2008 - %3, January

They Can Sell Cigarettes, So Why Not Pot?

| Wed Jan. 30, 2008 11:52 AM EST

In one of those "only in California" stories, the AP reports that a creative owner of a nutrition center in Los Angeles has installed a 24-hour vending machine to distribute medical marijuana to the chronically ill.

"Convenient access, lower prices, safety, anonymity," inventor and owner Vincent Mehdizadeh said, extolling the benefits of the machine.

 

Naturally, the feds are going to bust him...

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Edwards Dropping Out

| Wed Jan. 30, 2008 10:32 AM EST

So it's all over the news that John Edwards will be withdrawing from the presidential race today in a speech in New Orleans. The speech is at 1 pm EST: we'll have full coverage after that point. In the meantime, check out some of our past Edwards coverage: possible Atty. General; possible VP; Iowa; Iowa; Iowa; tough love for Dem insiders; New Hampshire; and Nevada. Let no one accuse Mother Jones of perpetuating the John Edwards media blackout!

With word out that Giuliani will be endorsing McCain later today, this is shaping up to be one of the biggest days of the campaign season.

Update: Barack Obama rushes to claim the Two Americas mantle with this statement:

"John Edwards has spent a lifetime fighting to give voice to the voiceless and hope to the struggling, even when it wasn't popular to do or covered in the news. At a time when our politics is too focused on who's up and who's down, he made a nation focus again on who matters – the New Orleans child without a home, the West Virginia miner without a job, the families who live in that other America that is not seen or heard or talked about by our leaders in Washington. John and Elizabeth Edwards have always believed deeply that we can change this – that two Americans can become one, and that our country can rally around this common purpose. So while his campaign may end today, the cause of their lives endures for all of us who still believe that we can achieve that dream of one America."

Update II: Clinton statement after the jump.

Sex Slaves and Rape Victims: Feminist, Not Paranoid

| Wed Jan. 30, 2008 9:03 AM EST

Want to witness the sale of a 14 year old Romanian sex slave? Check this out.

And in Britain, a rape victim won the right to sue her rapist who won a huge lottery jackpot while in prison even though the statute of limitations expired twenty years ago. She's changed British law. Since it opens the door for all 'assault' victims (i.e. men) to sue long after the fact, I'm sure it will be popular.

The Unresolved Questions of the Florida Primary

| Wed Jan. 30, 2008 8:21 AM EST

giuliani-mccain-florida.jpg

There are so many story lines in the presidential races coming out of Florida and heading into February 5. Here are four key ones.

1. Can John McCain be beat? If John McCain gets Rudy Giuliani's endorsement today, as expected, he will be an incredibly formidable force on February 5. He'll likely gobble up Giuliani's donors and key staffers (meaning additional money and organization), and build on his already impressive lead among moderate Republicans.

Exit polls showed yesterday that Mitt Romney beat John McCain among voters who identified as "conservative," and beat him badly among voters who identified as "very conservative." That spells out Romney's strategy from here on out: move to the right, and target states with conservative electorates (Georgia), and not moderate ones (California). The problem for Romney is that the conservative states on the Feb. 5 map are mostly southern, meaning that Mike Huckabee, who is staying in the race, will likely soak up a lot of votes, putting Romney in a real bind. Huckabee has a lot of personal affection for John McCain (and reportedly hates Romney), which makes one wonder if he is deliberately staying in a race he knows he cannot win in order to help facilitate McCain's triumph over Romney.

McCain Is Walking on Sunshine, Wins Florida; Giuliani's a Goner

| Tue Jan. 29, 2008 9:21 PM EST

John McCain edged out Mitt Romney in Florida's GOP presidential primary on Tuesday, with Rudy Giuliani placing a distant third in what was an up-or-out race for him. The bottom-line: McCain and Romney are now essentially in a head-to-head, find-those-delegates face-off. It could be decided next week on Supersaturated Tuesday; it could go to the Republican convention at summer's end. Questions to consider: will the GOP establishment sue for peace with McCain? Will social cons be pushed by anti-McCain conservatives (paging, Rush Limbaugh!) to drop Mike Huckabee, who placed fourth in Florida, and swing behind Romney to stop McCain?

