP Photo)

Manu Raju (Politico):
The talking point is on the tip of virtually every Republican’s tongue in the Capitol: Democrats have failed to pass a budget resolution in the Senate for more than 1,400 days. Sen. Patty Murray is trying to end that, but it hasn’t been easy. Heading into a decisive week of private meetings with fellow Democrats, the new Budget Committee chairwoman is trying to thread the needle between red-state senators who want deeper spending cuts and liberals worried about cutting too much into entitlement programs like Medicare. The Washington Democrat also has enlisted a team of aides to defend her plan while attacking the GOP proposal coming from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). MORE...

Monday, March 04, 2013

"After Aaron": Late Activist’s Campaign for Open Internet Continues at Freedom to Connect Conference" (with video)

Democracy Now! with video:
We broadcast live from the Freedom to Connect conference, a national gathering to promote Internet freedom and universal connectivity. It comes as the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act has been reintroduced in the House, calling for a "cybersecurity" exception to existing privacy law that would give immunity to companies that hand over troves of confidential customer records and communications to the National Security Agency, FBI and Department of Homeland Security. Last year at this same conference, Aaron Swartz, the late cyber activist, computer programmer, social justice activist and writer who committed suicide earlier this year, gave the keynote address, in which he described the battle to defeat the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA. Swartz took his own life at the age of 26 just weeks before he was to go on trial for using computers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to download millions of copyrighted academic articles from JSTOR, a subscription database of scholarly papers. JSTOR declined to press charges, but prosecutors moved the case forward. Swartz faced up to 35 years in prison and a million dollars in fines for allegedly violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. After his death, federal prosecutors dropped the charges. We are joined by Darcy Burner, who opens today’s conference with her "After Aaron" address. She worked with him on several projects, including, which she formerly directed, as well as the Progressive Congress Action Fund. She is also one of the biggest self-described geeks to run for U.S. Congress, having run for office three times in Washington State. [includes rush transcript]

"Bob Woodward and the Rules of Washington Morality" (with video)

Michael Tomasky (The Daily Beast) with video (00:53):
Rule One: When information is being injected into the discourse, the content of the information is far less important than the stature of and/or establishment’s feeling about the person injecting the information. You could be as prescient as old Tiresias bumping his way around Thebes, but if the Washington bigwigs have never heard of you or haven’t already given you their seal of approval, you’re wasting your time. However, if you already possess said seal of approval, you can say pretty much anything, and you will be taken seriously. MORE...

Friday, March 01, 2013

WA: "Public safety concerns voiced at marijuana meeting" (Yakima Herald Republic)

Pat Muir (Yakima Herald Republic):
A pot-leaf T-shirt here and there notwithstanding, the state Liquor Control Board’s town-hall-style meeting Thursday on how to implement marijuana legalization wasn’t much different than any large government-hosted public forum. MORE...