The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

November 30, 2011
Governors urge feds to reclassify medical marijuana

Two governors joined the call today to get marijuana off the federal government's Schedule 1 list of drugs - drugs that are easily abused but have no medical benefit.

Christine Gregoire of Washington and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island sent a joint letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration urging it to reclassify pot as a drug with accepted medical uses, the New York Times reports. Their states, like California, allow medical marijuana, but are in a quandary because marijuana is still against federal law.

The governors say the reclassification is needed so their states can regulate medical pot dispensaries without fear of federal prosecution.

As the California Medical Association and The Bee's editorial board have pointed out, the reclassification would also allow more research into which diseases and conditions can be treated with marijuana and the best doses and methods of ingestion.

With U.S. attorneys in California leading the recent federal crackdown on medical pot, which they say has been hijacked by profiteers, you'd think that our governor would jump at the chance to join this petition,

How about it, Gov. Brown?

November 11, 2011
Bizarre Carrier Classic college basketball game a sign of the times

When I first heard about today's Carrier Classic college hoops game, I was very intrigued. In honor of Veterans Day, North Carolina and Michigan State are playing on the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson, anchored in San Diego harbor.

But in actually watching it, I find it jarring -- a bizarre mix of crass commercialism and partisan politics, as well as patriotism and sports.

The game is being televised on ESPN, which is milking it for all it's worth. It's sponsored by Quicken Loans, a major home mortgage company, which is kind of weird given that California is an epicenter for the housing meltdown. At halftime, State Farm had its name on a shooting contest for scholarships for military children.

Before the opening tip, President Barack Obama made remarks that at some points sounded suspiciously like a re-election speech. Besides saying the right things about the sacrifices of men and women in uniform, he also highlighted his efforts to help veterans, including tax credits that the Senate passed this week. He also mentioned that the Carl Vinson took part in the operation to kill Osama bin Laden.

The teams are wearing camouflage uniforms -- with "U.S.A" on the back instead of players' names - that, let's face it, are hideous. And my distaste has nothing to do with the fact that I went to Duke, Carolina's archrival.

But I guess that's America today. You can't have a pure special commemoration for our veterans. It has to come in a package with money and politics - like it or not.

November 10, 2011
U.S. Senate pauses from partisan wars, passes jobs bill for veterans

Just in time for Veterans Day on Friday, the U.S. Senate actually managed to put aside partisanship aside and passed a jobs bill for veterans today.


The measure includes tax credits to encourage employers to hire veterans that were sought by Democrats and President Barack Obama, and also include job training enhancements called for by House Republicans.


It is the first part of Obama's broader jobs package to get through either chamber in Congress. After passing 95-0 in the Senate, it will go to the House as early as next week.


California has much to gain in the bill, and The Bee's editorial board supported its passage. As a piece in California Forum this past Sunday detailed, about 30,000 men and women leave the military and return to the state each year, and those numbers will go up as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down.


"The brave men and women who fight for our country shouldn't have to fight to find a good job when they return home. This bill will help veterans get the job training they need to build their careers while providing incentives to employers who put veterans to work," Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, said in a statement.


Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, the top House Democrat, made clear her support for the bill, but also threw another jab at Republicans for blocking other parts of Obama's jobs plan, including money to prevent layoffs of teachers and public safety employees.


"President Obama has championed efforts to create jobs for our veterans; Senate Democrats led the way for this progress in their chamber; House Democrats have long supported a similar initiative to ensure jobs for our troops when they come home," Pelosi said in a statement. "Speaker Boehner should bring this legislation, and indeed the entire American Jobs Act, to the House floor for a vote without delay. Our veterans and all Americans can't wait."





About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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