Has Capitol Hill suddenly gone green?
Just a day after Democratic Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado introduced legislation to decriminalize marijuana, Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky introduced another bill Thursday in support of industrial hemp, currently illegal in the U.S. because it comes from the same plant as marijuana.
And now, Sen. Rand Paul’s office tells Whispers it could introduce companion legislation in the Senate “as soon as next week.”
In late January, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’d throw his support behind industrial hemp, a surprise endorsement from the long-time opponent of marijuana. McConnell cited conversations he’d had with Paul, and the Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim points out the change came after the Kentucky senator hired Jesse Benton to run his 2014 re-election campaign. Benton is the former campaign manager of Paul’s father, former Texas congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul.
The Los Angeles County coroner’s office said it is awaiting the results of toxicology tests before releasing an official cause of death for conservative author and activist Andrew Breitbart, who died unexpectedly Thursday at age 43.
A source familiar with the investigation told The Times the tests are routine in a death of someone so young.
An autopsy was completed Friday, and the tests are expected to take several weeks.
“It’s standard procedure,” coroner’s spokesman Craig Harvey told Reuters. “We have a very young man who died suddenly and unexpectedly, so we want to make sure we cover all the bases.”
The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case was still under investigation, said officials are working on the assumption that Breitbart died of natural causes. A witness saw him collapse while walking near his home and said that he had no external injuries, the source said. Paramedics rushed Breitbart to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where doctors pronounced him dead.
“It looks like a heart attack, but no one knows until “an autopsy is done, Breitbart’s father-in-law, actor Orson Bean, told The Times.
“He was walking near the house somewhere…. He was taken by paramedics to UCLA, and they couldn’t revive him,” Bean said. “We’re devastated. I loved him like a son.”
Breitbart is survived by his wife, Susannah; four children; his parents; and a sister. The family has not announced memorial arrangements.
Sources said officials will also try to determine whether Breitbart had any underlying health problems that could have contributed to his death, a common tack in such cases.
Breitbart was a Hollywood-criticizing, mainstream-media-loathing conservative and shot to stardom with two stories in recent years: breaking the story over sexually charged tweets by former Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York, a scandal that led to his resignation; and posting a video of Shirley Sherrod, an employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in which she appeared to make racially charged comments, leading to her firing and then a subsequent apology by the Obama administration when it was later revealed that the video had been heavily edited and her comments portrayed out of context.
Sherrod released a statement saying: “My prayers go out to Mr. Breitbart’s family as they cope during this very difficult time. I do not intend to make any further comments.”
Breitbart spent his early professional years helping to edit the Drudge Report and later helped launch the Huffington Post. In 2005, he started his news aggregation site Breitbart.com, which was designed to counter what he described as the “bully media cabal” that he said ignores stories at odds with prevailing liberal orthodoxy. His goal, he often said, was to “destroy the institutional left.”
His big splash came in 2009, when he posted an undercover video in which a pair of conservative activists posing as a prostitute and her boyfriend asked employees of the community group ACORN for help with a brothel that would house underage Salvadorans. ACORN was embarrassed when some of its workers seemed too helpful; Congress responded by defunding the organization.
Breitbart’s mother-in-law, Alison Mills Bean, called him “one of the most genuine people I’ve met in my life…. He always spoke the truth of his heart, and no matter what people agreed or disagreed with him he never wavered.
“And he was loved by a lot of people,” she said. “And I know a lot of people found fault with his points of view … but everyone loved him. It is a great loss for everybody.”There was no stopping Andrew Breitbart from fighting the good fight with every fiber of his soul,” Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) said in Congress. “Goodbye and God bless, Brother Andrew. You are loved and mourned and ever remembered.”
Breitbart lived with his family in Westwood. He had been adopted by moderately conservative Jewish parents and attended two of L.A.’s most exclusive private schools — Carlthorp and Brentwood.
His father, Gerald, owned Fox and Hounds, a landmark Tudor-style Santa Monica restaurant that later became the punk rock club Madame Wong’s West. His mother, Arlene, was an executive at Bank of America in Beverly Hills and downtown L.A.
– Andrew Blankstein
Photo: Andrew Breitbart signs his book “Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!” Feb. 25 in Troy, Mich. Credit: Jeff Kowalsky / European Pressphoto Agency
American freedom? More blacks incarcerated than were slaves, now more prisoners than Stalin’s Gulag!
Now add in people of all colors, and the shocking numbers of those in prison smashes all global historical records! – You’re paying for it!
SB1070 does NOTHING to secure the borders. It just makes it profitable for private prisons such as CCA to take your taxpayer dollars to now house and feed these immigrant prisoners instead of deporting them.
Border patrol at border trying to capture the undocumented as they ENTER Mexico. Prisons don’t fill themselves, and not much money is made on self-deportation. Source: AZ Republic.
Arizona now has Border Patrol stopping people as they enter Mexico… you can be just feet away from “self-deporting” and instead of letting you continue, you will be detained, usually just the father, leaving the family there broken with kids crying, and then off to a CCA prison you go.
So much for “family values,” this is Big Government purposefully breaking up the Mexican family for profits and to destroy a people.
You, the Arizona taxpayer, are spending over $30,000 per immigrant per year… so right-wing arguments about immigrants being a drain on society is moot. Before they were paying taxes whenever they bought something.
Now they are housed and fed and given medical care paid for by you. Yes, right-wing racism fooled you.
Now comes a great new piece comparing America’s prison system to the Gulag. Not only are more black Americans incarcerated than there were slaves, now America has more prisoners than the Russian Gulags did!
The Huffington Post published an excellent piece yesterday by reporter Chris Kirkham describing how the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) wants to buy up state prisons, all under the guise of helping state governments deal with their budget shortfalls.
Called the Corrections Investment Initiative (sounds so positive, right?), it’s a sickening display of exploitive behavior — perhaps best underscored by the fact that the CCA stipulates in its “investment” overture that, as part of the deal, the states need to keep the prisons packed. Their language for it: “An assurance by the agency partner [the state] that the agency has sufficient inmate population to maintain a minimum 90 percent occupancy rate over the term of the contract.”
It reminded me of a recent article in the New Yorker by the game-changing journalist Adam Gopnik:
Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today — perhaps the fundamental fact, as slavery was the fundamental fact of 1850… Over all, there are now more people under “correctional supervision” in America–more than six million — than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height.
Yet the one major element that is missing from both Gopnik’s and Kirkham’s coverage of private prisons is the very element that is at the core of the prison industry’s power (and so much of our country’s dysfunction) — money’s domination of politics.
Private prisons are a booming business. Over the past ten years, the two largest prison companies (CCA and GEO Group) saw their annual revenue double. The best way to drive up revenue, of course is to keep incarceration rates climbing.
The article goes on to state the facts behind this great-fooling-of-America, the new slavery.
The private prison companies that comprise this new American Gulag thus have a clear economic incentive to maintain the status quo. So how do they keep the demand for their services rising?
click here to read those facts – Nick Penniman: America’s Gulag: The Money (in Politics) Behind Prison Privatization.