Government -- US

Medical Marijuana States See Less Opiate Pain Killer Overdose Deaths

Overdose deaths from opioids decreased by an average of 20 percent one year after the law’s implementation, 25 percent by two years, and up to 33 percent by years five and six.

by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

The enactment of medicinal marijuana laws is associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates, according to data published online Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine.

A team of investigators from the University of Pennsylvania, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore conducted a time-series analysis of medical cannabis laws and state-level death certificate data in the United States from 1999 to 2010 — a period during which 13 states instituted laws allowing for cannabis therapy.

Undercover in White America: Why Black Rage is Conscious, Justified, and Long Overdue

by Colin Jenkins

Students at Howard University pose for this photo with their 'Hands Up' as they acknowledged the police violence that took hold of Ferguson, Mo. in recent weeks. (Photo: flickr / cc / Debra Sweet)

Two Countries, Two Vastly Different Phone Bills

“Over the next decade,” Mr. Meinrath said, “U.S. consumers may overpay by over a quarter of a trillion dollars for worse levels of service than customers in other countries receive.”

by Anna Bernasek

If your monthly cellphone bill seems high, that may be because American cellphone service is among the most costly in the world. A comparison of two similar plans, one in the United States and one in Britain, reveals a marked difference.

Both plans include a new iPhone 5S with 16 gigabytes of memory. Both require a two-year commitment and allow unlimited voice minutes and unlimited texting. The plan offered by the British provider, Three UK, offers unlimited data and requires no upfront payment. With Britain’s 20 percent tax included, the plan costs 41 pounds a month, or $67.97 at current exchange rates.

'They Just Killed Him': New Video Betrays Police Depiction of Fatal Shooting

Amid ongoing demonstrations in city of Ferguson, Mo. and national outrage over police violence against black community members, new evidence in Tuesday's shooting of man by St. Louis police

by John Queally, Commondreams staff writer

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/08/21/they-just-killed-him-new-video-betrays-police-depiction-fatal-shooting
 

To Terrify and Occupy

How the excessive militarization of the police is turning cops into counterinsurgents

by Matthew Harwood
 

Jason Westcott was afraid.

One night last fall, he discovered via Facebook that a friend of a friend was planning with some co-conspirators to break in to his home. They were intent on stealing Wescott's handgun and a couple of TV sets. According to the Facebook message, the suspect was planning on “burning” Westcott, who promptly called the Tampa Bay police and reported the plot.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the investigating officers responding to Westcott’s call had a simple message for him: “If anyone breaks into this house, grab your gun and shoot to kill.”

Two-Thirds of Americans Say Private Consumption of Marijuana Should Be Legal

by Paul Armentano

55% of those surveyed also said that they supported statewide laws seeking to tax and regulate the production and sale of cannabis to adults.

PALO ALTO, CA — Sixty-six percent of Americans believe that adults ought to legally be able to consume cannabis in the privacy of one’s own home, according to results of a recent nationwide HuffingtonPost/YouGov survey.

Seventy-two percent of self-identified Democrats and 70 percent of Independents said that the private consumption of cannabis should be legal.

Republican respondents endorsed private consumption by a margin of 50 percent to 39 percent.

Fifty-five percent of respondents — including 62 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of Independents — also said that they supported statewide laws seeking to tax and regulate the commercial production and retail sale of cannabis to adults, such as those recently enacted in Colorado and Washington.

By contrast, only 37 percent of Republicans said they supported such a plan.

New York Times Editorial Board: Repeal Prohibition, Again

The paper of record goes on the record unequivocably in favor of legalization of marijuana.

by the New York Times Editorial Board

It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.

The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.

We reached that conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times’s Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws.

Who Gets to Decide What a City Can Do with Broadband Internet?

While our local municipal boradband was sold off under questionable circumstances with hardly a whimper, the decision was made in part because of the weak hand local governments hold in bringing efficient, low cost services to residents. It was a decision we will come to regret.

Unfortunately, Congressional Republicans and some states want to control local affairs

by Jay Walljasper

“(W)ithout power and independence, a town may contain good subjects, but it can have no active citizens.”  That was the conclusion of Alexis de Tocqueville after touring a youthful American Republic in the early 1830s, as recorded in his classic Democracy in America. Today we are engaged in a renewed debate about the authority of governments closest to the people.

On July 16, by a vote of 223-200 the House of Representatives voted to strip the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the authority to allow communities the right to determine their broadband futures.  Republicans voted 221-4 in favor.

Why Big Business Loves Desperate Workers

And how a strong social safety net can make us all more free

by Stephen Pimpare

We don’t think enough about the economic functions of social welfare policy, or about the relationship between the safety net and labor markets, and this hinders our ability to make sense of why some people fight so hard against programs that aid poor and low-income people: We mistake them for anti-welfare ideologues, and dismiss them as cruel or ignorant, but there’s an economic logic to their activism, one that’s revealed if we look at the relationship between welfare and work from both the employee’s and the employer’s perspective. Let me explain.

Imagine that we have two workers, worker K and worker O, each with two young children.

Worker K is laid off when the company “downsizes.” K is nervous, but has some savings, is eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits, Medicaid, food stamps (SNAP), and TANF, has access to free local day care, and lives in a Section 8 apartment, with their monthly rent tied to their income.

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