Alaska becomes 3rd state with legal weed

Alaska on Tuesday became the third U.S. state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, but organizers don’t expect any public celebrations since it remains illegal to smoke marijuana in public.

In the state’s largest city, Anchorage police officers are ready to start handing out $100 fines to make sure taking a toke remains something to be done behind closed doors.

Placing Alaska in the same category as Washington state and Colorado with legal marijuana was the goal of a coalition including libertarians, rugged individualists and small-government Republicans who prize the privacy rights enshrined in the Alaska state constitution.

When they voted 53-47 percent last November to legalize marijuana use by adults in private places, they left many of the details to lawmakers and regulators to sort out.

That has left confusion on many matters.

There’s a surprise, eh?

That’s left different communities across the state to adopt different standards of what smoking in public means to them. In Anchorage, officials tried and failed in December to ban a new commercial marijuana industry. But Police Chief Mark Mew said his officers will be strictly enforcing the public smoking ban. He even warned people against smoking on their porches if they live next to a park.

But far to the north, in North Pole, smoking outdoors on private property will be OK as long as it doesn’t create a nuisance, officials there said…

In some respects, the confusion continues a four-decade reality for Alaskans and their relationship with marijuana.

Alaska has been burdened sufficiently with conservatives, religious nutballs and rightwing libertarians to have had any number of changes over the last four decades about what to do over getting a little mellow, being a drunk, how and where to have sex. This is just part of the whole package.

Fortunately, the Leftish flavor of libertarianism plus progressive Dems and Independents seems to be prevailing this week.

My favorite Holiday light show

Featured twice on ABC’s Good Morning America – song is “Christmas Can Can” by Straight No Chaser. This is my first year decorating and this is my first sequence ever. I built almost everything from scratch using wood and acrylic. I am a music/teacher director for a living (COVA Conservatory in Oakland and Centerville Presbyterian Church in Fremont), hence the massive instruments! The guitar is 17′, the piano is 19′ — Tom BetGeorge

Gun Show nutballs fire 105mm howitzer for kicks – hit someone’s home!

The owner of a historic World War II artillery cannon has agreed to pay for the damage caused after an artillery shell fired at the Oklahoma Full Auto Shoot and Trade Show hit a house three miles away.

Homeowner Gene Kelley of Wyandotte and his wife were home when the shell entered from an outside wall, hit the ceiling and then damaged another wall.

Fortunately no one was hunt and Kelley found the 105 howitzer artillery shell, 14 and a half inches long and 3 and a half inches across, lying on his bedroom floor last Saturday…

The impact would have been a lot more severe had the shell not first hit a tree and then the ground, he said.

The owner of the gun range where the weapon was fired has described the incident as a ‘freak accident’ and said safety precautions had been followed correctly.

Just in case anyone wondered how stupid and thoughtless the All-American gun nuts can be.

Thanks, Mike

Capital One’s creepy new terms of service

Credit card company Capital One’s new terms of service allow the company to contact cardholders in any way possible, including a visit to the person’s residence.

According to their new agreement, Capital One can “contact you in any manner we choose.” This includes calls, texts, mail, emails, and even a personal visit at work or home if the cardholder is behind on payments.

The new terms received a lot of response on social media causing the credit card giant to issue a press release on its website, “Capital One does not visit our cardholders, nor do we send debt collectors to their homes or work,” says the statement.

And, uh, then, they offer the first exception of what may be more to come. In the case of secured collateral, jet skis, bass boat, motorcycle, whatever – “we may go to a customer’s home after appropriate notification if it becomes necessary to repossess the sports vehicle.”

Suspended sentence for possibly the worst mom in America

A Missouri woman who left a loaded rifle in her toddler’s crib has received a suspended sentence, officials said. Cheryl Darlene Dudley, 37, of St. Peters, pleaded guilty to eight counts of child endangerment…

St. Peters police were called to Dudley’s home in July after a witness reported seeing Dudley’s 22-month-old daughter tied to the garage with a rope.

While investigating the incident, police found drugs a dresser drawer within reach of the toddler and Dudley’s 7-year-old son.

Police also found a loaded rifle stashed in the toddler’s crib.

Dudley told the police that she put the rifle in the crib because she heard noises in her back yard and hadn’t put it away yet.

Dudley’s daughter also had flea bites and appeared to have been scratched by a dog. Five dogs were seized from Dudley’s home during the investigation.

Police further found dog feces, dirt, cigarettes and mold inside Dudley’s home.

Circuit Judge Nancy Schneider sentenced Dudley to five years of probation, during which she must meet 17 requirements, including mental health counseling, prosecutors said.

If Dudley does not meet the requirements, she will be forced to serve a 10-year prison sentence.

Who has custody of the kids? I read several articles – all pretty much the same as the original in the St.Louis POST-DISPATCH. Nothing about the kids life after mom’s release into probation.

Woman wins court case against ex-husband – her lawyer plans to foreclose on her home for payment!

A B.C. woman stands to lose her home to her lawyer, who is moving to foreclose on her to pay his six-figure bill.

“My friends and family say this can’t be happening. There’s got to be a mistake,” Dale Fotsch said.

Fotsch got into the predicament after being sued by her former common-law husband, even though she won the case and the court ordered him to pay her costs…”I won, but I lost,” Fotsch said…

A decade ago, her common law ex-husband Leigh Wilson went after Fotsch, trying to get a piece of her property after their breakup. The case took nine years to resolve, which was years longer than her lawyer had predicted, she said.

“There was a three-week trial – three weeks! For my little place in the country. I mean, it just seems a little overboard and ridiculous,” Fotsch said. “There were three tables of binders, with papers stacked sky high.”

She said she had already paid thousands in legal fees when the case finally went to trial in 2007. As it advanced, her lawyer said he wouldn’t continue unless she allowed him to secure a $100,000 mortgage against her property, at 18 per cent interest per year.

Vancouver divorce lawyer Jonas Dubas charges $300 an hour. His invoices to Fotsch include charges like $148.40 to simply call another lawyer and leave a voicemail message…

When she finally won, in 2010, the B.C. Court of Appeal ordered Fotsch’s former husband to pay her court costs. That would have covered at least part of her bill from Dubas — which, by then, had reached $90,000.

“When they said he was responsible for the costs, I thought that meant that he was going to pay them,” Fotsch said.

However, her ex-husband has since declared bankruptcy, so he hasn’t paid and she can’t force him to. Meanwhile, her legal bill has mushroomed — with $88 a day in interest charges — and has now reached $180,000…

I’ve gone to court like they told me I had to, to save my place. And now the very person that I got to help me is taking it…”

I have this discussion once in a while when folks say I’m too hard on lawyers.

Look, I’ve known some great lawyers – who fit the design of folks who fight to defend the rights of ordinary citizens. Spent some great times with Bill Kuntsler and Ted Koskoff. Ted had a rule of thumb that a third of the cases he took on would end up being unpaid – for folks who could never afford the head of the National Trials Lawyers Association; but, needed a great lawyer to help them battle some sleazy corporation or rightwing police department. They were kind of folks who accepted the Bill of Rights as the mantra for their career in law.

And then there are grasping, greedy and unprincipled types who don’t care whether or not they give their clients timely service at honest rates. Which kind do you think represents the majority?

You don’t even have to count in the lawyers in Congress.