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April 2, 2014

The federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug — the harshest categorization — putting the plant right up there with heroin and LSD. It must be dangerous stuff, right?

Not so, according to pretty much everyone outside the DEA. At least that's the finding of a new Pew survey in which sizable majorities of Americans said alcohol was more harmful than pot to a person's health and to society at large. In the poll, 69 percent said alcohol was more personally harmful than pot, while only 15 percent said the opposite. As for which was worse for society, 63 percent picked alcohol, while just 23 percent picked marijuana.

Further, those opinions were shared by every demographic — old folks, Republicans, you name it.

The poll is loaded with other fascinating tidbits: two-thirds of Americans think the nation's drug policy should focus more on rehab and treatment than on prosecution; three-fourths think legal marijuana is inevitable; and support for legalization is rapidly rising.

That last bit shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, since polls have consistently shown support for legalization growing. A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll even found that twice as many people think sugar is more harmful than pot, though it unfortunately did not also test the perceived danger of marijuana-infused confections. Jon Terbush

9:52 a.m. ET

Vice President Joe Biden suggested Tuesday night that it would be immoral for fans of Bernie Sanders to vote for anyone other than Hillary Clinton.

"What do you say when one of the Bernie delegates comes to you and says, 'Listen, I'm just not going for Hillary; I'm standing by my principles'?" asked ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. "I say — I look at you and I say — 'I know you're gonna vote for Hillary,'" Biden answered. "'I just know. Because if you're as moral and centered as you say you are, I know you can't vote for Trump. I know.'"

Though Biden cast the 2016 election as a two-horse race, third party candidates Jill Stein (of the Green Party) and Gary Johnson (of the Libertarian Party) are both making a bid for disaffected Sanders voters. Stein is actively campaigning outside the Democratic National Convention in Philly, and a June poll found about two in 10 Bernie fans said they'd vote for Johnson if their candidate lost the nomination. Bonnie Kristian

9:42 a.m. ET
@CBSNews/Twitter

John Hinckley Jr., who on March 30, 1981, shot and wounded then-President Ronald Reagan, has been granted release from St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C., and will be transferred to outpatient care. A federal judge granted Hinckley's request Wednesday on the strict conditions that Hinckley not contact any of the victims in the shooting or their relatives. Hinckley has been in treatment at the hospital since the shooting, for which he was acquitted by reason of insanity after it was found he committed the would-be assassination to impress the actress Jodie Foster, whom he is also banned from contacting.

Hinckley shot four people, including Reagan, outside the Washington Hilton Hotel. Reagan's press secretary James Brady was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot in the head by Hinckley; when Brady died in 2014, his death was ruled a homicide by a medical examiner, who said he succumbed to health problems stemming from the 1981 shooting.

CBS News reports that St. Elizabeth's is required by constitutional law to advocate for Hinckley's release because of an "obligation to transition patients to outpatient care when they are ready. This case is not about the merits of whether an individual should be able to shoot four people, including a sitting U.S. president, and then be able to spend the last third of his life as a free man."

Hinckley, now 61, will be sent to live with his 90-year-old mother in Williamsburg, Virginia. He could be released as soon as next week. Kimberly Alters

9:36 a.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Republican Donald Trump leads Democrat Hillary Clinton 56 percent to 25 percent among white men, according to a recent survey — and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) believes she knows why.

"So many times, white — non-college-educated — white males have voted Republican," she said in an interview with PBS on Tuesday. "They voted against their own economic interests because of guns, because of gays, and because of God, the three G's — God being the woman's right to choose."

Pelosi advised Clinton to attract more white male voters to her campaign "with an economic agenda to create jobs" because, for this demographic, "it's about the economy."

A New York Times report last week suggested the Clinton camp is already worried about its deficit with white men and picked Sen. Tim Kaine for the VP slot in an effort to address that problem. Bonnie Kristian

9:28 a.m. ET

Bill Clinton has a reputation for being a brilliant public speaker — though his appeal might be quickly wearing off. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow slammed the former president for being un-feminist in his introduction of Hillary Clinton at the Democratic convention Tuesday night, telling her fellow commentators: "I think the beginning of the speech was a controversial way to start, honestly, talking about the girl, a girl, leading with this long story about him being attracted to an unnamed girl and thinking about whether he was starting something he couldn't finish, building her whole political story, for the whole first half of the speech around her marriage to him."

Maddow gave the end of his speech an "A+" but went as far as to say "the top of the speech I found shocking and rude." Watch her full justification, below. Jeva Lange

9:08 a.m. ET

Hillary Clinton made history Tuesday night by becoming the first woman to be nominated for president by a major American political party. Some in newspaper photo departments around the country, though, might have missed that memo:

Ahem, that was Hillary Clinton making history, not the other "Clinton"…

Yes, sure, Bill Clinton was the keynote speaker for the night. But... really? Jeva Lange

8:56 a.m. ET

When it comes to swiping that company credit card, usually you're just getting a free fancy, schmoozy dinner or commercial airline flight at best. But if you're astronaut Buzz Aldrin, your job required you to take quite the extended business trip — and even interplanetary travel must be formally expensed:

Yes, folks: Even as one of the first two humans to walk on the Moon, Aldrin had to submit to the corporate monstrosity that is bureaucratic paperwork. Kimberly Alters

8:48 a.m. ET

Michelle Obama reminded Americans of the darker side of our history when she spoke at the Democratic convention Monday night of waking up every morning "in a house that was built by slaves." The stirring line, though, was one of hope and progress: "I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn," she went on.

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly wasn't having it. The political commentator attempted to "fact-check" Obama's statement by saying that "slaves that worked [on the White House] were well fed and had decent lodgings…So, Michelle Obama is essentially correct in citing slaves as builders of the White House, but there were others working as well."

Of course, the point isn't how "well" some slaves might have been treated, or if there were other workers. The point is, slaves built the White House.

This shouldn't even need to be written, but if you ever feel like defending the use of slaves — don't. Jeva Lange

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