Tag Archives: Obama

Obama Downplays The Dangers of Pot

Obama Pot 2

President Barack Obama announced that he doesn’t think pot is more dangerous than alcohol, but it’s still a “bad idea”.

The Obama administration has given states the green light to experiment with marijuana regulation. Colorado and Washington have already taken advantage of that and recently legalized recreational weed. The president said it was important for the legalization of marijuana to go forward in those states in order to avoid “a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.” Or to put it in other words, the disproportional rates of prosecution and incarceration for drug crimes between middle-class whites and poor African Americans/Latinos aren’t exactly fair.

In an interview with “The New Yorker” magazine, the president downplayed the dangers of marijuana, comparing it to cigarettes and arguing it is no more dangerous than alcohol.

Obama Pot“As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol,” the president told the magazine.

He went on to say pot smokers shouldn’t be locked up for long stretches of time when people writing drug laws “have probably done the same thing.” Lesson: smoke pot, just don’t get caught.

Despite Obama’s gradual softening of legalization language, he’s not ready to go full stoner just yet. At least not until public opinion shifts…

Smoking marijuana is “not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy,” Obama said.

The president also urged a cautious approach to changing marijuana laws, saying that people who think legalizing pot will solve social problems are “probably overstating the case” and describing the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington as a challenging “experiment”.

Obama also raised a concern about where the U.S should draw the line when it comes to harder drugs.

“I also think that, when it comes to harder drugs, the harm done to the user is profound and the social costs are profound. And you do start getting into some difficult line-drawing issues,” Obama said. “If marijuana is fully legalized and at some point folks say, ‘Well, we can come up with a negotiated dose of cocaine that we can show is not any more harmful than vodka.’ Are we open to that? If somebody says, ‘We’ve got a finely calibrated dose of meth, it isn’t going to kill you or rot your teeth.’ Are we OK with that?”

I’m sure the methheads will be OK with that – except that the price will probably jacked up 3000%.

Via: Washington Times

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Revamped NSA Spying Program

Current Event Cat - GOv Spying NSA

In his much-anticipated NSA speech, President Obama outlined four major reforms to the National Security Agency in the wake of leaked documents by notorious leaker Edward Snowden. Better late than never?

Addressing the changes he is proposing to the NSA, Obama said he would end the vast collection of phone data as it exists today. The reforms include putting a stop to spying on “friendly” world leaders, new protections for foreigners caught in US data collection programs, and prohibiting the NSA from storing large amounts of data. Under this new plan, details of phone calls would be held by a third party, and the NSA would have to seek legal permission before it could access that information – ultimately moving the data out of the hands of the government.

“We will not monitor the communications of heads of state and government of our close friends and allies,” Obama promised.

“The leaders of our close friends and allies deserve to know that if I want to learn what they think about an issue, I will pick up the phone and call them, rather than turning to surveillance.”

But despite the sweeping reforms, Obama stood behind the surveillance program, claiming that the aggressive practices of the NSA did not break the law, and that in many cases they were necessary to protect national security. Obama said US intelligence had prevented terror attacks at home and abroad. How many terror attacks? Can’t say – it’s top secret. Just know that you WILL die in a terror attack if the NSA stops listening to your phone calls.

Via: New York Times

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Obama’s Sochi Snub

Current Event Cat - Sochi

U.S. President Barack Obama announced that neither he nor Joe Biden will be attending the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. But he will send along a few gay delegates – just to stick it to Putin and his anti-gay laws.

Obama’s absence from the Sochi Olympics is a clear sign that the U.S. is concerned over human rights in Russia, especially the country’s anti-LGBT laws. The Sochi Games will mark the first time since 2000 that the U.S. will not send a president, former president, first lady or vice-president to the Games.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will go in Obama and Biden’s place, along with a few choice delegates including Billie Jean King and Caitlin Cahow, two openly LGBT athletes. Take that Russia!

White House spokesman Shin Inouye said the delegation “represents the diversity that is the United States” and that Obama “knows they will showcase to the world the best of America — diversity, determination and teamwork.” Can you add a few more diversities in there?

