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RainDog's Journal
RainDog's Journal
May 28, 2012

Creationism Bills Defeated!


Three anti-science bills that would have severely set back the education of students in Oklahoma died quietly last week when the legislative session came to an end.

Among the bills that were killed includes:

SB 1742, which would have allowed teachers to challenge evolution using the Biblical theory known as creationism.

HB 1551 died previously in early April. That bill amounted to a full-fledged attack on climate change and evolution. Republican state Rep. Steve Russell attempted to amend an unrelated education bill, called HB 2341, to include the anti-science language of HB 1551 but that also failed.

With the end of the legislative session, all of these efforts to force creationism into science classrooms have been defeated meaning science has once again prevailed in another Republican dominated state. Earlier this month, science scored victories over creationism in Missouri and Alabama.

But there's good news and bad news...


good news: that bill failed to pass the vote. The bad news? It only failed 7-9. Nearly half the people in the state’s Education Committee felt it would be OK (haha) for students to fail to learn actual science, and not be penalized for it.

And Kern, the bill’s sponsor, will no doubt not take this defeat lying down. She has a long, long history of blatant anti-reality leanings — she once compared being gay to having cancer — and I’m sure she’ll be proposing some new version of nonsense soon.

But there’s some hope. Fred Jordan, another member of the Education Committee, said,

"We’re opening the door for teachers to kind of say whatever they want to say, whether it’s religious issues, creation, evolution. I really feel like we’re opening the door to where any and everything can come in."
May 27, 2012

Romney: Clueless Drug Warrior


...not that people didn't already know this.

At a recent campaign stop in Colorado, a CBS news reporter questioned Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney on a number of issues relevant to Centennial State voters. Among them was marijuana. Romney, appearing visibly agitated, did not take kindly to the inquiry.

“Aren't there issues of significance that you'd like to talk about?” Romney barked, before veering off into prototypical Reefer Madness territory: “I think marijuana should not be legal in this country. I believe it is a gateway drug to other drug violations. The use of illegal drugs in this country is leading to terrible consequences in places like Mexico -- and actually in our country.

hmmm. actually, Democrats are no better than Republicans on the issue of addressing the failure of the WoD in Latin America by refusing to discuss options other than the current failure, sadly.

anyway, Romney-

2007 New Hampshire

Romney: Industrial Hemp? huh?

Here ya go, Rmoney - http://www.industrialhemp.net/

back to that original link:

In Colorado alone, an estimated 100,000 residents are authorized to grow and possess cannabis for therapeutic purposes under state law, including some 15 percent of all residents living in the Mile High City. (Nationwide, well over one million Americans are now estimated to be using marijuana medicinally in compliance with the laws of their states, 17 of which now recognize the medical utility of pot.) In recent years, Colorado state officials have licensed several hundred brick-and-mortar retail outlets to dispense cannabis – a move that has allowed for the creation of several thousand local jobs and has raised several millions of dollars in new revenue. (Two other states, Maine and New Mexico, also presently license medical marijuana dispensaries; four additional states – Arizona, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont – as well as the District of Columbia, are presently in the process of doing so.) And this coming November, at the same time voters will be deciding their next President, Coloradoans will also be deciding the fate of A 64 – a constitutional amendment that seeks to allow for the legalization and regulation of cannabis for all adults. Yet, to hear Romney tell it, American voters don’t particularly care about cannabis.

Well, not according to Ellen Rosenblum or Kamala Harris - who won their elections by appealing to pro-mmj voters.

Rosenblum's election: Holton enjoyed the avid support of Oregon’s law enforcement community as well as a fundraising advantage. In a typical election for attorney general, that would have been a hard combination to beat.

“Dwight got painted as a conservative and Ellen a liberal,” said Jack Roberts, former Oregon Labor Commissioner. “I don’t think those labels were entirely fair to either candidate. But Ellen was able to take advantage.”