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama in a primary not recognized by the Democratic National Committee, which has declared it will not award any delegates to the victor in Florida. We'll just see about that, the Clinton campaign has said. Nevertheless, the Florida primary, as of now, is mostly about the GOPers--especially Giuliani. The deli vote just wasn't enough for him.

We'll have more on the Florida primary in a while....

Video: David Bowie vs. Presidential Candidates Discussing Change

| Tue Jan. 29, 2008 8:54 PM EST

mojo-photo-bowie.jpgVia Towleroad comes this bit of video tomfoolery; it's kind of an obvious idea, cutting together our suddenly-change-obsessed candidates over the appropriately-named Bowie classic, but right around the 55-second mark when the editing makes them "sing along," it gets pretty great:

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CDs Out Today and a Word from Critics

| Tue Jan. 29, 2008 7:20 PM EST

mojo-photo-cds.jpgIt's Tuesday, and that's when people like to put out new CDs in the US of A, for whatever reason. Yeah, with the intertubes leaking music all over the place, release dates are less and less relevant, for sure; but say you accidentally stumbled into a record store (or ran inside to get out of the rain)? Here's what you might find, and what people are saying:

Alaska Delays Decision for Tribe to Hunt Young Wolves, Bears

| Tue Jan. 29, 2008 7:02 PM EST

wolves.jpgAs a vegetarian, pet-owning urbanite who's never been hunting, I find it hard to stomach the idea of grown men with rifles killing fuzzy baby animals. So it was with mixed feelings I read today that Alaskan tribes will have to wait until November to see if they can legally cull wolf pups and bear cubs in their dens along the Kuskokwim River. The now-banned practice, traditional among Orutsaramuit people in southwestern Alaska, is intended to reduce predators killing too many of the moose that tribes rely on for subsistence hunting. While conservationists predictably see the practice as cruel, the real bone of contention lies between the state of Alaska and tribal officials.

When and Where We Enter, Male Chauvinist Pigs Follow: Is 'Purdah' the Answer to Male Privilege?

| Tue Jan. 29, 2008 6:11 PM EST

Or does it simply justify assaulting any woman who rejects seclusion?

If you're a woman and have spent any time in urban centers (i.e. lots of walking and public transportation) you know whereof you speak when it comes to street harassment. It is a measure of how entrenched male privilege is that men can sit down to dinner with a house full of female loved ones without having to know that someone masturbated onto her coat that day or whispered disgusting things in her ear. It's so pervasive, so dismissed—boys will be boys, heh, heh—it goes unmentioned and unredressed.

This explains why nearly naked, hysterical women got turned away by uniformed cops during the 2000 Central Park wilding and why the police will do little about street harassment that stays this side of bloodshed. I shudder for the day my 4 year old baby has to walk the streets alone. She happens to be gorgeous, much better looking than your daughters, but all that matters is that she's female. In fact, God help the ugly, fat or disfigured ones; they catch pure, unadulterated hell for daring to walk around being unasthetically pleasing to Joe Bob with his beer belly and no job or Joe Corporate with his comb-over and pointless Dunder Mifflin gig. I once spent four months profiling a prison inmate and being escorted to and from, like all visitors, by trustees at the minimum security facility. I swear to God, those guys spent the entire time (profil-ee included) hitting on me speed-date-from-hell style, with all the finesse of Lothar of The Hill People. THEY WERE IN PRISON but still felt totally free to harass me. Think I'm overreacting to the supposed prevelance of male privilege? Check this lede for the piece linked to (below) on female-only trains in Japan:

Is This Old Dog Learning New Tricks Just a Tad Too Late? Bill Campaigns, Quietly, in Jersey

| Tue Jan. 29, 2008 3:40 PM EST

From the NY Times:

Mr. Clinton made no specific references to his wife's main rival for the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama. Nor did any of his comments seem likely to provoke the criticism the former president generated during the South Carolina primary, when some Democrats accused him of being racially divisive in an attempt to weaken support for Mr. Obama, who is biracial.

Too little, too late?

I truly believed that neither of them could admit their mistakes and retool. Or if it would do them any good at this late date. Or if we could forgive them if they somehow managed to swallow their Big Gulp-sized pride. I'm thinking that I'll need to see an actual acknowledgment of race-baiting and an apology (a quick "my bad" would suffice), however weasel-worded. Do they have it in them? We'll see.