Wednesday Mashup (3/31/10)

March 31, 2010

  • 1) Jim Hightower tells us here of Joseph Casias, a 29-year-old former employee of a Walmart store in Battle Creek, Michigan (one with an exemplary record, and “former” is the key word here of course).

    What happened? Well, five months ago, Casias developed a cancer that invaded his sinuses and brain, leading to what you might expect: a severe level of chronic pain, as Hightower tells us. However, Casias was able to do his job by using “a controlled dose of marijuana that his doctor prescribed to alleviate pain, a prescription that is perfectly legal under Michigan’s medical marijuana law.”

    Hightower continues…

    By carefully scheduling his daily dosage, Casias never came to work under the influence, and he never took the medicine on the job, so Walmart saw nothing but an employee performing well.

    Until last November. In a routine drug screening by the company, Casias tested positive for pot. He showed his state medical marijuana permit to the corporate cogs, but instead of using common sense or showing a smidgeon of human compassion, the managers mindlessly clicked into Program 420g, Section 21-mj (or some such) of corporate-code — and summarily cashiered Casias.

    Get Sick. Smoke Pot. Feel Better. Get Fired. Wal-Mart.


    Well, here’s something to put in the “elections have consequences” file from last October…

    MONDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) — The Obama administration has decided it will no longer prosecute medical marijuana users or suppliers, provided they obey the laws of states that allow use of the drug for medicinal purposes.

    The new guidelines, which were to be sent in a Justice Department memo to federal prosecutors on Monday, are designed to give priorities to U.S. Attorneys who are pursuing drug offenders.

    “As a general matter, pursuit of these priorities should not focus federal resources in your states on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana,” the memo states.

    During his campaign, President Barack Obama promised to change the government’s policy on the use of medical marijuana in those states that allow it. The administration of President George W. Bush had opposed the use of marijuana as medicine.

    “This is a huge victory for medical marijuana patients,” Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, a nationwide medical marijuana advocacy organization, said in a prepared statement.

    And as noted here from last May, The Supremes upheld California’s medical marijuana law and said the feds did not have the right to supersede it, a departure from a 2005 ruling in which they claimed that the feds could do so.

    To me, it looks like our politicians and – reluctantly, perhaps – our courts are recognizing that this country has grown more amenable to legalizing pot over time, as reflected in this poll.

    And if those smiley-faced bastards refuse to do so…well, there’s always BJs and Costco, people.

  • 2) Also, since this week marks Holy Week in the Christian calendar as well as Passover in the Jewish calendar, I suppose it’s time for some wingnut site to post something about Obama and religion, and dutifully obliges here (and the line about “a different messiah than Obama” is just way too damn funny)…

    More than a full year after taking office and a handful of church appearances, President Barack Obama has announced that he and his family will not regularly attend a church here in Washington.

    …In the meantime, he’ll have to rely on the “spiritual guidance” of advisor Jim Wallis, who preaches wealth redistribution as “biblical justice.”

    Ordinarily, I could care less about whether or not politicians go to church, but I need to link once more to this article by Amy Sullivan to remind us all (as if we could’ve forgotten, I guess) of how Obama’s predecessor used his faith as a justification for every horrific decision he ever made (oh, and by the way, he never joined a Washington congregation either…and I’m not sure why the argument that both Dubya and The Sainted Ronnie R made – that they basically created too much of an intrusion by their presence – is good enough for those two, but not Obama).

    And another thing, according to Sullivan…

    Okay, Bush’s defenders say, but even if he did go to church, it’s tough for a president to be really involved with a congregation. He is, after all, running the free world. But, then again, he has spent almost 500 days on vacation over the past four years. You’d think some of that time could have been devoted to planning the next church social or sitting in on mission board meetings. Jimmy Carter found time to teach Sunday School at a local Baptist church while he was president.

    On the Sunday that I joined (Foundry Methodist Church), I was seated in the pew just in front of Bill and Chelsea Clinton. I spent the service listening to the president sing too loudly and slightly off-key (just like my own dad) with his daughter elbowing him (just like me). I turned around at the sound of scribbling during the sermon to see him jotting notes in his Bible. And when it came time for communion, I was powerfully affected. All of us–president, senator, student, welfare mom–drank from the same cup, shared the same sacrament. “His blood, shed for you,” was the sentiment offered to each of us. Shed for me, shed for the president, shed for any who would come forward. For the first time, I understood the humanizing (in every sense) and equalizing aspects of the act of communion.

