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Des Moines Women's March

I marched in the Women’s March at the Iowa State Capitol today, in solidarity with all those who would stand against fascism and the erosion of human rights. Here are some of the pictures and video I took during the march:

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Signs of the Apocalypse

It’s shocking that Glenn Beck actually said something reasonable on TV:

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Dry Days

I went to the Mad House Grill (just off lane six of Koregaon Park) for dinner tonight. I’ve been planning on trying it for some time now, and I was in the neighborhood tonight anyway. I started with some BBQ chicken wings, and finished with an “Italian beef” with garlic bread. It wasn’t quite was I was looking for, but not bad overall.

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Packing for India; Blago Impeached

I've been spending my day today doing my final packing for my upcoming trip to India. A couple of items of note:

  • I saw during lunch that the Weather Channel is forecasting 4-6″ of snow for the Chicago area over tonight and tomorrow. This is expected to cause flight delays and otherwise disrupt travel across the area. It remains to be seen whether my 7 p.m. flight tomorrow will be affected.
  • The Illinois House of Representatives voted to impeach Governor Blagojevich due to his corruption.

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Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich Arrested on Corruption Charges

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested at his home this morning and was subsequently charged with multiple counts of corruption. Blago has shown a stellar 4% approval rating as recently as October 13, 2008, and his self-portrayal as a reformer is something at which the Illinois public has widely (and audibly) scoffed. The Illinois state government is considered to be one of the most corrupt in the country, but at least our last governor left office before being charged.

Hopefully the Feds have a strong case. Good riddance.

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I voted this morning. Everything went smoothly: waited in line, showed voter card and passport, took ballot, marked ballot based on wingnut libertarian views, turned in ballot, and proudly walked out with "I Voted" sticker.

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Conservatives for Obama

This week's Lexington in The Economist covers the striking number of prominent conservatives who have endorsed Barack Obama for president.

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Gen. Colin Powell endorses Senator Barack Obama for President

On Meet the Press Sunday, General Colin Powell announced that he’ll be voting for Obama this November. The former secretary of state made a compelling argument for why Obama is the better choice in this election.

Perhaps the most important point General Powell makes is regarding whether or not Obama is a Muslim. While knowledgeable people realize that this is not true, I have heard few prominent speakers answer this claim with something like, “and what if he is?”

I find it extremely disappointing that one can say, with a nudge and a knowing look, that someone might be a Muslim, implying that this is somehow dangerous, and one should be suspicious.

The common retort to this “attack” is to correct the speaker, stating that Obama is in fact a Christian. While realpolitik makes this politically wise, it misses the point. Being Muslim, Hindu, atheist, or of any other religious belief should not itself bar one from being president. Kudos to General Powell for standing up and making this an important point of his comments. It is absurd that the mere hint that one might not be Christian makes one un-American, and I hope more people stand up to the bigots that believe this rubbish.

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Another Failure of the War on Drugs

A recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health (It should be noted that legalization activists like NORML were not involved in the study, and the authors called the results "particularly worrisome because they were unexpected." It's worth emphasizing that the study was commissioned by the US Congress, who presumably expected it to find that their efforts have been crucial in keeping little Johnny "safe.") has found that despite spending tremendous amounts of taxpayers' dollars on anti-drug propaganda, the efforts have had little to no effect (and may possibly have even encouraged marijuana use amongst those most heavily exposed to the campaign). This study, commissioned by Congress and executed by the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School of Communication, found that while youths were clearly exposed to the imagery, it had no statistically significant effect on whether or not these teens eventually tried marijuana—except, perhaps, for those teens who remembered seeing the campaign 12 or more times per month, who were slightly more likely to have tried the drug.

The results of this study should not be surprising to anyone who remembers the results of a $43 million 2005 Office of National Drug Control Policy report on the results of the same campaign, which came to similar conclusions. One may be forgiven for having forgotten about this earlier report, since the White House tried to bury it, and continued burning through their anti-drug budget.

I would find the irony of this to be highly amusing if it weren't for the financial and (more tragic) human cost of the War on Drugs. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America spent about $1 billion on this campaign over five years, money which could have been better spent in so many other ways (e.g., treatment programs for legitimate drug abusers, or just returned to the taxpayers). This pales in comparison with the billions of dollars our society has spent on locking up non-violent drug offenders, directly resulting in prison overcrowding and early release of truly dangerous criminals.

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The Libertarian Case for Palin

Mom sent me an interesting article from RealClearPolitics.com entitled The Libertarian Case for Palin.  The article makes some interesting points, but I have to say that overall, the issues on which it appears that Palin has taken a libertarian-esque stance are outweighed by the negatives of her and her running-mate.

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