Vaccines Don’t Save Lives. Vaccinations Save Lives.

“It’s great to have highly effective vaccines, but as the researchers observe, “How well a vaccine program ‘works’ will also depend on how quickly it can be manufactured, how efficiently it can be distributed to locations in greatest need, how persuasive health messaging can be in promoting public acceptance, and how consistently the public can adhere to the many complementary prevention strategies (e.g., masks, hand-washing, distancing) to limit the spread of the virus.”

America’s Disastrous Drug War Is Finally Unravelling

“The 2020 election was an important milestone in unraveling America’s disastrous war on drugs. Across the country, by overwhelming margins, voters came out for legalizing marijuana, removing criminal penalties for psychedelic use, and treating drug addiction as a public health rather than a criminal concern.

The biggest victory was in Oregon, where voters overwhelmingly approved Measure 110, making it the first state to eliminate the possibility of jail time for possessing small amounts of heroin, cocaine, oxycodone, and every other narcotic. Instead, violators could be hit with at most a $100 fine.”

“In Washington, D.C., voters opted by a margin of 3 to 1 to make the use, possession, and cultivation of entheogenic plants and fungi, such as psilocybin mushrooms, law enforcers’ lowest priority.

“It does not change law in any way. It simply says, ‘Look…we, the people, think that the police and the district attorneys should stop arresting and prosecuting people for psychedelic plants. So please do that,” says Moore.

Mississippi, Arizona, South Dakota, New Jersey, and Montana all passed initiatives allowing marijuana to be sold for either medical or recreational use.”

“Voters Oregon approved Measure 109, making it the first state to legalize psilocybin, the main psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms.”

The high rate of executions during Trump’s last weeks in office, explained

“Trump is the first president in 17 years to reinstate federal executions”

“In addition to pushing through federal executions over the past five months, the Justice Department published a new rule to the Federal Register on Friday that would allow the use of other methods for capital punishment. The new regulation reintroduces the use of firing squads and electrocutions for federal executions in addition to lethal injections.”

“only three people had been executed by the federal government in the past 50 years. Meanwhile, in less than five months, eight people have already been put to death by Trump’s Justice Department, with five more executions scheduled to happen before Trump leaves office.”

11 Trillion Reasons To Fear Joe Biden’s Presidency

“Biden’s expansive vision is about more than vastly increasing spending, but let’s start there because the numbers are simply staggering. He’s proposing $11 trillion in brand new spending over the next decade, according to the Manhattan Institute’s Brian Riedl. Big-ticket new items include $1.4 trillion to expand Obamacare; $2 trillion on his version of a Green New Deal; jacking Social Security and Supplemental Security Income by $1 trillion; and goosing spending on preschool, K-12, and higher education by $1.5 trillion. Biden has also signed on to a $3.3 trillion stimulus spending plan pushed by House and Senate Democrats.

All of this new spending would be layered on top of an existing annual federal budget that has swelled to nearly $7 trillion in fiscal year 2020, from a record-high yet relatively cheap $4.4 trillion in 2019. To pay for this new largess, Biden has laid out $3.6 trillion in tax hikes over the coming decade, resulting in what Riedl says is “the largest permanent tax increase since World War II.” Much of the new revenue would come from boosting corporate income taxes back to what they were before Republicans lowered them during Trump’s first year in office. Yet despite all the hikes, Biden would still manage to increase the national debt”

“Pick any page of his campaign website’s extensive “vision” section and you’ll find endless proposals to tinker with everyday life and employment. He pledges to “aggressively pursue employers who violate labor laws, participate in wage theft, or cheat on their taxes by intentionally misclassifying employees as independent contractors” and also to “establish an Environmental and Climate Justice Division within the U.S. Department of Justice.” What sort of bureaucracy do those sorts of things require? The same sorts of questions are raised by his on-again, off-again endorsement of a federal mask mandate.”

