Freed from the reclusive stuffiness of the Supreme Court, former Justice John Paul Stevens now says marijuana should be legal.
In an interview with NPR's Scott Simon, Stevens said the "distinction between marijuana and alcoholic beverages is really not much of a distinction." And when asked directly if the feds should legalize marijuana, Stevens responded in the affirmative.
"Alcohol, the prohibition against selling and dispensing alcoholic beverages has I think been generally, there's a general consensus that it was not worth the cost," he added. "And I think really in time that will be the general consensus with respect to this particular drug."
Statistically, Stevens' remarks shouldn't be too surprising. More than half of all Americans now favor legalizing marijuana, and that support is rising.
It seems like a matter of time before a viable presidential candidate (publicly) feels the same way. Jon Terbush
Trevor Noah, in Chicago, thinks he knows why Trump and Fox News single the city out for gun violence
Trevor Noah began a weeklong "Daily Show Undesked" residency in Chicago on Monday by criticizing Chicago's "Windy City" nickname. But "there is another nickname for some people," Noah said, "and it's way worse than the Windy City — it's 'the murder capital.'" Chicago's violent reputation isn't just in the U.S., he noted, showing a clip from a South African cartoon of his youth, but in a new twist, the president of the United States is arguing that "Chicago is basically Syria, but with different pizza."
"This week we're in Chicago because we figured that Chicago is a microcosm for all the issues that the rest of the country faces," Noah said. And despite what President Trump says, it isn't really the most dangerous city in America. Chicago does have the most murders, he conceded, but it's also America's third-largest city; per capita, Memphis, St. Louis, Baltimore, and Cleveland are deadlier. "But no one's ever like, 'Oh, don't go to Cleveland!'" Noah said. "Well, I mean, they do, but not because of murder." So why are Trump and the right fixated on Chicago? "I get it," Noah said, after playing some Fox News clips featuring a certain former president. "When there's shootings, Obama's from Chicago; all the other times, he's from Kenya."
Murder and gun violence really is a problem in Chicago, Noah said, but Trump's imaginary crime-fighters and federalized police may not work as well as local community engagement. Correspondent Roy Wood Jr. walked around the South Side with a group called CeaseFire that tries to mediate conflicts before people turn to violence, with some success. Watch below. Peter Weber
On Monday night in Philadelphia, the National Constitution Center awarded Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) the Liberty Medal "for his lifetime of sacrifice and service." Former Vice President Joe Biden presented McCain with the medal.
Joe Biden presents John McCain with the National Constitution Center's Liberty Medal. (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/Cpeb5U0tNZ
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 17, 2017
In his acceptance speech, a sometimes emotional McCain mixed self-deprecating humor with a strong endorsement of American leadership and participation in "the international order we helped build from the ashes of world war," in what was widely seen as a rebuke to President Trump, whom he did not mention. America has become more just and prosperous for having "shared its treasures and ideals and shed the blood of its finest patriots to help make another, better world," he said, adding pointedly:
To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain "the last best hope of earth" for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems, is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history. [John McCain]
Sen. John McCain warns against turning away from international leadership for “the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism" pic.twitter.com/KxJH8DQcTO
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) October 17, 2017
McCain clearly wanted that line to stand out. He also unsubtly took a swipe at neo-Nazis and white nationalists, saying "we live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil," and ended on the valedictory note of an elder statesman battling aggressive cancer. Former President Barack Obama tweeted his gratitude and congratulations to his 2008 presidential rival. You can read McCain's speech or watch the entire ceremony. Peter Weber
Right after claiming he killed ObamaCare, Trump calls the resulting premium hikes 'an ObamaCare mess'
On Monday, President Trump told reporters that ObamaCare is dead, killed by his executive orders last week. Because he ended the cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) to insurance companies, used to subsidize health care for millions of low-income customers — 70 percent of whom live in states Trump won — "there is no such thing as ObamaCare anymore," Trump said. His action prompted Congress to start working on a short-term fix, he added, instead of "having lunch and enjoying themselves." A minute later, Trump blamed the purportedly dead law for insurers raising premiums:
Sadly, the Democrats can't join us on that which will be the long-term fix, but I do believe we will have a short-term fix because I think the Democrats will be blamed for the mess. This is an ObamaCare mess. When the premiums go up, that has nothing to do with anything other than the fact that we had poor care delivered poorly, written poorly, approved by the Democrats. [Trump]
The Congressional Budget Office predicted in August that ending the CSRs would raise premiums and the federal deficit, and on Monday, Pennsylvania's insurance commissioner announced that rates on ObamaCare exchanges will rise an average of 30.6 percent, rather than 7.6 percent, "due to President Trump's refusal to make cost-sharing reduction payments for 2018 and Congress' inaction to appropriate funds." Trump said he thinks Republicans will still "get the health care done," adding that while most GOP senators "are really, really great people ... a few people disappointed us. Really, really disappointed us. I can understand how Steve Bannon feels."