Halfway through the race, Holton seemed to have all the momentum.

The race took a surprising turn in April after the pro-marijuana legalization camp threw its support to Rosenblum.


Harris' election: California Attorney General’s race has significant implications for the distribution of medical cannabis in California, as Cooley had pledged to prosecute dispensaries that engage in over-the-counter cash sales of marijuana to authorized patients.

By contrast, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris has previously voiced strong support for protecting the legal rights of patients who use cannabis medicinally, stating, “We will not prosecute people who use or sell marijuana for medicinal purposes.”


Harris, on recent crackdowns: Federal prosecutors should be careful not to overreach in their crackdown on California's pot dispensaries, even though there are ambiguities in the state's medical marijuana laws, the state attorney general said Thursday.

The law passed 15 years ago by California voters has ambiguities that must be resolved either by the state Legislature or the courts, state Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a statement.

However, Harris said she was worried that "an overly broad federal enforcement campaign will make it more difficult for legitimate patients to access physician-recommended medicine in California."

or this

74% of Voters, Across the Political Spectrum: Stop Interfering with State MMJ laws

and back to that original link:

One would think that candidate Romney would be learning from these life lessons, but he isn’t. Neither is his party. Last week, House Republicans led the charge to defeat a bipartisan budgetary amendment that sought to limit the use of taxpayers’ dollars to fund Department of Justice and DEA operations targeting medical marijuana consumers and operators who are compliant with state law. (During the floor debate, Republican Congressman Frank Wolf of Virginia likened the physician-supervised, state-authorized use of medicinal cannabis to that of engaging in “sexual trafficking.”) Two-hundred-and-twelve Republicans (88 percent of GOP House members who cast votes) decided against the measure, which was ultimately defeated 262 to 163. (Ironically, during Romney’s CBS interview, he specifically referred to marijuana as a “states issue;” apparently the majority of his political brethren in Congress disagree.)

Unfortunately, President Obama has not staked out a position to appeal to the 74% - but he can surely evolve on this issue, as he has on others. He needs to recognize the time has come.

Romney - well, d'uh. He and his party just will not. This is NOT a "Nixon goes to China" issue - this is an issue that Democrats need to recognize, in the same way they recognized women's rights and civil rights and gblt rights - as an issue that matters to a core constituency of their voters and act accordingly.
May 26, 2012

Young Turks (Penn Jillette rant) Obama's Hypocrisy About Marijuana

Cenk Uygur: "We magically hit a tipping point in marijuana... the country is done with it... the war on drugs, making marijuana illegal.. we've hit the tipping point and we're done with it."

As I've said here before - no, this is not the number one issue for many people - but it is an issue for people who have a need for medical marijuana, for young people who don't want to face consequences that Jillette mentions, and for those who do not find any constitutional, scientific, or rational reason for this prohibition.

Obama needs to evolve on this issue. He doesn't need to look like one of the privileged who got away with something who is now callous to the damage current laws can do to others.
May 24, 2012

David Simon on his Commencement Speech at Georgetown


"And every day, it seems, the headlines offer fresh examples of the greed and selfishness with which my generation has laid waste to its own possibilities. And it doesn’t end with Wall Street’s kleptocracy. In the world at large, we have proclaimed ourselves to be a peace-loving nation, yet we wage prolonged wars of choice. We declare our devotion to free and open markets, yet time and again unrestrained capitalism, while an effective tool for generating short-term profit, proves itself a useless metric for calibrating a just and inclusive society. We insist that we are still a great people, that an American Century is still to come, yet many of us feel no call to citizenship if citizenship has any actual cost. Even during wartime, with our armies afield, we whine about paying taxes, though our tax rates are the lowest in modern American history. Meanwhile, though less prone to overt racism, we have nonetheless abandoned the precepts of upward mobility for all Americans, conceding the very idea of public education, of equality of opportunity. And as our society further stratifies, as the rich get richer and the poor become less and less necessary to our de-industrialized economy, we wage a war against our underclass under the guise of drug prohibition, turning America into the jailingest society on the face of the earth. And as to reform? As to the political leadership and responsive government? That hardly seems possible when our high court permits capital to purchase our electoral process at wholesale prices.

