Daily Pager

A blog about culture and politics

California decriminalizes marijuana

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Gov. Schwarzenegger just signed a measure that downgrades pot possession from a misdemeanor to an infraction. 

The Republican governor’s unexpected support for the measure comes one month before voters decide whether to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana in California.

“In this time of drastic budget cuts, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement and the courts cannot afford to expend limited resources prosecuting a crime that carries the same punishment as a traffic ticket,” wrote Schwarzenegger, who opposes Proposition 19, the marijuana initiative.

The law, which takes effect immediately, reduces possession of up to an ounce of marijuana – enough for about 30 joints – from a misdemeanor to an infraction. Already, marijuana possession was the only misdemeanor under California law that didn’t allow for jail time.

This new reality may change the dynamic of the state’s Prop 19 Ballot next month. 

If voters approve Prop. 19 next month, it will be legal for adults older than 21 to possess and use the drug. Even if the ballot measure fails, the approval of SB1449 indicates a slight thawing in long-standing opposition to legalizing the drug, and recent polls have shown growing support for Prop. 19 over just a few months.

Some potentially soft “yes” voters may change to “no” after having taken into account the new middle-ground reality which, prior to this week, didn’t exist.  

More on Prop 19:

Outside the Beltway’s – On Legalizing Marijuana

Andrew Sullivan’s – If Prop 19 Passes 

Hot Air’s Allahpundit:

The latest poll on Prop 19, by the way, has 52 percent in favor. Gird your loins. Exit question: Should this be Christie’s next crusade in New Jersey? He’s already got some libertarian cred thanks to his union dragonslaying. Might as well cement it by going to bat for weed.

That seems to be a bridge too far for NJ’s Christie.  During his campaign for governor, on the subject of medical marijuana, he said this..

“We don’t want people who have a headache to be able to go and get marijuana,” he said. “We want to make sure we don’t turn into California.”


Written by dailypager

October 3, 2010 at 1:14 am

Posted in California, Marijuana, NJ

NYT Mag: Being Glenn Beck

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Nigel Parry/NYT

Mark Liebovich’s long Glenn Beck piece in the NY Times Magazine covers a lot of ground.  Beck, a conservative media personality, best-selling author and inspirational speaker to many Tea Party-types, stands apart from his contemporaries. 

Beck rarely speaks with the squinty-eyed certainty or smugness of Rush Limbaugh or his fellow Fox News hosts Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. He often changes his mind or nakedly contradicts himself. “When you listen and watch me, it’s where I am in my thinking in the moment,” Beck told me. “I’m trying to figure it out as I go.” 

The article, among other highlights, touches on some of the tension over at FOX News: 

Ailes, who declined to comment for this article, has generally been supportive of Beck. But he has also been vocal around the network about how Beck does not fully appreciate the degree to which Fox News has made him the sensation he has become in recent months. In the days following Beck’s Lincoln Memorial rally, which by Beck’s estimate drew a half-million people, Ailes told associates that if Beck were still at Headline News, there would have been 30 people on the Mall.   

Much more on Beck’s media savvy, alcoholism, success and family here.

Related:  Salon’s – The Making of Glenn Beck

Written by dailypager

September 30, 2010 at 2:56 am

Posted in Glenn Beck, Media

Atheists and agnostics score best on religion survey

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Results according to Pew Research Center’s Religious Knowledge Survey:

Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on a new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions.

You can take their 15 question quiz and compare your results here.

The US Religious Landscape Survey breaks down all kinds of  interesting social and political demographic information.

You can view affiliations, maps, portraits and comparison charts here.

Fun stuff available like this.

In what regions of the U.S. do Catholics live?

 29% Northeast 24% Midwest 24% South 23% West  

Douthat makes a good point as to the outcome of the results:

This makes a great deal of sense. The very act of declaring yourself an “atheist,” after all, suggests a particularly high level of interest in religious detail and debate — higher than many self-described Methodists or cradle Catholics who have a vague belief in God and show up at church on holidays, and also higher than the many nonbelievers who are merely indifferent to religion.


