Markell signed a marijuana decriminalization bill Thursday after it passed the Democratic-controlled Senate. Republicans, who did not support the bill, argued that decriminalizing marijuana would encourage more young people to use it, writes USA Today.
The bill, sponsored by Democratic Representative Helene Keeley, allows people in Delaware to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and use the drug privately without facing criminal sanctions.
Criminal penalties for simple possession will be replaced with a civil $100 fine. The law takes effect in six months, according to USA Today.
In the U.S., climate change is still being debated among many. Above is a vintage video from 2014 of Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn and Bill Nye debating climate change on NBC’s Meet The Press.
John McCain is upset about a recent ISIS victory in Ramadi, Iraq. So angry, that he took to name calling when speaking about White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.
“Bodies are on fire in the streets of Ramadi as we are speaking,” McCain said on Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom.” “[ISIS] is an evil – this is a transcendent evil that the President seems to dismiss it as ‘We’re not losing.’ ”
He then called Earnest an “idiot” for saying Tuesday, ““Are we going to light our hair on fire every time there’s a setback against ISIL?”
Fox News’ Bill Hemmer called out McCain’s name-calling, and the Arizona Republican immediately retracted.
“I’ll retract that,” he said. “It’s infuriating though to hear someone say [that]. That betrays everything that America believes in and stands for.”
Bill Cosby “almost” responded to the rape allegations against him in a new interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America (GMA),” writes The Huffington Post.
He was joined for his interview by the leaders of a group that brings awareness to the state of underfunded schools in rural Alabama, writes The Hollywood Reporter.
The interview seemed designed to discuss his work with the organization, but GMA aired only the portions of the interview that involved questions about the sexual-assault allegations. More of the interview is set to air on ABC’s Nightline, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Cosby said he’s baffled by the situation, and the interview with Good Morning America aired with little promotion on Friday.
When ABC asked him about allegations that he drugged and raped many women, Cosby didn’t directly address the questions, writes The Huffington Post.
In a surprise move that supporters called a historic victory, the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee approved legislation Wednesday that would make it legal to buy and sell marijuana in the state.
Two Republicans joined with the panel’s three Democrats in support, giving House Bill 2165 a 5-2 panel victory, writes chron.com.
The bill would make Texas the fifth state in America to OK pot for recreational purposes.
According to chron.com, though, the proposal has virtually no chance of clearing other hurdles on the path to becoming law in this year’s legislative session.
However, the move came just two days after the same panel voted 4-2 in favor of a bill to decriminalize marijuana. That was the first time such a proposal had made it out of a Texas legislative committee, according to chron.com. Initially, the bill failed by a 3-2 vote in committee, but it was brought back up and passed with a 4-2 vote.
That bill that would decriminalize possession of an ounce or less of marijuana was revived and voted out of a Texas House committee, writes sacurrent.com.
The bill is House Bill 507, and it would eliminate jail time and criminal records. Instead, people caught with an ounce or less of pot would pay a fine.
The next step is a vote in the House of Representatives.
The San Antonio chapter for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is already calling San Antonio marijuana advocates to action.
Today the group is working with the Marijuana Policy Project to collect signatures asking Rep. Lyle Larson to schedule the decriminalization proposal for a vote.
There is a companion bill in the Texas Senate, which is still in committee.
Leaks are now coming out from the book “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich,” by Peter Schweizer, which is supposed to hit the shelves May 5th. The book is supposed to cover controversial donations made to the Clinton Foundation.
The book “tries to draw connections between Clinton Foundation donations and speaking fees and Hillary Clinton’s actions as Secretary of State,” writes Politico.
Recently, the New York Times wrote about an instance from that book regarding the uranium industry.
In January, 2013, an article in the Russian newspaper Pravda described how the Russian atomic energy agency Rosatom had taken over a Canadian company with uranium-mining rights stretching from Central Asia to the American West. The deal made Rosatom one of the world’s largest uranium producers. It also brought Russian President Putin closer to his goal of controlling much of the global uranium supply chain.
But there is an untold story behind that story that involves not just the Russian president, but also The Clinton Foundation.
Several people, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, have been major donors to the charity run by former President Bill Clinton and his family.
Members of that group built, financed, and eventually sold off to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One.
The sale gave the Russians control of very lucrative mines in Kazakhstan as well as one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Uranium One has mining operations in Australia as well.
Since uranium is considered a strategic asset with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies – including the State Department.
The State Department was at that time headed by Hillary Clinton.
As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show that a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. According to the New York Times, those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors.
Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.
shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.
