In a new law that took effect Thursday, Michigan is now the first Midwestern state to legally allow recreational marijuana. It’s the 10th state to legalize recreational pot.
It could take a year before Michigan starts licensing medical marijuana shops to sell to recreational users. Critics worry the wait could lead to high demand on the black market where there’s no oversight, reports CBS News correspondent Nikki Battiste.
Stuart Carter showed us the products at his medical marijuana shop in Detroit.
“We’ve had people show up. Unfortunately, we have to shut them down,” Carter said.
Carter said he is eager to sell recreational marijuana at the store, but the state is requiring shops to go through a lengthy application process.
“They’re not going to take applications for about a year, and then there’s going to be the vetting process,” Carter said.
Though people will have to wait to buy recreational pot in stores, the new law allows people 21 or older to keep 10 ounces in their home and grow 12 marijuana plants for personal use.
“It’s going to be the marijuana capital of America,” said Scott Greenlee, the president of Healthy and Productive Michigan.He opposes Michigan’s high possession limit, allowing people to carry up to 2.5 ounces. It’s the largest recreational carry limit in the country.
“It’s too much,” Greenlee said. “That’s going to lead to a lot of crime as well. People are going to realize that all of this product is sitting around. Our law enforcement community is very concerned about is all that marijuana in all those large quantities.”
The new law may be good news for low-level pot offenders. More than 20,000 people were arrested last year for marijuana possession or use that is now legal.
California legalized recreational pot use in 2016. Since then, San Francisco district attorney George Gascon has cleared over a thousand misdemeanor marijuana cases. “Quite frankly, it can impact your ability to get employment,” Gascon said.
Minor charges, Gascon believes, can have a major impact. “In some places, it will impact your ability to get public housing or get subsidized housing,” Gascon said. “It may impact your ability to go intomilitary services.”
But Greenlee said most low-level offenders don’t face severe consequences. “Typically what’s being dismissed is a ticket, a fine,” Greenlee said. “It’s very similar to if… we’re going to 15 miles over the speed limit. We’ll get a ticket, we’ll pay our ticket and move on.”
One county prosecutor in Michigan told CBS News he has already dismissed 50 pending cases for misdemeanor marijuana offenders that are no longer illegal as of Thursday. Under the new law, it is still illegal to use pot in public, on college campuses, and while driving.
BANGKOK — A hydroelectric dam collapsed in southeastern Laos, leaving an unknown number of people dead and hundreds missing, state media said Tuesday. Rescue efforts were underway as top government officials rushed to the site and public appeals were launched for aid.
The official Lao news agency KPL said the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam in Attapeu province collapsed Monday evening, releasing large amounts of water that swept away houses and made more than 6,600 people homeless.
The dam was constructed by a joint venture led by South Korean companies, with Thai and Lao partners. The project was still under construction, KPL reported. It described the portion that collapsed as a “saddle dam,” which is an auxiliary dam used to hold water beyond what is held by the main dam.
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith “suspended the planned monthly meeting of the government for August and led his Cabinet members and other senior officials to Sanamxay (district) to monitor rescue and relief efforts being made for flood victims,” KPL said. Many areas of Laos have recently been hit by floods from heavy seasonal rains.
Provincial authorities issued a call for emergency aid – clothing, food, drinking water, medicine, cash and other items – from the “party, government organizations, business community, officials, police and military forces and people of all strata.”
Laos, one of the poorest countries in Asia, has transitioned from communism to a market economy but remains a single-party state where freedoms are limited. There is virtually no freedom of the press, and foreign reporters who visit operate under tight restrictions, limiting the flow of information.
Electricity from several hydroelectric dams provides a large share of Laos’ export earnings, with Thailand being a major buyer.
KPL said the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy project cost an estimated $1.02 billion.
According to the website of the company that built and runs the dam, it is majority-owned by two South Korean companies, SK Engineering and Construction and Korea Western Power. Most of the financing for the project came from Thai lenders. The Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Public Co. Ltd of Thailand holds a 25 percent stake and the Lao Holding State Enterprise holds 24 percent.
The dam was built to divert the Houay Makchanh, Xe-Namnoy and Xe-Pian rivers into reservoirs that feed into a 410-megawatt power plant designed to generate 1,879 gigawatts of power a year, with 90 percent of the power being exported to Thailand and the remaining 10 percent used locally. The project is a 27-year concession and was due to begin operating in 2019, a year later than originally planned.
The project is on a volcanic plateau divided by a river gorge and the catchment area accounts for 17 percent of the Mekong river’s annual flow.
