UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

February 26, 2009

BREVITAS

SF Weekly - Assemblyman Tom Ammiano will announce legislation on Monday to legalize marijuana and earn perhaps $1 billion annually by taxing it. Quintin Mecke, Ammiano's press secretary said Ammiano's proposed bill "would remove all penalties in California law on cultivation, transportation, sale, purchase, possession, or use of marijuana, natural THC, or paraphernalia for persons over the age of 21." The bill would additionally prohibit state and local law officials from enforcing federal marijuana laws. Ammiano's bill calls for "establishing a fee on the sale of marijuana at a rate of $50 per ounce." Mecke said that would bring in roughly $1 billion for the state, according to estimates made by marijuana advocacy organizations.

AFGHANISTAN

Jeff Huber, Anti War - Petraeus is the guy who bribed everybody in Mosul, which went to heck in a handcar when he left. As general in charge of training Iraqi security forces, Petraeus armed the Shi'ite militias before he left. As top commander in Iraq, he bribed and armed all the Sunni militias before he left. Now Iraq is a more dangerous place than it was before we invaded, so we can never leave or things will go back to the way they were under Saddam Hussein, and while things were better then, to go back to the way things were would be unacceptable after the hard work and sacrifice we've put in to make things the way they are now. As theater commander, Petraeus wants to repeat his "successful experiment" in Iraq by bribing and arming Afghan militias so we can never leave there either.

Only 50% of Americans consider the Afghan war worth fighting, 47% opposed, according to an ABC poll


HEALTH & SCIENCE

The National Nurses Organizing Committee
has released an analysis that claims that expanding and upgrading Medicare to cover all Americans (single-payer) would create 2.6 million new jobs, infuse $317 billion in new business and public revenues, and inject another $100 billion in wages into the U.S. economy. While 30 percent of the new jobs would be in health and social services, the ripple effect of job creation goes throughout the economy, according to updated data released today. Biggest additional gains would be in retail trade, accommodation and food services, manufacturing, and administrative services. All these benefits the study claims could be achieved at less cost than the federal bailouts for Wall Street giants such as AIG, CitiGroup, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and other banks.

POLICE BLOTTER

Naples News - A party gone wild resulted in the arrests of 17 people - 10 of whom are juveniles - and an estimated $75,000 in damage to a foreclosed house during the weekend in south Fort Myers. . . Arrest reports say deputies were called to the house just before 9 p.m. Friday on a possible burglary in progress. . . An inspection of the home's interior showed every room had some type of destruction, from broken windows to smashed in plaster to paint which was tacky to the touch, reports say. The former owners purchased the house in 2001 for $235,000, court clerk records show. On Monday, windows remained broken, huge holes were punched in walls throughout the structure, graffiti and expletives were spray painted on the walls and ceilings and two Budweiser beer cans were hung on a living room wall. The house remained unsecured. . . Deputies estimated the multi-story structure is about 4,000 square feet.

Kent State University dean Betsy Boze has resigned after admitting that she spray painted a traffic sign. She said she was removing an arrow that pointed to the wrong parking lot. Kent State said it doesn't condone that sort of stuff.

A 28 year old Russian man has died after betting two women that he could satisfy them for 12 hours. He died a few minutes later. Suspected cause: an overdose of Viagra.

Philadelphia Daily News -
A professional wrestler from Levittown allegedly "staged a fall" at a 7-Eleven in an attempt to collect $50,000 in damages, state Attorney General Tom Corbett said. Despite claims of an injured neck and back, investigators say, Michael Taris, 34, continued to clothesline his opponents and leap from the turnbuckle - while moonlighting as a male escort and massage therapist.

INDICATORS

A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research shows that due to the collapse of the housing bubble, the vast majority of near retirees have accumulated little or no wealth. This means that they will be almost completely reliant on Social Security and Medicare to support them in their retirement years. The report projects that in 2009, the median household in the 45 to 54 age cohort saw its net worth drop by more than 45 percent since 2004, to just over $80,000 (including home equity). For early baby boomers, those between the ages of 55 and 64, the losses were not quite as steep but still came to 38 percent of net wealth, with the median wealth falling to $140,000, approximately 80 percent of the price of the median home.

SCHOOLS & THE YOUNG

The Coastal Studies for Girls program
in Freeport, Maine is now accepting its first applications for high school sophomore girls. Your editor played a totally tangential and transitory role in helping it get started but, as a result, got close enough to become totally enthusiastic about the project. CSG will be the first residential science and leadership semester school just for girls. It will bring girls from around the country to the coast of Maine for 16 weeks during either the fall or spring term of their sophomore year of high school, where they will work with resident scholars and guest lecturers as they pursue a rigorous marine science curriculum - while keeping up with their more conventional studies. As the best selling author and woman of the sea, Linda Greenlaw, puts it, "The curriculum is science, but this school is really about life, and girls discovering the confidence to make a difference in their world." Details and application form here. Tell them Sam sent you.

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