Written by dailypager

September 29, 2010 at 1:45 am

Obama’s Wars

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Simon and Schuster/EPA


Bob Woodward’s behind-the-scenes account of the Obama White House is due to be released next week.  The Washington Post offers a preview of the conflicts between Obama’s military advisors, intelligence officials and White House staff.  

Obama is shown at odds with his uniformed military commanders, particularly Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. David H. Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command during the 2009 strategy review and now the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan.   

Woodward reveals their conflicts through detailed accounts of two dozen closed-door secret strategy sessions and nearly 40 private conversations between Obama and Cabinet officers, key aides and intelligence officials.  

Tensions often turned personal. National security adviser James L. Jones privately referred to Obama’s political aides as “the water bugs,” the “Politburo,” the “Mafia,” or the “campaign set.” Petraeus, who felt shut out by the new administration, told an aide that he considered the president’s senior adviser David Axelrod to be “a complete spin doctor.” 

Written by dailypager

September 23, 2010 at 1:48 am

Posted in Bob Woodward, Obama

Hitchens passes on his own prayer day

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Noted atheist and writer, Christopher Hitchens didn’t have much use for yesterday’s unofficial “Everybody Pray for Hitchens Day“.

“I shall not be participating,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press.

He was generally appreciative of those, however, who wished him well through their prayer efforts.

The way the English-born Hitchens sees it, the people praying for him break down into three basic groups: those who seem genuinely glad he’s suffering and dying from cancer; those who want him to become a believer in their religious faith; and those who are asking God to heal him.

Hitchens has no use for that first group. “‘To hell with you’ is the response to the ones who pray for me to go to hell,” Hitchens told AP.

He’s ruling out the idea of a deathbed change of heart: “‘Thanks but no thanks’ is the reply to those who want me to convert and recognize a divinity or deity.”

It’s that third group — people who are asking God for Hitchens’ healing — that causes Hitchens to choose his words even more carefully than normal. Are those prayers OK? Are they helpful?

“I say it’s fine by me, I think of it as a nice gesture. And it may well make them feel better, which is a good thing in itself,” says Hitchens.

I suspect that Mother Teresa, who also had her doubts, is interceding for him too.

Video via Hot Air here

Related: Larry Taunton on Hitchens’ latest debate in Birmingham.

Written by dailypager

September 21, 2010 at 3:48 am

Jimmy Carter: Odd Man Out

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While making a stop on his book tour, former President Carter let this one slip in an interview with Brian Williams.

“I feel that my role as a former president is probably superior to that of other presidents.”

I doubt that the State Department would agree.

Phillip Klein at the American Spectator, reacting to the meddling globe-trotter’s comment, said it best :

Jimmy Carter, the man whose arrogance is inversely proportional to his accomplishments…

Written by dailypager

September 21, 2010 at 1:31 am

Posted in Jimmy Carter

Next Tea Party upset: Pallone in NJ 6?

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Mayor Anna Little recently defeated, in a major upset, establishment-candidate Diane Gooch in NJ’s GOP 6th congressional district primary.  Is Little going to be the next breakout Tea Party candidate?

Nate Silver’s blog at the NY Times has NJ 6 listed as solid democratic for Rep. Frank Pallone.  But as we all should know by now, this is turning out to be an unconventional election cycle.

Hot Air‘s Laura Brod thinks there’s another dark horse to watch in NJ.

Another day, another dark horse race in the making.  This is one of those years in which political upsets are coming fast and furious from all directions.  As I watch the political landscape shift on a daily basis, an interesting race came across my desk.

Recognizing the opportunity to take on an out of touch incumbent who wants to claim ownership and take credit for a massive intrusion of government into our private lives, the Freedom’s Defense Fund, a DC based PAC, recently announced an ad campaign in New Jersey’s 6th Congressional district.

Take a look at their ad at www.stoppallone.com.

This first TV ad is part of a broader campaign to support conservative, upstart candidate Mayor Anna Little’s over Washington-centric incumbent – Frank “It’s my bill” Pallone.  What a namesake.  The ad is short and simple in message.

If you’d like to learn more about the race in NJ’s 6th, you can check out Art Gallagher’s blog, Monmouth Musings.  He’s all over the Pallone and Little campaigns.


Written by dailypager

September 20, 2010 at 12:08 am