Over the weekend, incidentally, Bannon told the Values Voters Summit he feels that ending the CSRs will "blow up" the ObamaCare exchanges. Peter Weber
Bannon tells 'Values Voters Summit' Trump pulled CSR payments to 'blow up' Obamacare exchanges, make prices skyrocket. pic.twitter.com/pt4pjhYZoW
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) October 15, 2017
A North Korean official announced Monday that Pyongyang has no interest in diplomacy with the United States until it develops an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach "all the way to the East Coast of the mainland U.S.," CNN reports.
"Before we can engage in diplomacy with the Trump administration, we want to send a clear message that the DPRK has a reliable defensive and offensive capability to counter any aggression from the United States," the official said.
Trump has gone back and forth on whether talking with North Korea is any sort of "answer." Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on the contrary, told Fox News that diplomacy will continue "until the first bomb drops." Jeva Lange
President Trump claimed Monday that former presidents, including Barack Obama, did not call the families of fallen soldiers, sparking quick and furious outcry on social media. "The toughest calls I have to make are the calls where this happens, soldiers are killed," Trump said. He added, "The traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls. A lot of them didn't make calls. I like to call when it's appropriate, when I think I'm able to do it."
Trump on soldiers killed in Niger: "President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls ... I call when it's appropriate." pic.twitter.com/sgj5iEuDhz
— Axios (@axios) October 16, 2017
Alyssa Mastromonaco, who served as deputy chief of staff for operations under Obama, tweeted: "That's a f---ing lie. To say President Obama (or past presidents) didn't call the family members of soldiers KIA — he's a deranged animal."
What a gross, slanderous thing for Trump to say that other presidents didn't call the families of dead soldiers.
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) October 16, 2017
Only Monday, but I'd be surprised if Trump utters a more despicable lie this week than saying Obama didnt call families of slain US troops
— Tom Kutsch (@tomkutsch) October 16, 2017
NBC News' Peter Alexander challenged Trump on the remarks. "Earlier you claimed President Obama never called the families of fallen soldiers," Alexander said. "How can you make that claim?"
"I don't know if he did," Trump answered. "I was told that he didn't often [call]. And a lot of presidents don't, they write letters." Trump also admitted he had not called the families of the U.S. soldiers killed in Niger 12 days ago. Jeva Lange
Trump just said President Obama didn't call fallen soldiers' families — now he said he doesn't know. https://t.co/7niEZdPMNc
— Meg Wagner (@megwagner) October 16, 2017
A prominent Maltese journalist known for cracking corruption scandals involving her country's highest officials was killed by a car bomb near her home in Bidnija, Malta, on Monday, The Guardian reports. Four months ago, Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, linked Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to the Panama Papers scandal. Muscat and his wife "denied claims that they had used secret offshore bank accounts to hide payments from Azerbaijan's ruling family," the BBC writes.
Caruana Galizia's investigative work has been hailed abroad, with Politico calling her "a one-woman WikiLeaks" and listing her as one of the 28 people "making and shaking Europe." In her last post, published hours before her death, Caruana Galizia wrote: "There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate."
On Monday, Muscat condemned Caruana Galizia's murder: "I will not rest until I see justice done in this case," he said. "Our country deserves justice." Jeva Lange
A federal judge refused Monday to toss out any of the charges against Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) in the ongoing corruption trial stemming from his alleged use of office to secure business deals for a friend in exchange for gifts, CBS News reports. Menendez allegedly did government favors for Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen for years in return for lavish presents, including a luxury suite in Paris, flights on a private plane, and thousands of dollars in donations.
Menendez's team argued unsuccessfully that a 2016 Supreme Court decision narrowing the definition of bribery should allow for Menendez's case to be tossed. "None of what Menendez did qualified as quid pro quo corruption under the revised test, his lawyers said, because Menendez never agreed to perform any specific act when he received specific favors from Melgen," NBC News writes.
Menendez's defense attorney, Abbe Lowell, also said prosecutors were trying to turn gift-giving that had been common over a 25-year friendship into something it was not: "These two men refer to each other as brothers," Lowell said.
"We are living in a real world of reality and common sense," concluded U.S. District Judge William Walls. "The jury will decide whose version of what happened or didn't happen is more likely than not." Jeva Lange