According to assessment documents, about 30 villages were affected by the project with more than 2,000 people in eight villages resettled. Roughly 10,000 people live in the affected area, with most belonging to ethnic minorities.
The project was supposed to be a cash cow for SK E&C for years. The company is part of the SK Group, one of South Korea’s top three conglomerates. Its units include SK Hynix, the world’s second-largest chipmaker, and SK Telecom, South Korea’s largest telecom carrier.
Thailand was to receive a stable supply of electricity while Laos was supposed to receive taxes, royalties and other income estimated at $33 billion per year.
South Korea’s Yonhap News agency said SK E&C has dispatched its president to Laos and has set up an emergency team in Seoul. SK E&C did not respond to several calls seeking comment.
Yonhap said SK E&C was still trying to find out whether water had overflowed the dam or if the dam had collapsed.
Yonhap quoted an unidentified SK E&C official as saying rain in the area was three times more than the usual amount, and that one of five auxiliary dams had overflowed.
It said SK E&C is focusing on the rescue operation, using boats and other equipment to search for missing people.
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is speaking out over he was apparently fired from the bureau for a “lack of candor.” McCabe authored an op-ed published in the Washington Post Friday night, claiming those accusations are “not true.”
“Not in my worst nightmares did I ever dream my FBI career would end this way,” McCabe wrote.
McCabe was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions two days before he could retire, after FBI officials recommended that he be fired. McCabe is expected to be the subject of criticism in an upcoming Department of Justice Inspector General report.
“I have been accused of ‘lack of candor,'” McCabe wrote. “That is not true. I did not knowingly mislead or lie to investigators. When asked about contacts with a reporter that were fully within my power to authorize as deputy director, and amid the chaos that surrounded me, I answered questions as completely and accurately as I could. And when I realized that some of my answers were not fully accurate or may have been misunderstood, I took the initiative to correct them.
At worst, I was not clear in my responses, and because of what was going on around me may well have been confused and distracted — and for that I take full responsibility. But that is not a lack of candor. And under no circumstances could it ever serve as the basis for the very public and extended humiliation of my family and me that the administration, and the president personally, have engaged in over the past year.”
McCabe’s firing last week was not unexpected. But it was how he was fired that the former FBI official found disconcerting. McCabe claimed he learned he was fired after a friend called to to tell him the news from TV.
“So, after two decades of public service, I found out that I had been fired in the most disembodied, impersonal way — third-hand, based on a news account,” McCabe wrote. “Shortly after getting word, I noticed an email from a Justice Department official in my work account, telling me that I had been ‘removed from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the civil service.'”
McCabe said he awoke to a tweet from President Trump praising his firing.
“I was sad, but not surprised, to see that such unhinged public attacks on me would continue into my life after my service to the FBI,” McCabe wrote. “President Trump’s cruelty reminded me of the days immediately following the firing of James B. Comey, as the White House desperately tried to push the falsehood that people in the FBI were celebrating the loss of our director.”
McCabe said young people cannot be “dissuaded” from public service by the “divisive politics and partisan attacks that now so characterize our national discourse.”
“There is nothing like having the opportunity to be a part of the greatest law-enforcement organization in the world, working every day for goals that you respect and cherish,” McCabe said. “It is the best job you will ever have. Even if a president decides to attack you and your family. Even if you get fired on a Friday night, one day from your retirement.”
Earlier this week, it was reported that McCabe had overseen a criminal probe investigating whether Sessions was untruthful in congressional testimony last year about his contacts with Russians. A Justice Department official claimed Sessionsdid not learn of the probe until it was reported this week, after McCabe’s firing.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CBS NEWS AND THE SMITHSONIAN)
Did climate change help modern humans emerge?
Environment changes transformed early humans, who learned how to use lighter tools, hunt new kinds of animals and communicate with other groups
by Maggie Fox / / Updated
At this Olorgesailie Basin excavation site, the Smithsonian team discovered key artifacts and pigments. Fossil bones found at the site also showed that a significant change in the kinds of animals in this region occurred around the same time as the transitions in human behavior.Human Origins Program / Smithsonian
Half a million years ago, something big happened in east Africa.
It was a big enough change to transform the terrain, reshape the landscape and to alter the populations of animals living there.
And it completely transformed the early humans who lived there.
“What we are seeing is the demise of a way of life in early human ancestors that persisted for hundreds of thousands of years,” said paleoanthropologist Rick Potts, who heads the Smithsonian’s Human Origins Program.