Am I’m bringing you down with all of this stuff? Am I bumming you out? I can’t help it. I’m sorry. But hey, if you watched The Wire, or Generation Kill, or Treme – then you knew I was gonna go there, right? Those are angry narratives. They are saying angry things about the American future.

And now, forgive me, that future is yours. And Woody Allen’s clever turn-of-phrase, once played for laughs, now has a real and ugly echo, doesn’t it?

For starters, my generation probably owes yours an apology. Because, hey, we definitely shanked it. We choked. We let ourselves get distracted with greed, with gloss, with the taste of the bread and the glitz of the circuses. We took our eyes off the prize – which was always this:

There cannot be two American experiments, one for the fortunate and another for the rest. All of us must share the same future – like it or not. For the republic to long endure, there must be a real American collective and all of us must have some stake in that collective."

May 23, 2012

56% of Americans support FULL legalization of marijuana - newest Rasmussen poll

cross post from Dream smoker in the Drug Policy Forum so that more people will see this - http://www.democraticunderground.com/1170518#post5


Neill Franklin, a retired Baltimore narcotics cop and the executive director of advocacy group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, sees the poll as a political weather vane pointing toward the future.

"Polling now consistently shows that more voters support legalizing and regulating marijuana than support continuing a failed prohibition approach," he said in a statement Tuesday. "Yet far too many politicians continue to act as if marijuana policy reform is some dangerous third rail they dare not touch. If the trends in public opinion continue in the direction they are going, the day is not far away when supporting a prohibition system that causes so much crime, violence and corruption is going to be seen as a serious political liability for those seeking support from younger and independent voters. Savvy forward-looking politicians are already beginning to see which way the wind is blowing."

Indeed, the Rasmussen poll is far from the first to find the majority support legalizing marijuana.

May 22, 2012

A summary of some moments in feminist history and "waves"

The terms 1st, 2nd and 3rd waves were created by feminists who thought the feminist movement of the 1960 and 70s left out large portions of the female population, specifically, all of those who weren't white and upper or middle class and straight.

Though critique of this privilege given to (mostly) suburban white female issues began earlier, by the 1990s, with a variety of input from women of color, homosexual and trans women, women in 3rd world nations, and even punk Riot Grrrls with zines - some women thought the focus of feminism was too small - not inclusive enough.

1st wave feminism: voting rights, property rights, birth control (that existed at the time - condoms or sponges and, just as important, education about sexuality and how to prevent conception.)

2nd wave feminism: sexual freedom, legislative work to change sexist law, integration into the workplace, equal funding, integration into the political arena

3rd wave feminism: sexual freedom, inclusion of gendered females, diversity, inclusion of women of color and women from other cultures - plus the issues surrounding both 1st and 2nd wave feminism.

1st wave feminism is generally thought of in terms of the Suffrage Movement (gaining the right to vote.) That places it within the 19th and 20th century.

However, even before this, women, such as Mary Wollstonecraft (mother of the woman who wrote Frankenstein, fwiw), who came of age during the revolutionary period in America and France, wanted the ideas of the Enlightenment extended to females in society. Back then, a female could not obtain an education beyond things that she could use to run a household, for the most part.

There were exceptions, such as Ida Lovelace (after Wollstonecraft), but the rule was that females were purposely kept ignorant - in the same way that slaves were purposely kept uneducated. She wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, that talked about the sexism (that did not have a name at that time) that controlled the way in which society functioned, just as monarchy and the church controlled all of European society.