Obama claims his schedule doesn’t allow him to travel to Sochi, but Gay rights groups viewed the announcement as a strong statement.

“It’s hard to look at this delegation without seeing it as a criticism of Putin’s anti-gay laws. … What it’s doing is showing the true power of the Olympics, the ability to move people, to change people’s minds and open them up to new ways of thinking. The delegation is shining a light on the values of the Olympics,” said Andre Banks, the executive director of All Out.

And U.S. officials aren’t the only ones snubbing Sochi. German President Joachim Gauck and French President Francois Hollande announced earlier that they will not attend the Sochi Games. Although maybe it’s less about Russia’s “gay propaganda” laws and more about not wanting to endure a cold, dark Russian winter.

Via: Buzzfeed

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President Obama Takes a Funeral Selfie… And Other News

Obama Selfie

Oh President Obama, no… not a funeral selfie.

Nelson Mandela’s funeral is shaping up to be the who’s who of political leaders so it’s no surprise that President Obama wanted to snap a few photos. Obama, the latest entry to the Tumblr Selfies at Funerals, took a smiling selfie with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt at Nelson Mandela’s “celebration of life” memorial on Tuesday. But that wasn’t Obama’s only faux-pas. Obama also shook hands with Cuban president Raúl Castro (aka America’s arch nemesis) in what appears to be the second U.S.-Cuban leader handshake in the last five decades – former President Bill Clinton made that same mistake in 2000. Judging from Michelle Obama’s face, the funeral selfie was the bigger faux pas. But this next picture takes the funeral faux pas cake: flirting with hot Scandinavian Prime Ministers while your wife gives you the death glare.

Mandela Funeral Flirting

USA Today

China MandelaWhile the rest of the world is watch their leaders taking funeral selfies at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, China is making sure their citizens get the NSFD version (not suitable for democracies). The Chinese government has issued a series of orders to media ahead of Mandela’s funeral to make sure any mention of democracy or human rights is filtered out. “All media and websites must be prudent in selecting the materials and [must] report appropriately,” the ministry’s orders read. “All posts and comments on Weibo and blogs that take advantage of the funeral of Mandela to attack our political systems and state leaders must be deleted immediately.” Also banned from the funeral coverage are the usual controversial topics: the Dalai Lama, Tibet, or anything Taiwan. There’s not a ton of Taiwan-Mandela related material, but filtering mentions of human rights out of Nelson Mandela’s funeral coverage? That’s going to be a short news clip. South China Morning Post

Bob Filner and His Creepy SmileSan Diego’s ultra creepy former mayor, Bob Filner, has been sentence to 90 days home confinement by a judge after pleading guilty to sexual criminal charges earlier this year – which included asking his director of communications to work without underwear. No jail time, three years probation, and some mental health treatment isn’t a bad deal for sexually harassing three women, but attorney Gloria Allred blasted the plea bargain as too soft. But there is an upside to his political downfall – he is now banned from seeking or holding public office again. Los Angeles Times

French troops patrol past two rebel vehicles set on fire in Bangui, Central African RepublicFrance is having some serious car trouble. I mean CAR trouble. Two French soldiers were killed in combat overnight in the troubled Central African Republic. The casualties are the first since the operation to restore stability in the former French colony began. While CAR has been quickly descending into chaos eve since Michel Djotodia ousted President Francois Bozize back in March, France just recently deployed 1,600 soldiers as part of a UN-backed operation. The French force is trying to disarm rival Muslim and Christian fighters who have embarked on a killing, looting and raping rampage. According to the Red Cross, at least 465 people have been killed in the capital, Bangui, since Thursday – and now there are two French soldiers to add to the list. The Globe and Mail

PIP plantsAfter PIP popped thousands of women’s fake boobs, Jean-Claude Mas, the founder of PIP, a French medical-device company, is headed to jail. The PIP founder was sentence to four years in jail for allegedly distributing faulty breast implants. The substandard silicone gel in the implants caused many to rupture. At one time PIP was the third largest global supplier of breast implants, and an estimated 300,000 women have had received them in 65 countries – mainly Latin American ones. Mas, 74, showed no emotion as his verdict was read, and denied that the silicone was harmful. The 5,000 women registered as plaintiffs and their ruptured boobs felt otherwise. The Guardian

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Current Event Cat of the Day: The Traditional Thanksgiving Turkey Pardon

Current Event Cat - Obama Turkey Pardon Cats

President Obama continued the presidential Thanksgiving tradition and pardoned two very plump turkeys, marking the start of American Thanksgiving – or as Americans call it, Thanksgiving.