Before the change, pre-humans such as Homo erectus had lived happily for millennia using crude, heavy stone axes. Afterwards, the early humans living in the area traded for sharp, strong obsidian and made delicate tools and spear heads. They learned to hunt new kinds of animals and they carried around a lot of raw materials for making black and red paint or ink.
New studies from Potts and colleagues published Thursday paint a clear picture of a time of total disruption in what is now southwestern Kenya. Not only do they document periods of devastating earthquakes, but climate change that transformed the area from a rich, stable plain to an area ravaged by unpredictable floods, intense thunderstorms and then long droughts.
There’s not much evidence of anything between about 500,000 years ago, and 320,000 years ago. But the transformation is sweeping.
Giant ancestors of elephants, zebra and baboon-like apes disappeared, to be replaced by more modern-looking grazers such as antelope and oryx.
The humans who lived there changed — a lot. Big, clumsy stone axes known as Acheulean tools disappear and instead the archeologists found finer, lighter and more varied tools. They’re made from materials not found locally, such as obsidian and chert, which indicates they were carried and traded over distances.
“The large, clunky technology is gone and in its place is a smaller technology, more mobile,” said Potts. “What we are looking at is a real change from the hand ax times. Think of the same technology produced over and over again for hundreds of thousands of years. That’s not us. I can barely keep up with the latest version of Windows,” he said.
“The history of technology has been the same ever since, going from large and clunky to small and portable.”
EARLY HUMANS HAD TO ADAPT
It’s not clear which species of early humans is responsible for the artifacts. Homo erectus and Homo heidelbergensis both lived on the African continent. But Homo sapiens fossils from Morocco date back to 300,000 or so years ago.
“This represents a significant revision in African hominin behavior at or near the time of origin of Homo sapiens,” the teams of scientists wrote in one of the reports published in the journal Science on Thursday.
Whatever species they were, they had to adapt to the climate changes, the natural disasters and the disappearance of the foods they were used to eating; they had to learn how to communicate with other groups of hominids, how to trade information and trade tools and, possibly, food.
“All of these are fundamental aspects of our humanity that are right there at the beginning of our species,” Potts said.
“The history of technology has been the same ever since, going from large and clunky to small and portable.”
“The history of technology has been the same ever since, going from large and clunky to small and portable.”
The ancient people used dye.
The team found rocks with streaks of pigment, blocks of iron-rich minerals used to make ochre and other colors, and pretty colored stones carried from afar.
That shows people were thinking beyond the simple needs of survival.
“Color is the root of complex, symbolic behavior in humans,” said Potts. “We use it in clothing, uniforms, flags, tattoos — whatever ways we have of signaling that I am a member of this particular group.”
What were these early Africans doing with the lumps of coloring?
“We don’t know what they were applying it to but they almost certainly applying it to something; perhaps their skin or hair,” Pott said. “That is a pretty human characteristic.”
In other words, the early humans who lived in this area were becoming more like modern humans. And it sure looks like the dramatic changes were forcing it.
“All this transition, this transformation of human behavior is occurring at a time of upheaval of the landscape,” Potts said.
It’s not news to anyone that human beings adapt and even evolve in the face of change. As the Ice Age glaciers receded, so did Neanderthals, to be replaced by modern Homo sapiens from the Near East and Africa.
WHAT ABOUT HUMANS NOW?
But this change was happening 320,000 years ago. The indications are that trade was taking place 100,000 years earlier than anthropologists have believed.
What do the changes say about humans alive today in a time of climate change?
Yasar Okutan, a former government minister, accused Erdogan in a television interview of using them to increase votes in presidential and local elections in 2019 and questioned whether the president would say the same for his own granddaughter.
Ecuador gave Assange political asylum after he sought refuge in the embassy in 2012 to avoid a Swedish extradition request on a case of alleged rape. While Sweden temporarily dropped that investigation, British officials say they’d still arrest him on charges of bail jumping. Assange also fears a possible U.S. extradition request stemming from the leaking of classified U.S. documents.
Britain’s Foreign Office said Thursday it had rejected Ecuador’s request to grant diplomatic status to Assange, who was born in Australia.
“The granting of Ecuadorean nationality does not in any way change Julian Assange’s legal status in the U.K.,” a government spokesman said. “The Government of Ecuador knows that the way to resolve the situation is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice. Nobody should pretend that granting him Ecuadorean citizenship is a route to solving this longstanding issue.”
The post said the girl, Amy Jayne Everett, died January 3, and that “we need to make sure that anyone in crisis knows there is always someone to talk to.” It also urged people to act to stop bullying — a plea her father made Sunday.