Wollstonecraft was British, but she is one of the most influential "mothers" of western feminism because of her writings that recognized women had no place to go in society, except under the control of a male. She argued that women were capable of receiving an education without becoming immoral and that society benefited by educating women as well as men. She ran a school, helped a friend escape from an abusive husband, helped an American lover smuggle stolen goods from French aristocrats to finance the French Revolution, traveled alone with her illegitimate child and wrote about it, viewed and wrote about The Terror first hand, and was a friend of leading intellectuals of the day in GB and the newly founded U.S. - like John Adams, Joseph Priestly, and the founder of anarchism, William Godwin.

There were a lot of parallels between the position of women and slaves - though, of course, the color of a white woman's skin still gave her more options, even tho narrow, than a black man or woman in America. Nevertheless, because of religion, for the most part, women were forced to remain second-class citizens for longer than black men - who gained the right to vote before any woman.

Suffragettes were attacked in the streets for demanding the right to vote. By men. They were vilified by politicians and preachers - just as any social change is attacked today. With the 1920s, women were divided on issues like prohibition, but, in order to exist in "polite society" women could either be "good" or "whores" - i.e. go to speakeasies or sit home. This same sort of division existed long before this time - it's a division put in place by religious views. Even the suffragettes failed to account for their own privilege. They tried to exclude women of color, like Ida B. Wells.

(Imo, btw, religion has been one of the chief causes of oppression for women across societies and time. you see it now. you saw it then. you saw it when some asshole was blaming women for opening Pandora's Box or offering Adam an apple. Wollstonecraft, back in the day, recognized this and said that, as a culture we need to get away from the "myths of Prometheus" and move to rational thought.

Anyway, then, in 1949, Simone de Beauvoir, a French writer/philosopher, wrote a book called The Second Sex. In that book, she talked about the way in which men viewed women as "objects" rather than "subjects." Women are treated as "creatures" whose lives were not worth examining beyond their roles in relation to men. They were "exoticized" - in the same way that racism works - or, the way that religions dehumanize "the other." (As she had seen with The Holocaust, and as has been done to women in regard to religion for a long time.)

That inhumanity has been extended to women throughout history. Women are considered abnormal because they're not male. Their lives were not as valuable - Their experiences not as important - Their perspective not worth consideration - This, again, is just how racism has played out in American society, as well.

The Second Sex is regarded as the beginning of 2nd wave feminism., but the idea, as a movement, did not take hold until the 1960s, with the 1963 publication of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique.

But the foundation for feminism was laid in WWII, when women entered the workplace in massive numbers to make up for the loss of men who were sent to fight. Of course, prior to WWII, a lot of women (and children) worked - in factories, with no protection by law, and some women, like Jane Addams, gave focus to the plight of immigrant women in the U.S.

But after WWII, the U.S. embarked on a massive propaganda campaign to tell middle-class white women to get out of the workforce so that men could have jobs. They did - but many of them realized that it was not enough to have a life that only mattered b/c of a husband or children. They wanted some sort of financial independence and interests that were their own - A life apart from their families, as every other member of the family was allowed to have. White middle class privilege was still at work in this recognition, though, as women of color often worked for outside their homes.

In the 1960s, women gained access to more reliable birth control. The state could no longer enforce religious beliefs about women's outcomes based upon their sexual lives. The reason religions hate birth control is because they continue to maintain the same patriarchal attitudes toward females now as they did when they were aligned with monarchies in the 1700s and before.

Now, to the issue that causes contention, often, here:

In the 1970s and 1980s, one group of feminists began a focus on pornography. Other feminists at the time, and now, disagreed with the positions of the anti-porn faction because they viewed porn as a free speech issue as well as an issue of women's objectification. The anti-porn faction developed a line of action that worked to suppress porn as a violation of a woman's civil rights.

One of the most vocal women in the anti-porn movement was Andrea Dworkin. She also wrote about right wing women who work to undermine all women - conservative women. We still see them at work today - in the Republican Party. But she also made claims about pornography that said it promoted rape and child abuse. She wrote a book that claimed all heterosexual intercourse degrades women.

