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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 02:31 PM
Number of posts: 53,475

Journal Archives

I occasionally get nostalgic

Getting organized at home

Other cool ideas (and homes to drool over) at the link: https://www.facebook.com/Zillow/photos_stream

Borowitz on America's feeling about military service

Fugelsang points out another absurdity

Watched Pot (follow-up to last month's Colorado raids)


Colorado has a wildly ambitious plan to track every legal marijuana plant from seed to sale. Will it work?

On a crisp late-autumn day last month, federal agents raided more than a dozen medical marijuana dispensaries and grow facilities in Denver and Boulder, Colo. Armed Drug Enforcement Administration officers wearing camouflaged fatigues and black balaclavas smashed store windows, stacked crates of evidence in U-Haul trucks, and confiscated so many pot plants that the piles of foliage had to be removed by front-loader. It was the largest federal medical marijuana bust in Colorado history—and it occurred less than two months before the state is set to launch the world’s first legalized pot system on Jan. 1. How did Colorado’s marijuana industry react to the raids? If anything, with approval.

“Really, I see enforcement actions happening as a sign our industry is maturing and this program is working,” Mike Elliott, executive director of the Colorado-based Medical Marijuana Industry Group, told the Denver Post the day of the bust. Even Mason Tvert, the celebrated firebrand of the local marijuana movement, was unusually circumspect. “If a business is suspected of violating state laws, they will likely face increased scrutiny, and if they are found to be in violation, they will likely face consequences,” he told the Post.

Why the calm reaction? Mainly it was because the busts did not appear to be an attack on the state’s medical marijuana system, as has been the case with DEA raids in other states, but a targeted action against a few bad apples who were apparently flouting Colorado’s medical marijuana regulations—allegedly selling pot out of state, hiding profits, and working with Columbian drug cartels. In other words, the raids reinforced Colorado’s medical marijuana rules rather than undermining them. This was good news, since Colorado’s medical regulations form the basis of the recreational pot rules that will go into effect on Jan. 1.

The busts, in fact, were exactly the sort of enforcement Colorado policymakers and marijuana stakeholders should want right now. It’s not easy obeying Colorado’s complicated, time-consuming, and expensive marijuana rules, so those who jump through all the state’s hoops want to be sure that the competition does, too. If someone is cheating, they can cut into everyone else’s profits. That’s why nearly everyone in the industry wants the cheaters busted, since it suggests the regulatory system is working and it rewards those in compliance. (Hence the tip line posted on Colorado’s marijuana enforcement website that folks can use to report on scofflaws and “keep our industry legitimate.”) It’s why marijuana policy expert Mark Kleiman predicts legalization won’t stop pot busts anytime soon. “[T]he implication of … a legal commercial market is not that you need less enforcement,” he told Patrick Radden Keefe of The New Yorker. “In the long run, there shouldn’t be much of an illegal business … In the short run, though, the answer is just the opposite.”

Christmas in 19th Century America


Before 1850 many US citizens did not dream of Christmas at all. Penne Restad tells how and why this changed – and played its role in uniting the States in social cohesion.

The Christmas that Americans celebrate today seems like a timeless weaving of custom and feeling beyond the reach of history. Yet the familiar mix of carols, cards, presents, trees, multiplicities of Santas and holiday neuroses that have come to define December 25th in the United States is little more than a hundred years old.

Americans did not even begin to conceive of Christmas as a national holiday until the middle of the last century. Like many other such 'inventions of tradition', the creation of an American Christmas was a response to social and personal needs that arose at a particular point in history, in this case a time of sectional conflict and civil war, as well as the unsettling processes of urbanization and industrialization. The holiday's new customs and meanings helped the nation to make sense of the confusions of the era and to secure, if only for a short while each year, a soothing feeling of unity.


Not surprisingly, the strongest impetus for such a holiday came from those areas most profoundly affected by the various social, economic and technological revolutions of the antebellum era. Especially in the northern cities, where the intimacies of village and town culture had been most forcefully challenged by city and factory, the felt need for more explicit symbols of common purpose and shared. past grew first. A number of writers came to see holidays as a tool to meet these ends and even to forge a. national culture. New Year's Eve, the Fourth of July and, especially, Thanksgiving had their merits and partisans, but Christmas emerged as the most logical and affecting choice. By the 1850s, it had captured the Northern imagination and was making inroads in the South.


As early as 1832, Harriet Martineau had identified what would become one of the most familiar symbols of the American Christmas. She had 'little doubt' that the Christmas tree would 'become one of the most flourishing exotics of New England'. By the 1850s, many Americans, not just New Englanders, had fallen in love with the German custom. Some had seen Christmas trees for the first time when they had toured Germany and then recreated their experience of German Christmas celebrations for friends at home. Others viewed them first-hand in the homes of German Americans. The media introduced the custom even more widely, inspiring Americans throughout the nation to adopt the tradition as their own.

Paul Krugman on the used-to-be middle class.

Why that's outrageous! Those victims are playing the victim card!

To: The 99%, Happy Holidays. Love, Congress

Our criminal "justice" system

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