“This week has been an example of how social media should be used, it has also been an example of how it shouldn’t be,” Tick Everett said in a Facebook post. “If we can help other precious lives from being lost and the suffering of so many, then Doll’s life will not be wasted.”
“…lets stop the bullies no matter where, but especially in our kids, as the old saying goes. You will never know what have untill it’s gone,” he said.
He added: “if by some chance the people who thought this was a joke and made themselves feel superior by the constant bullying and harassment see this post, please come to our service and witness the complete devastation you have created.”
The BBC reports the girl starred in a well-known Akubra ad campaign when she was eight years old. It also reports the family released a statement to media outlets on Wednesday saying the girl was “the kindest, caring, beautiful soul”.
“She was always caring for animals, small children, other children at boarding school who were less fortunate than herself.”
Twenty percent of children in Australia say they were bullied over the past year, according to the BBC.
The wide-brimmed Akubra hat is one of Australia’s most recognizable brands, the BBC reports.
(OPED: FAKE CHRISTIANS, PEOPLE LIKE MR. MOORE AND DONALD TRUMP ARE THE EPITOMY OF ‘LUKE WARM WATER CHRISTIANS’, JUST LIKE THE FAR RIGHT OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, IT IS THESE ‘FAKE CHRISTIANS’ WHO ARE DESTROYING THE REPUTATION OF CHRISTIANITY!) (trs)
Rev. Dr. William Barber The unbearable hypocrisy of Roy Moore’s Christian rhetoric
This isn’t Christianity, it’s an extreme form of Republican religionism.
Image: Embattled GOP Senate Candidate Judge Roy Moore Attends Church Revival Service At Baptist Church In Jackson, Alabama Jonathan Bachman / Getty Images
A disturbing pattern has emerged since the Washington Post first reported that four women accused Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of offenses ranging from the creepy to the criminal. People in Gadsden, Alabama, where Moore worked in the District Attorney’s office three decades ago, say it was “common knowledge” that Moore pursued teenagers when he was in his 30s. Locals told the New Yorker that they recall being told that the local mall banned Moore for the same reason.
Accusations of criminal assault are difficult to prove in court and the statute of limitations in these cases has since passed. But Republicans outside of Alabama have started to back away from Moore following the allegations; They have chosen to believe the accusers.
Moore’s base, on the other hand, continues to support him despite the evidence. For many of them, this is a matter of faith. Jerome Cox, the pastor of Greenwood Baptist Church in Prattville, Alabama, told NBC News he would be supporting Moore because “he’s done a lot of good for the state of Alabama… Everything else is for the Lord to sort out.”
This is not Christianity. Rather, it is an extreme Republican religionism that stands by the party and regressive policy no matter what. It’s not the gospel of Christ, but a gospel of greed. It is the religion of racism and lies, not the religion of redemption and love.
It is unlikely that any of Moore’s accusers can definitively prove that he sexually assaulted them 30 years ago (a point the defiant former judge knows well). But even before these allegations made national headlines, it was clear that Moore’s policy agenda endangered the children of Alabama and this nation. This man, who wants to be Alabama’s next Senator, wants to repeal Obamacare, making it health care inaccessible for millions, in Alabama and elsewhere. He has said Islam is a “false religion” homosexual conduct “should be illegal.” and curtail equal protection under the law for gay and transgender people. Moore supports a tax plan that would hurt the poor and working poor.
In short, Moore’s political agenda presents a credible threat to millions of vulnerable people in America. Yet Moore claims to be the moral and Christian candidate, using religion as U.S. slave masters did before him to justify actions which fly in the face of Christ’s teachings. Like segregationists, Moore imagines the struggle for equality in America as a story of loss. At a revival meeting earlier this week, Moore complained that he was being persecuted. He also lamented the fact that the courts took prayer out of schools in 1962 and made a cryptic and confusing reference to “new rights” created in 1965, the year the Voting Rights Act was signed. Some members of the congregation responded, “Amen!”
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As one who survived abuse by a stranger in my own childhood, I feel deep empathy for the women who have come forward to name and confront their abuser. At the same time, my soul grieves as a Christian minister for people who are fed such a distorted view of Christianity and racism that they are willing to support Moore no matter what. I have heard the confessions of abusers: I know that people who are broken and hurting in their own souls hurt people and rally others to join them out of deep pain. But I am deeply troubled by Moore’s determination to wrap his own painful policies and pain-causing ways in the theological claim of being like Christ.