On Wednesday, Obama stepped outside the White House for a few minutes to participate in the turkey pardoning ritual.

“The office of the presidency — the most powerful position in the world — brings with it many awesome and solemn responsibilities,” Obama said during a ceremony on the North Portico.

“This is not one of them.”

This year’s lucky turkey was Popcorn, a 37 pounder who beat out 80 other birds via a Facebook vote to get shipped off to a turkey farm in Virginia where he can live the rest of his short life slowly dying of obesity. Fun fact: most pardoned turkeys die within a year of being granted a reprieve – mainly because they are bred to be so fat that they develop bone deformities, heart disease, or kidney problems.

“Popcorn, you have a full reprieve from cranberry sauce and stuffing. We wish you well,” Obama declared.

The year’s runner up, Caramel, who tips the scales at 38 pounds four ounces, was also pardoned and will join Popcorn on their victory tour at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate before retiring to the turkey farm.

The turkey pardon is arguable a silly Thanksgiving tradition but considering the other American Thanksgiving traditions (i.e. punching each other in a Walmart while trying to get the best deals on cheap merchandise), it actually seems quite highbrow in comparison.

And without the turkey pardon tradition, we would never have this classic picture of George Bush:

Bush Turkey

Or, for that matter, this lovely video of Sarah Palin pardoning a turkey while its turkey friends get slaughtered in the background. A true Thanksgiving moment!

Via: USA Today

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The Secret Service is Down Two Agents

Secret Service Probe

Two not-so-secret Secret Service supervisors have been fired from President Obama’s crew after they engaged in “misconduct” and sexual harassment.

The alleged Secret Service misconduct involved sending suggestive e-mails to a subordinate female agent and leaving behind bullets in hotel rooms – bullets meant for protecting President Obama!

One Secret Service agent, Ignacio Zamora Jr., a senior supervisor who oversaw about two dozen agents in the president’s security detail, met a woman in the bar of the Hay-Adams Hotel near the White House. Zamora joined her in her room and removed the ammunition from his government-issued weapon. But later he realized he had left a single bullet behind and demanded to be let back in. The woman refused and the agent was caught trying to force his way into the room, prompting an internal investigation by the Secret Service.

In another incident, investigators found that Zamora and another supervisor, Timothy Barraclough, had sent sexually suggestive e-mails to a female subordinate.

After the results of the investigation were revealed, both agents were taken off Obama’s detail.

“We have always maintained that the Secret Service has a professional and dedicated workforce,” Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said in a statement, referring to the Hay-Adams incident.

Periodically we have isolated incidents of misconduct, just like every organization does.”

Considering just last year a group of agents were caught with teenage prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia after a night of heavy drinking while supposedly working on security for Obama’s visit to the Summit of Americas, this seems pretty low-key. Maybe hiring veteran agent Julia Pierson as the Secret Service’s first female director after the Colombian prostitute scandal is paying off. Or maybe the Secret Service is just learning to be slightly more secretive about its male-dominated culture of hard partying.

Via: The Washington Post

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Current Event Cat: Obama – Fix Obamacare!

Current Event Cat - Fix Obamacare

After Bill Clinton chided President Obama for making false promises to Americans about being able to keep their current healthcare plans, Obama has announced he is going to “fix” Obamacare and allow Americans to keep cancelled plans for one more year.

Earlier this week, Bill Clinton declared that Obama should keep his promise – even if it means changing the law.

“I personally believe, even if it takes a change in the law, that the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they’ve got,” Clinton said in the interview on Tuesday.

