Illinois Made New York And New Jersey Look Like Weedless Dorks

❝ Illinois just became the unofficial 11th state in the nation to legalize marijuana for recreational use. But more important than that, it bent legal weed hopefuls New York and New Jersey over its knee and gave them a vicious spanking that they will not soon forget. Both Eastern states have been fighting to put cannabis legalization on the books since dinosaurs walked the Earth, but everyone involved with the process keeps showing up for work in clown shoes.

❝ For whatever reason, lawmakers in that part of the country are confused about how to establish a taxed and regulated pot market while also keeping the social equity aspect in mind. And we have got to hand it to them – they almost convinced the nation that passing such a comprehensive bill through legislative channels was like pulling a shark’s teeth while it gnaws on your leg…

But then Illinois swept in last week and approved what is considered the most progressive cannabis law in the nation. And it did it just hours before lawmakers called it quits for the summer…

❝ A report from Crain’s Chicago Business indicates that the Land of Lincoln will have one of the most lucrative cannabis markets in the United States. It is a cash cow that is expected to grow in upwards of 20 times larger than its medicinal sector, creating tens of thousands of new jobs and generating revenue to the tune of $1.6 billion annually.

Much of the same could have been readily available to New York and New Jersey, but pettiness and the inability to compromise ultimately sabotaged prosperity.

❝ Nice job, dorks!

NJ worst in the US for racist jailtime. Ban book about it from prisons.


New Jersey bans book about racist NJ policies

❝ “At least two New Jersey state prisons have banned inmates from reading a highly praised book that links racial discrimination and mass incarceration.”

❝ “Michelle Alexander’s 2012 book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness is off limits to inmates as a matter of policy at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton and Southern State Correctional Facility in Delmont, according to documents provided in response to a public records request from the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU chapter plans to send a letter to state corrections officials on Monday demanding access to the book for inmates in the state, which the group said has the worst U.S. black-white incarceration disparity.

“The New Jim Crow chronicles how people of color are shut out of society by mass incarceration,” the letter states. “That the very prisoners who experience the worst racial disparity in incarceration in the country should be prohibited from reading a book whose precise purpose is to examine and educate about that disparity adds insult to injury.”

People who make racist rules always claim they aren’t racists. Conservatives and chickenshit moderates call that progress.

Fighting back and winning is progress.

The Militarization of America’s Cities by Maj. Danny Sjursen

❝ I can remember both so well.

2006. My first raid in South Baghdad. 2014. Watching on YouTube as a New York police officer asphyxiated — murdered — Eric Garner for allegedly selling loose cigarettes on a Staten Island street corner not five miles from my old apartment. Both events shocked the conscience.

It was 11 years ago next month. My first patrol of the war and we were still learning the ropes from the Army unit we were replacing. Unit swaps are tricky, dangerous times…

❝ Officers from incoming units like mine were forced to learn the terrain, identify the key powerbrokers in our assigned area, and sort out the most effective tactics in the two weeks before the experienced officers departed. It was a stressful time…

Major Sjursen quickly learned to rearrange his response and definitions to war, honesty, actual military and political goals to the realities of the American War on Iraq. Short, worthy read on its own.

❝ Years passed. I came home, stayed in the Army, had a kid, divorced, moved a few more times, remarried, had more kids — my Giants even won two Super Bowls. Suddenly everyone had an iPhone, was on Facebook or tweeting or texting rather than calling.

Somehow in those blurred years, Iraq-style police brutality and violence — especially against poor blacks — gradually became front-page news. One case, one shaky YouTube video followed another. Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile and Freddie Gray, just to start a long list.

So many of the clips reminded me of enemy propaganda videos from Baghdad or helmet-cam shots recorded by our troopers in combat, except that they came from New York or Chicago or San Francisco…

The tactics, intent, goals began to more than resemble his life in an occupying army thousands of miles from home. And that’s what the rest of his article is about.

New Jersey town sues DuPont for toxic waste dumping bigger than Exxon Valdez oil spill


Click to enlargeWilliam Bretzger/The News Journal

❝ A small town in New Jersey has sued DuPont for $1.1 billion, claiming it dumped more than 100 million lbs. of toxic waste into soil and water near the Delaware River, “a disaster worse than Exxon Valdez” that will take 1,000 years to clean up.

❝ Carneys Point Township is a town of about 8,000 near the eastern end of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Its December lawsuit in Salem County Superior Court involves the cleanup of the Chambers Work Site, where Teflon was invented in 1938.

The site has been linked to cancer clusters in the area, which includes Carneys Point.

❝ DuPont began operating at the site in 1892 as a gunpowder mill, then transformed it onto a 1,400-acre chemical manufacturing complex that used hazardous substances including mercury, benzene and ethyl chloride.

Thousands of New Jersey residents have sued DuPont for contaminating their drinking water at the site. One such case was settled in 1993 for almost $40 million. DuPont did not admit liability…

❝ The town asks the court to calculate the penalties due under the Industrial Site Recovery Act — tens of thousands of dollars per day multiplied by years, and compel DuPont to establish a remediation trust as required by law.

It says the remediation trust should be $1.126 billion…

DuPont spokesman Dan Turner declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Not especially interested in what DuPont PR flacks have to say in the company’s defense. Responsibility is the operative process. DuPont must be made to pay up for the damages caused to generations of residents by their careless, thoughtless, profit-mills.