She crossed a line with many people with that pov. She claimed she was misunderstood and that, eventually, people would be able to have sex that was not coercive. But for now...

Other feminists responded that they could define their sexuality themselves - and could enjoy porn - whether those women were homo or hetero-sexual. For some, however, that position would be "false consciousness," i.e. it is impossible to rise above the ideology of sexism and patriarchy in which someone lives.

The "porn wars" on this site stem from the clash of these two povs.

Anyway, back in the 1960s, Democrats, under Kennedy, took up the cause of women's rights and women began their long-time association with the Democratic Party at the same time that African-Americans moved from the party of Lincoln (that was becoming the party of racists and Reagan and religious right wingers) to the party that passed the civil rights act.

In the 1960s and 70s - there were a lot of different people in American society who wanted change - Native Americans, African-Americans, women, homosexuals... and immigrants, esp. Latinos...working people in general became the focus of attack after Democrats lost many states due to their alignment with women and people of color.

And those battles for change are the ones that are still being fought today.

May 19, 2012

Obama's endorsement of gay marriage results in 11% increase in support among NC African-Americans

sorry if this was posted before. I didn't see it, if so. From North Carolina -


There's been a noticeable shift in the attitudes of African Americans in North Carolina toward rights for gay couples in the wake of President Obama's announcement last week that he supports gay marriage. Our final poll before the primary last week found only 20% of black voters in the state favoring gay marriage, with 63% opposed. Now 27% express support for gay marriage with 59% opposed, for an overall 11 point shift on the margin.

There's been a similar movement when it comes to the overall idea of providing gay couples legal rights in the form of either marriage or civil unions. Before the primary 44% of African Americans favored one of those with 51% opposed to any sort of legal recognition for same sex couples. Now 55% of blacks support either gay marriage or civil unions with only 39% against any sort of recognition. Obama's words look to be having an impact.

-In another indication that North Carolinians don't really know what they voted for last week 55% of voters in the state say they support either gay marriage or civil unions. Even though 61% voted to ban both of those things last week. We also asked very explicitly whether same sex couples should be allowed civil unions with the same legal rights as marriage and the state splits on that question at 46%.

On a side note 8% of North Carolina voters, including 13% of Republicans, think being gay should be a felony.

Just to note that politicians' words have an impact, even if their deeds don't immediately follow - on this and other issues.
May 16, 2012

74% of Voters, Across the Political Spectrum: Stop Interfering with State MMJ laws


Asked whether voters felt President Obama should respect the medical marijuana laws in these states, or use federal resources to arrest and prosecute individuals who are acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws, 74 percent of voters nationally said the president should respect state laws, 15 percent said he should prosecute in accordance with federal law and 11 percent weren't sure.

...Non-intervention polled well across parties and demographics, with 75 percent of Democrats, 67 percent of Republicans and 79 percent of independents signaling their support for a hands-off federal approach to state medical marijuana laws. A full 75 percent of women stated they support states' rights when it comes to medical marijuana, which is somewhat surprising, given ample public polling in Colorado and California that suggests more women oppose legalization than men.

A non-intervention policy was also broadly supported across racial groups, with 73 percent of whites, 73 percent of Hispanics and 81 percent of blacks in favor, although polling for minorities may be less accurate: 71 percent of all respondents were white.

Respondents were interviewed nationwide from May 10 through May 14, 2012, by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. of Washington, D.C. Eighty-five percent of respondents were 35 or older, and as a whole were split 48 percent male to 52 percent female.

Look at that! Americans can agree on something!

May 10, 2012

When have conservatives EVER been on the "right side of history?"

I'm not just talking about Republicans, either. I'm talking about social conservative Democrats.

I cannot think of one issue about which they have made the compelling argument for democracy in terms of economics, personal freedom, religious freedom... so WHY do so many people insist on modes of thought that they can look at, historically, and recognize that they're wrong?

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