    However, I honestly don’t believe Jessup actually cares about spirituality here (and based on this, I don’t think she cares a whole lot for legal due process either).

  • 3) And hey look, kids, The Weakly Standard is holding a contest (here)…

    Lots of great submissions to the haiku contest. The judges inform me that they’re also willing to accept haikus about politics in general, not just the EU or its haiku-loving president. So email wws [at] with your best haiku on Obama, the Democrats, or anything else and you may be the lucky winner of a year-long subscription to THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

    ZOMG! A year-long subscription to The Weakly Standard? Why, that sounds like as much fun as a case of dry heaves after an Ipecac cocktail (…or, maybe not).

    And Haiku also? Gee, I wonder if any of these would qualify…

    Ah, Wingnuttia
    Truth mangled and read by drones
    God, I need a drink

    Teabaggers all hate
    Our President from “Kenya”
    Sarah Palin too

    Call our media
    Time to rouse the “sheeple” for
    Bill Kristol’s new war

    Here comes “Gramps” McCain
    Talks to the kids who will vote
    “You Get Off My Lawn!”

    Report on issues?
    So this country is informed?
    You must be crazy!

    Well, perhaps not.

  • 4) Finally, five years ago today, Terri Schiavo died; for the benefit of the handful of people on this earth who don’t know who she was, this HuffPo post provides a reminder, as well as background on issues surrounding end-of-life care (it’s hypocritical for me to remind people of the importance of a living will since I don’t have one either, but we all should).

    Also, this post linking to the story of the passing of Keith Olbermann’s dad earlier this month also contains commentary and information that we should consider when dealing with end-of-life planning issues.

    Lastly, though the Schiavo story was a human and legal tragedy first and foremost, there was most definitely a political component to it. Along with Hurricane Katrina and the drip-drip-drip of the Iraq catastrophe, it numbered the days of the ruinous conservative rule in this country, as Bill Frist, Mel Martinez, Jeb Bush and way too many others sought some kind of electoral advantage over it. It showed just how far the Repugs are capable of overreaching when they believe they have the upper hand, no matter how cringingly awful their excesses turned out to be (and for what it’s worth, it was one of the main reasons I started blogging, because I felt like I had to do something in response).

    The Schiavo story is a cautionary lesson for those who dream of a Republican electoral resurgence later this year. Don’t think it could never happen again if they were in charge once more.

  • Stand Still. Get Crushed. Wal-Mart.

    December 4, 2008

    wal_mart_logo_moneyIntrepid Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News columnist Michael Smerconish (who famously proclaimed here that “I don’t do reporting” – uh, kind of odd to admit that in a newspaper, n’est-ce pas?) blamed the tragic death of Long Island, NY Wal-Mart employee Jdimytai Damour on “semicrazed shoppers (who) left a man’s body lying next to a metal door frame that was ‘crumpled like an accordion’,” here.

    Yep, that’s partly the reason, but then Smerky, in his inimitable fashion, goes on to decry other individuals in our corporate media such as Peter Goodman of the New York Times, who blamed Damour’s death on “the bleak economy.”

    I grudgingly admit that Smerky has a point; as awful as our times currently are, at least we still have SOME credit, and there was none to be had during the Great Depression, a comparison invoked by Goodman (or so an expert on this subject tells me, and that would be my mom, because she lived through it). I think comparing these times to those awful years is a little off base (probably not by much, though).

    However, did anyone else know that two other Wal-Mart customers in Maryland are filing personal injury lawsuits because they claim back and neck injuries from a similar accident as the one that claimed the life of Damour (here)?

    But then again, what else can you expect from a company that demoted a female assistant manager because she had to take time off from work for an emergency hysterectomy (here – h/t Wake Up Wal-Mart)? Or successfully sued a brain damaged former employee for insurance money that she received before an award in a car accident case here (and did I mention that she also lost her son in Iraq?).

    Yes, the people who did nothing while Damour was trampled to death deserve a measure of blame. But is it too much to ask of the smiley-faced vendor of cheap knockoff junk to perform a little crowd control on the busiest shopping day of the year?

    Update 12/7/08: Curiouser and curiouser…

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