Trump Races to Weaken Environmental and Worker Protections, and Implement Other Last-Minute Policies, Before Jan. 20

“Six days after President Donald Trump lost his bid for reelection, the U.S. Department of Agriculture notified food safety groups that it was proposing a regulatory change to speed up chicken factory processing lines, a change that would allow companies to sell more birds. An earlier USDA effort had broken down on concerns that it could lead to more worker injuries and make it harder to stop germs like salmonella.

Ordinarily, a change like this would take about two years to go through the cumbersome legal process of making new federal regulations. But the timing has alarmed food and worker safety advocates, who suspect the Trump administration wants to rush through this rule in its waning days.

Even as Trump and his allies officially refuse to concede the Nov. 3 election, the White House and federal agencies are hurrying to finish dozens of regulatory changes before Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20. The rules range from long-simmering administration priorities to last-minute scrambles and affect everything from creature comforts like showerheads and clothes washers to life-or-death issues like federal executions and international refugees. They impact everyone from the most powerful, such as oil drillers, drugmakers and tech startups, to the most vulnerable, such as families on food stamps, transgender people in homeless shelters, migrant workers and endangered species.”

“these final weeks are solidifying conservative policy objectives that will make it harder for the Biden administration to advance its own agenda”

“The Trump administration is on pace to finalize 36 major rules in its final three months, similar to the 35 to 40 notched by the previous four presidents”

“In 2017, Republican lawmakers struck down more than a dozen Obama-era rules using a fast-track mechanism called the Congressional Review Act. That weapon may be less available for Democrats to overturn Trump’s midnight regulations if Republicans keep control of the Senate, which will be determined by two Georgia runoffs.”

ProPublica is tracking those regulations as they move through the rule-making process.”

Does the Supreme Court Need Fixing? If So, Why and How?

“Northwestern law professor Steven Calabresi, who chairs the Federalist Society’s Board of Directors, argues that an 18-year term limit for justices would prevent them from staying on the Court when they are no longer mentally fit and from influencing the choice of their successors through strategic retirement decisions. He suggests that term limits also would turn down the temperature of the selection process.

Under Calabresi’s plan of staggered terms, each president would have an opportunity to pick at least two justices (four if he is reelected). “No other major democracy in the world gives the justices on its highest court life tenure,” he notes. Calabresi argues that an 18-year limit, which would require a constitutional amendment that he thinks should also fix the Court’s size at nine justices, would preserve judicial independence, “end what has become a poisonous process of picking a Supreme Court justice,” and “promote the rule of law” by “depoliticiz[ing] the court and judicial selection.””

These DUI Laws Are an Irrational Hangover From Pot Prohibition

“Four years ago, Pennsylvania allowed patients suffering from any of 17 serious medical conditions to relieve their symptoms with marijuana. But there was a catch: If they used cannabis as a medicine, they could no longer legally drive.

Last week the Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved a bill that would eliminate that legal disability by requiring evidence of impairment to convict medical marijuana patients of driving under the influence (DUI). That reform points the way to a long overdue reevaluation of DUI laws that irrationally and unfairly punish cannabis consumers who pose no threat to public safety.”

“Half a dozen states, including Pennsylvania, have “per se” laws that define DUI based on the concentration of THC in a driver’s blood, while one (Colorado) allows an inference of guilt when that level reaches five nanograms per milliliter. But these laws don’t make sense”

“Because THC, unlike alcohol, is fat-soluble rather than water-soluble, there is no clear or consistent relationship between THC in the blood and THC in the brain, which means THC blood levels do not correspond neatly to degrees of impairment. Complicating the situation further, individual responses to a given dose of THC vary widely, especially when you compare occasional marijuana users to regular consumers, who may develop tolerance to the drug’s effects or learn to compensate for them.”

“Even states that have legalized marijuana for all adults 21 or older do not necessarily have rational DUI laws. Illinois, Nevada, and Washington make drivers automatically guilty at THC blood levels that regular consumers commonly exceed even when they are not impaired, while Michigan still has a zero tolerance law that treats any amount of THC as conclusive DUI evidence.”