Empire State Building gets in the way of drone

drone dork

A New Jersey man was flying his drone over Manhattan Thursday night when a historic landmark, the Empire State Building, very rudely got in its flight path. The drone crashed into the skyscraper’s 40th floor and ended up tumbling down a few stories to rest on the ledge of the 36th floor…

The drone pilot, 27-year-old Sean Riddle, enlisted the help of the security guards at the Empire State Building to try to get his robot back. Security said sure and then went right behind Riddle’s back and called the cops. Riddle was arrested and charged with reckless endangerment and violating the city’s rules on flying these unmanned aerial vehicles.

Cops say they’re not sure if the drone is still stuck up there or not, so maybe keep an eye out when you’re on 34th Street.

Dork!

British Journalist denied flight to U.S. because she was born in Iran

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We can’t go to your cousin’s birthday party…

Amid confusion over new United States visa rules intended to deter terrorists, a British journalist who works for the BBC was denied permission to board a flight to New York at Heathrow Airport on Tuesday because she was born in Iran.

The journalist, Rana Rahimpour, had hoped to surprise her brother in New Jersey this week by appearing at his son’s sixth birthday party with her daughter, but was turned away from her flight because of a new regulation that requires European Union citizens who are dual nationals of Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan, or have traveled to those countries in the past five years, to obtain a visa in advance. Other Europeans are able to travel to the United States for up to 90 days through a longstanding visa waiver program.

Ms. Rahimpour, who has not been able to travel to Iran for many years because of her work for the BBC’s Persian-language service in London, said in an email that her request for the sort of routine visa waiver that British citizens are entitled to was not denied until she appeared at the airport.

Secretary of State John Kerry had assured Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, last month that the Obama administration would try to keep the new rules from penalizing dual nationals or Europeans who wanted to visit Iran for business or tourism after sanctions were lifted as part of the recently completed nuclear accord.

❝“To be told that I can’t fly despite the assurances that Secretary Kerry gave in a letter to Foreign Minister Zarif that this won’t affect ordinary Iranians is just crazy,” Ms. Rahimpour wrote. “Here I am denied a flight, because I am by birth an Iranian citizen — something I can’t change even if I wanted to.”

I can’t fathom how this helps U.S. security not to mention its image among the Iranian public,” she wrote.

There are two levels of explanation to the problem: first, our bureaucratic chain of communications is less-than-competent. Hey, that’s the way it is.

Second, we’re Americans and whatever we feel like doing to anyone else is OK. USA, USA, USA!

Sad, but, true.

How far will a Republican bend over to kiss NRA butt? Ask Chris Christie

Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday nixed a bill that would have barred carjackers or anyone convicted of gang activity or terroristic threats from owning or purchasing a firearm.

Christie, who’s seeking the Republican nomination for president, failed to act on the bill (A4182) by its end-of-legislative session deadline, effectively killing a measure that received overwhelming bipartisan support in the state Legislature…

That’s called a pocket veto. He has more than bills in his pants, obviously.

Under current law, people convicted of certain serious crimes, such as aggravated assault, arson, burglary, homicide, extortion, endangering the welfare of a child, stalking and burglary, are not allowed to own or purchase a firearm in the state.

The bill sought to add people convicted of “carjacking, gang criminality, racketeering and terroristic threats” to that list.

The bill passed the State Assembly 68 to 0, the State Senate 37 to 0.

Christie’s office declined to offer insight into the reason for the veto…

Some people choose intelligent allies. Some pick friends for favors. Some kiss butt because they’re opportunists and cowards. Which one is Christie?

Remember knocking on a door and not wondering if you need a bulletproof vest

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An off-duty New Jersey state trooper fired shots at a car with three young men inside as they were trying to drive away from his house after knocking on his door by mistake at night while looking for the house of a friend who lives next door…

The trooper told investigators he suspected the three men were trying to enter his Sparta home, 50 miles northwest of New York City, between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. Sunday, according to the attorney general’s office.

Jesse Barkhorn, 18, who was in the car that night, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that they attended a party earlier and were dropping off one of them at a friend’s house. He said they mistakenly knocked on the door at the house next to their friend’s house. He said they heard a man screaming from inside and they ran back to the car.

They turned around in the cul-de-sac where the home is located and saw the man standing with his weapon pointed at them, Barkhorn said.

“At this point we’re freaking out, ‘It’s a gun. It’s a gun,'” Barkhorn said. “I was like ‘Dude, get out of here.'”

He said the driver accelerated and the man then fired at them. One of the bullets struck the car’s front tire and the driver stopped the car a short distance away.

According to officials, who didn’t release the names of those involved, two 18-year-olds and a 19-year-old went to the wrong house, knocked on the door and fled after a verbal exchange. They got in their car and drove away and the trooper fired three shots with his personal weapon when the car did not stop…

Barkhorn told the AP that after they stopped the car, one of the men fled. He was found by officers hours later.

Barkhorn said all three were taken to the Sparta police department then to state police barracks in Netcong. He said he remained in custody for more than nine hours before being released without being charged.

“It was traumatic. I really have never been in a situation like that,” Barkhorn said. “You don’t really appreciate things until you have a gun pointed at your head. It was really scary.”

Nine hours in state police custody because their cop bubba did the shooting – so it had to be the kids’ fault, right? How long does it take to establish that the cop firing at these kids was the one breaking the law?

Yes, you can be suspicious about someone turning up at your door at 2 in the morning. Maybe even you keep your piece handy if you’re a gun owner. But, if the dudes are obviously hurrying to depart, you needn’t do more than try to get their license number and call it in. You don’t start shooting up the neighborhood.

I’ve been in the same situation – with a young guy showing up at the door who ran out of gas in front of our home. Yes, I had a handgun in my pocket. No need to wave it about or even mention it. And, yes, we hunted up the gas can for our lawnmower and got enough into his car to get him close enough back to civilization to find an all-night gas station and get himself home.

Cripes! Being civilized is really easier than being paranoid.