At the time, both Rosatom and the United States government made promises intended to ease concerns about ceding control of the company’s assets to the Russians. Those promises have been repeatedly broken, records show.
The New York Times claims its examination of the Uranium One deal is based on dozens of interviews, as well as a review of public records and securities filings in Canada, Russia, and the United States. Some of the connections between Uranium One and the Clinton Foundation were unearthed by Peter Schweizer, a former fellow at the right-leaning Hoover Institution and author of book previously mentioned. He is currently the president of the Government Accountability Institute, a conservative research group. Schweizer provided a preview of material in the book to The New York Times.
Whether the donations played any role in the approval of the uranium deal is unknown. However, the episode underscores the special ethical challenges presented by the Clinton Foundation, headed by a former president who relied heavily on foreign cash to accumulate $250 million in assets even as his wife helped steer American foreign policy as secretary of state.
In their defense, Brian Fallon, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign, said no one “has ever produced a shred of evidence supporting the theory that Hillary Clinton ever took action as secretary of state to support the interests of donors to the Clinton Foundation.”
Fallon emphasized that multiple United States agencies, as well as the Canadian government, had signed off on the deal and that, in general, such matters were handled at a level below the secretary.
OK, Fine will make a series of posts trying to get to the bottom of the “deal” in Congress regarding the nuclear treaty with Iran.
There is a bill currently in the U.S. Senate meant to “inject” the House of Congress into the treaty with Iran.
The controversial bill to increase Congress’ involvement in the Iran nuclear negotiations passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday on a unanimous vote of 19-0, states The Huffington Post.
The bill was hammered out by the Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and the committee’s new ranking member, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), on Monday night into Tuesday morning.
The negotiations are between Iran on the one side, and the U.S., China, Russia, France, Britain, and Germany (P5+1) on the other side.
According to Sen. Corker, the revised text was posted just minutes before the committee “markup.” www.senate.gove states that “markup” is yet another process by which congressional committees and subcommittees debate, amend, and rewrite proposed legislation.
Only hours before the vote, the White House indicated that the president would not veto the legislation.
These new efforts may have rescued the bill, which previously faced a veto threat from President Obama and looked to be several votes short of the 67 needed from the full Senate to override a veto, according to The Huffington Post. Previously, Bob Corker had stated he believed the legislation had enough votes to override a veto, but that seems not to be the case.
What would the legislation do?
The legislation requires the president to submit the final nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the U.S. and its negotiating partners for congressional review.
The bill also maintains the prohibition on the president’s waiving congressionally-enacted sanctions against Iran during the “review period.”
The review period in the measure has been shortened from 60 days to an initial 30 days.
If, at the end of the 30 days, Congress were to pass a bill on “sanctions relief” and send it to the president, an additional 12 days would be automatically added to the review period. This could be another 10 days of review if the president vetoed the resulting sanctions bill.
“Under the new bill, the congressional review period would automatically return to 60 days if the negotiators ran late and concluded an agreement after June 9,” states the Huffington Post.
One of the key results of Corker and Cardin’s bill was the abandonment of a clause that would have required the White House to certify to Congress that Iran was not supporting terror in order to provide sanctions relief, states The Huffington Post. While the president must still provide a series of reports to Congress detailing Iran’s support for terror globally, that would no longer be tied to implementation of aspects of the nuclear agreement.
Removal of the certification clause was a major requirement for Democrats, although Republicans accepted it grudgingly.
During the committee markup, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) reintroduced the terrorism certification language as his own amendment to the modified bill, which was not supported by Sen. Corker.
Corker did, however, convince other members of his party to hold off on presenting amendments that would have almost certainly removed Democratic support for the bill.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) agreed to hold off on his proposed amendment to treat any nuclear agreement with Iran as a “treaty,” which would require a two-thirds vote of approval from the Senate before it could be implemented.
Wikipedia states there are three kinds of treaties recognized by international law:
“In the United States, the term ‘treaty’ is used in a more restricted legal sense than in international law. U.S. law distinguishes what it calls treaties from congressional-executive agreements and sole-executive agreements. All three classes are considered treaties under international law; they are distinct only from the perspective of internal United States law. Distinctions among the three concern their method of ratification: by two-thirds of the Senate, by normal legislative process, or by the President alone, respectively.”
Johnson made his disappointment with his party’s concessions clear. “It is a very limited role, it is a role with very little teeth,” he said of the modified oversight bill. “It is a far cry from advice and consent.”
While some Republicans were disappointed with the watered-down bill, Democrats on the committee were resoundingly impressed with the outcome of Tuesday’s markup.