There is nothing Christian about the policies Moore has supported. They are as immoral as the terrible abuse he so vehemently denies. While he wants to compare his plight to the suffering of Jesus, there is no biblical basis for policies that hurt poor people and children.
As well as he knows his Bible, Roy Moore never quotes from the more than 2,000 verses that exhort us to care for the poor, the sick, and the stranger in our midst. He has apparently overlooked the prophet Isaiah, who said to men like Moore in his own day: “Doom to you who legislate evil, who make laws that make victims — laws that make misery for the poor, that rob the destitute of their dignity, exploiting defenseless widows, taking advantage of homeless children” (Is.10:1-4).
National Republican leaders who claim the moral high ground while renouncing Moore now are like the Republicans who spoke out against white supremacy after Charlottesville, condemning the “hate” but never repenting of white nationalist policy. Their moral outrage rings hollow because it renounces Moore based on his personal patterns but says nothing about the disturbing pattern of his policy agenda.
What is happening right now in Alabama matters for the soul of the nation. Anyone who has any influence must help blacks, progressive whites, and Latinos; gay and straight; Christians, Muslims, Jews, and all who want to move our country forward to get out and vote. This is no time to retreat or remain idle. We must stand up for truth in the public square and reclaim our political and faith traditions which have been hijacked.
Rev. William J. Barber, II is President of Repairers of the Breach and author of The Third Reconstruction. At the invitation of local clergy, he is in Alabama this weekend preparing for the “Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.”
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Late-night funnyman David Letterman was hardly a barrel of laughs off the air.A new biography of the now-retired talk show host portrays Letterman as more self-loathing than self-critical — and an often miserable man who inflicted his pain on his staff.
“He was never truly comfortable unless he was seething with unhappiness at something,” one longtime writer told author Jason Zinoman in “Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night.”
In fact, few of the acerbic Letterman’s close colleagues sang his praises to Zinoman.
A comedy bit called for a life-size Letterman doll to sit in the guest’s chair. Seemingly on the spur of the moment, Letterman punched the doll — to much audience laughter.
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The laughs continued as he landed a few more blows. And then the 580-seat theater went silent when Letterman fell into a frenzy of punching and slapping his plastic alter ego.
Obviously, something was wrong with Dave.
“People don’t understand why you’re behaving the way you’re behaving,” said Rob Burnett, a trusted colleague and the head of Letterman’s Worldwide Pants production company, in a candid chat with his boss.
The tale of Tim Long, one of several head writers hired during the show’s run, was typical. Unable to deal with the host’s constant rejections and dark moods, Long took to chewing Coke cans — and swallowing pieces of tin.
Even the famously mellow Paul Shaffer lashed out at Letterman one night when Todd Rundgren sat in with the band.
Letterman kept pushing and needling, trying to get Rundgren to do more than the one number done in rehearsal.
“The cat flies in to do us a favor and you just want what you want,” Shaffer yelled at his boss.
It embarrassed Shaffer so much the moment was cut from the show before airing, even though Letterman said he was fine with it.
The irony: Letterman was miserable even when his ratings put the show at No. 1 in late-night viewers. In 1993, he walked away from NBC after the network chose Leno to succeed Johnny Carson, taking the 11:30 p.m. slot on rival CBS for his “Late Show With David Letterman.”
CBS offered Letterman a then-record deal with a $16 million annual salary. The payoff was immediate as Letterman seized the ratings lead against the once-invincible “Tonight.”
Yet Letterman remained miserable. “He always complained from the very beginning,” recalled one producer.
“It got worse when he went to CBS,” recalled Shaffer. “Any flaw, minor flaw, he exaggerated. He was most uncomfortable at No. 1.”
Comic Rich Hall, a writer for Letterman’s NBC show, was floored by the host’s new, abrasive nature when he appeared as a guest. Hall followed actress Andie MacDowell, who had just flopped in her segment. Before the cameras came on, Letterman leaned over and snarled, “How’d you like to be married to that c—?”
What the author calls Letterman’s “ferocious fear of failure” was there from the first.
“What happened, Dave?” asked head writer Steven O’Donnell.
“They are like my peers now,” the host told him.
It was during that era that Letterman started abruptly turning on longtime, trusted colleagues. Barry Sand, a producer and ally since the morning show, suddenly could do nothing right.
After a guest canceled at the last minute, Sand scrambled and was able to book Mel Gibson — then at the height of his fame. Letterman turned on the producer and snarled, “Who the hell wants Mel Gibson? I don’t want Mel Gibson.”