Apparently Obama was persuaded (either by Clinton or the millions of other angry Americans) because today the president spoke about his plans to fix the many issues with the Affordable Care Act. Obama first acknowledged the “rough” website rollout, which government officials and other contractors don’t believe will be fully functional by the Nov. 30 deadline.

We fumbled the roll out on this health care law,” he said. “There is no doubt that people are frustrated.”

But, while admitting that the website’s technical “glitches” have prevented a large number of Americans from signing up, Obama said that the 100,000 who did enroll online in the first month “shows that Americans want health care.” The total number of enrollees is pretty far below the 500,000 that were predicted to sign up and only represent 1.5 percent of the estimated number of Americans who need to sign up by the March 31 deadline – but at least they’ve made it past the 100,000 mark!

President Obama went on to address the growing number of complaints from people who were told they could not keep their current insurance plan because it does not meet the Affordable Care Act’s strict new requirements for policies – despite Obama’s reassuring Obamacare motto “if you like your health care, you can keep it!” To make up for that “glitch,” Obama is allowing insurance companies to extend individually purchased plans that would otherwise end in 2014.

“This fix won’t solve every problem for every person” but it will help many, the President said at the White House. “We are going to do everything we can to help Americans who’ve received these cancellation notices.”

But the main problem with the fix is that the onus is on the insurance company. The Obama administration isn’t requiring insurers to extend existing plans, they are just giving them the option to offer an additional year of coverage. And if there’s one thing I know about insurance companies, it’s that they’re huge dicks who will totally cancel your plan.

Via: BBC News

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3-D Guns Are Now A Thing… And Other News

3-D Gun

A Texas company says it has made the first metal gun using a 3-D printer, paving the way for rednecks everywhere to start creating their own firearms. Well this makes me feel very safe.

The Austin company, Solid Concepts, created almost all the parts of the 3-D gun via direct metal laser sintering – whatever that means. While some are concered over the emerging ability to build your own gun, I say c’mon, it’s Texas! You don’t need a 3-D printer – just buy a gun on the internet or take one from a gun show parking lot or find one in your cereal box. Mental patients and felons don’t have time to sit around and assemble a 3-D gun, let alone pay $20k for a 3-D printer – they’ve got places to go and people to kill! CNN

Polio in Syria 2Thanks a lot Syria! After polio made a surprise comeback in Syria after a 14-year absence, health experts are now worried that the disease could reemerge in Europe as refugees come flooding in. Martin Eichner, a professor at the University of Tuebingen, co-authored a letter to the medial journal The Lancet, warning that the vaccine used in the U.S. and Europe offers only partial protection against infection so the disease could enter Europe via unsuspecting refugees and cause an outbreak. The polio virus, which is spread through feces, has no cure – but heightened screening of sewage systems near refugee settlements could help reduce the outbreak. Or sealing off Europe’s borders. Either one. Bloomberg

Kerry and NetanyahuJohn Kerry is taking his sweet time putting together a deal on Iran’s nuclear program. The Secretary of State arrived in Geneva on Friday to talk with Iranian representatives but stressed that no agreement has been reached on Iran’s nuke program and emphasized that the parties still have significant ground to cover. Under the current deal being floated, Iran would freeze expansion of its nuclear program in exchange for loosened economic sanctions. While the West is mulling it over, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already made up his mind: Iran is evil! Netanyahu said he “utterly rejected” the deal with its arch nemesis Iran and if it went through, it would be a “grievous historic error.”  So to sum up, he’s not a fan. BBC News

I'm SorryPresident Obama is sorry. He’s sorry the health care website is full of glitches, he’s sorry he falsely promised Americans that they could keep their health insurance plans, and he’s sorry about the backlash he’s getting because of it. “I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” he told NBC News. Well you can stuff your sorries in a sack mister because despite repeated assurances that anyone who likes their health insurance plan could keep them under Obamacare, the administration has apparently known since the summer of 2010 that this was not the case and millions of Americans could lose their insurance under the law. “Obviously we didn’t do a good enough job in terms of how we crafted the law,” Obama said in the interview Thursday. “And, you know, that’s something I regret.” No kidding. NBC News