“I believe this bill has been changed from a point in which I do not support it to a point in which I can,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who was one of the most steadfast opponents to the original bill.
“I believe the former bill would have disrupted and upended the ongoing negotiations between Iran and the P5+1. I believe that this bill will not do this,” Boxer said, voicing her support for the new text.
The unanimous bipartisan support for the legislation in the Committee came as a surprise even to Ranking Committee Democrat Cardin, who was constantly in touch with other committee Democrats in the days leading up to the vote, states the Huffington Post. “No, I did not expect a 19-0 vote. I feel thrilled by that,” he told reporters.
According to Corker, Secretary of State John Kerry had pushed back against the legislation as late as 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, when he presented a classified briefing on the Iran nuclear talks to members of the Senate.
With Obama evidently easing his opposition, Corker’s bill is almost certain to become law.
Several Republicans took the White House’s reversal as recognition of the weakness of its stance, as opposed to open-mindedness and a spirit of compromise.
“The White House came to the deal when they saw the numbers of people, the growing support that was here,” Corker said.
Senator Ben Cardin, who has been in close contact with the White House over the past 10 days, declined to comment on Corker’s assertion. “I was always trying to get them to the position where they would feel comfortable and allow this bill to go forward. That was my goal from day one,” he said.
To House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), it was the Senate Republicans, not the White House, who capitulated under pressure. “We told the Senate this is going nowhere, that we are going to sustain the president’s veto,” she said on Tuesday. “I don’t know if that had an impact on what the Senate had to do. But they certainly produced a bill that would be more palatable to our members.”
After it is approved in the Senate the bill will be sent to the House of Representatives.
Sam Stein and Laura Barron-Lopez contributed this Huffington Post report. (Updated report)
During a Sunday panel discussion on ABC, host George Stephanopolous had asked guests to name “the most promising Republican candidate not in the race yet,” according to Raw Story.
Vehement Neo-Con, co-sponsor of the Iraq war, and Editor of the right-wing publication The Weekly Standard Bill Kristol said, “If they get to nominate Hillary Clinton, why don’t we get to nominate Dick Cheney?” as other panelists laughed. “I mean, he has a much… he has a much better record.”
On Tuesday, Newsmax host Steve Malzberg asked Kristol if Cheney could defeat Clinton in a 2016 race.
Kristol tried to explain his suggestion that Dick Cheney should run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 and argued that the former vice president was just an “everyday American.”
“Saturday Night Live” actor/comedian Kenan Thompson stopped by the University of Pittsburgh on Monday night to look back on his career and make some jokes, according to The Huffington Post.
Thompson allegedly also took a few moments from his appearance to talk about Bill Cosby.
During his stand-up set, Thompson reportedly called Cosby a “monster” in regards to the recent sexual assault allegations against Cosby, according to the University’s student newspaper, The Pitt News.
The paper says Thompson kept the rest of his comments on Cosby light with his “SNL” impression.
Reddit user “Definitely_Ambiguous” posted in the “Live From New York” subreddit section Monday night that Thompson shared stories about his time with Cosby on the set of the 2004 film Fat Albert. Here’s what Thompson allegedly said, according to the Redditor:
So like, he started by talking about actually not getting the role of Fat Albert, but it then went into development hell for two years. After (or during, I can’t remember) his first season of SNL, he got the gig. He then talked about an odd remark Cosby made to him while filming, something like, “So Cosby pulled me aside and said that after the movie comes out, it’ll be so hard to keep the women off you, you’ll need two dicks.” And then he brought, like, his mom to see Cosby and he was creepy and bounced her on his lap and said something about horse riding like a kiddie..
Kenan got pretty real and just talked about what it feels like to have someone go from so commonly liked to being a piece of shit. He, like so many others, noticed kind of odd behavior awhile ago and just never put it all together. He said he wished someone had a recording or something so the guy can go to jail.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (a Democrat) said Sunday on Meet The Press that he would not back Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign until she clarifies her message for voters, according to The Hill magazine.
De Blasio was still confident that she would make a good candidate, and referred to her as “one of the most qualified out of everyone that had announced their bid for the Presidency.”
However, Hilary Rosen, a Democratic strategist and supporter of Mrs. Clinton, chastised Mr. de Blasio on Twitter, writing that Mrs. Clinton fought for the middle class and poor families long before the mayor “could even articulate any vision at all,” states the Wall Street Journal.
Ms. Rosen wrote that Mr. de Blasio’s “self-aggrandizing” won’t go unnoticed. Later, she wrote she meant no disrespect to the mayor but thought he should have been more sensitive on her announcement day.