News Roundup for 3/26/09

Michael Phelps with a bong
Michael Phelps shown saving the economy

-Headline of the day-
"Pot-related questions deluge W.H."

When the White House launched their online Open for Questions service, they were probably expecting to get swamped with questions about the economy. And they were -- kind of.

According to the report, "In this moment of national economic crisis, the top four questions under the heading of 'Financial security' concerned marijuana; on the budget, people voted up questions about marijuana to positions 1-4; marijuana was in the first and third positions under 'jobs'; people boosted a plug for legalizing marijuana to No. 2 under 'health care reform.' And questions about decriminalizing pot occupied spots 1 and 2 under 'green jobs and energy.'"

It does seem a little out of whack -- and that's coming from someone who's for decriminalization. "I don't know what that says about the online audience," President Obama said. "The answer is no, I don't think that is a good strategy to grow our economy." I'm not sure I agree with that -- new markets and industries are new markets and industries. It's hard to see how it wouldn't be good for the economy.

"The more than 92,000 people who responded either have Cheech and Chong senses of humor or there is a deep concern in America... about the decriminalization of marijuana," writes Politico's John Ward Anderson. I think it's probably the latter. Especially with a big ol' flaming drug war south of the border. You don't see brewery execs taking shots at police and the army, do you?

Yeah, there's a reason for that.

Besides, look at it this way; stoner buys pot. He does this from a business and an employee. He pays a tax on it. He buys a bong. He does this from a business and an employee. He pays a tax on it. He smokes the pot in his new bong and gets wasted, tearing into a big bag of Cool Ranch Doritos he bought from a business and an employee and paid a tax on. Stoner becomes cog in capitalist machine.

Dude, it's like wheels inside wheels. Wheels inside wheels, man.

Whoa... (Politico)

-On a related note...-
...what the hell has Michele Bachmann been smoking? America's favorite batshit-crazy Minnesotan has introduced a bill to "bar the dollar from being replaced by any foreign currency." Not that anyone's proposing we do that, mind you. I guess it's just in case.

I guess the wingnut "global currency" question at Obama's press conference has Michele all freaked out. But would a global currency actually be a foreign currency? I think logic would say no. They eat cheese in Europe, we eat cheese here, does this make cheese a "foreign" food?

Anyway, it doesn't matter much. The whole thing's a bunch of crap and Shelly's saving us from a made-up currency that probably wouldn't be anymore problematic than traveler's checks anyway.

Next up, a ban on hunting unicorns. (Yglesias)

-Bonus HotD-
"Rep. Barton: Climate change is 'natural,' humans should just 'get shade.'"

You'd think that global warming denial would make you about as wrong as it's possible to be, but Texas Republican "Smokey Joe" Barton proves it's possible to take idiocy even further.

"I believe that Earth’s climate is changing, but I think it’s changing for natural variation reasons," Barton said recently. "And I think man-kind has been adopting, or adapting, to climate as long as man has walked the Earth. When it rains we find shelter. When it’s hot, we get shade. When it’s cold, we find a warm place to stay. Adaptation is the practical, affordable, utterly natural reflex response to nature when the planet is heating or cooling, as it always is."

And when it's a natural disaster, we die. Lots of things are "natural," Joe. You got yer volcanoes and your tsunamis and your hurricanes and your tornadoes. We kind of do things to deal with those, don't we? "Natural" is not synonymous with "harmless." Even if it were natural, the stupidest thing you could possibly do would be to pretend it's not a problem.

But then again, Smokey Joe Barton is a Republican. Lately, that's become defined as "one who always chooses the stupidest thing you could possibly do." (Think Progress)

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