Canada-Toronto MayorRob Ford needs a vacation and perhaps a little bit of counselling – according to his brother, Councilman Doug Ford, in what must be the understatement of the century. After admitting to smoking crack in a drunken stupor and watching a video of himself utter death threats in a drunken stupor, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is finally ready to potentially start considering the fact that he may have a bit of a drinking problem. Facing increasing pressure to resign, Ford is now considering entering rehab – and by rehab I mean a short vacation from drugs and booze. “If Rob goes away on a vacation, for a week or two weeks, Rob loses 50, 60 pounds, stays on the straight narrows, because he’s a good man … it’ll be tough to beat Rob Ford,” his brother said on Talk Radio 640. Losing 50-60lbs in a week or two without the help of crack? Good luck! The Globe and Mail

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Angela Merkel & Her Phone

Current Event Cat - Angela Merkel Phone Calls

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called President Obama on Wednesday to have an angry chat over allegations a German paper made about the U.S tapping her cell phone.

This is how the awkward conversation went (in my mind):

Angela Merkel: I am VERY upset with you President Obama!

Barack Obama: I know. You’ve been calling everyone and complaining about it for days. I mean… nevermind… no one was listening.

The German magazine, Der Spiegel, broke the story, which prompted German intelligence to investigate. They determined that there was enough plausible information that Merkel’s cell phone was targeted by the NSA to warrant a stern talking to. The German chancellor is said to be “livid” over the reports and we all know what happens when a German leader gets angry… they make an angry phone call.

Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement that Merkel told Obama that Germany “has received information that the chancellor’s cellphone may be monitored by American intelligence” and that such practices are “completely unacceptable.”

But the Obama administration is denying that the National Security Agency tapped Merkel’s phone and Obama assured the German chancellor over the phone that the U.S. is not monitoring her every text. Just every other text…

I don’t know… Given the recent reports about U.S spying activities in Brazil, France, and Mexico, it’s plausible that the U.S. has been tapping Angela Merkel’s phone. How else would George W. Bush have known that she wanted a back rub?

Merkel Bush Massage

Via: The Guardian

Obama Addresses Obamacare Glitches in Rose Garden Speech

Rose Garden Speech

President Obama held a Rose Garden press conference today to acknowledge the widespread technical issues that have been plaguing the Obamacare sign-up website. There’s nothing like a Rose Garden speech to smooth over technical difficulties!

The health care website has been experiencing a few/more than a few glitches since it launched on October 1 and now that the government shutdown has stopped dominating the news, attention has turned back to the website’s functionality problems.

Obama admitted that healthcare.gov “hasn’t worked as smoothly as it was supposed to work” but that despite its problems, the site was still delivering affordable coverage.

Part of the problem has been the number of Americans eager to check it out. Since it’s launch, HealthCare.gov has had about 19 million unique visits and an estimated 476,000 have attempted to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

“The number of people who’ve visited the site has been overwhelming, which has aggravated some of these underlying problems,” Obama said.

“There’s no sugar coating – the website has been too slow, people have been getting stuck during the application process, and I think it’s fair to say that nobody’s more frustrated by that than I am.

“And there’s no excuse for the problems,” he added, “and these problems are getting fixed.”

And how are they getting fixed? With computer geeks! The Department of Health and Human Services is seeking the “best and brightest” tech experts from both the public and private sector to work on HealthCare.gov.

But until that happens (which experts say may not be until December…), Obama brought along a few pals/”randomly” selected individuals to the Rose Garden conference who have successfully enrolled in the health care exchanges and LOVED it!

One model Obamacare example says she had “a number of frustrating attempts” to use the site but kept trying and now will save $150 a month and doesn’t have to worry about being rejected because of a pre-existing condition.

Republicans are still not convinced.

“ObamaCare is collapsing under its own weight, and a Rose Garden speech isn’t going to fix it,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.

Neither is shutting down the government, but it was worth a try – right?

Via: BBC News

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