Capt. Tom hospitalized with COVID. Biden meets with GOP after lowball COVID aid offer. Oregon decriminalizes hard drugs; federal cannabis legalization next?
Biden meets with GOP after lowball COVID aid offer
Even before taking office, President Biden was touting a “think-big” approach to COVID stimulus. Biden first floated a $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal, dwarfing that begrudgingly passed in the Republican-controlled Senate in late December. Although Democrats now have tenuous control of both houses, the failure to defeat the filibuster means the path to bigger COVID-stimulus remains narrow.
The larger bill would either have to bring several Republicans on board to reach a filibuster-proof 60-vote threshold, or be passed through a “budget reconciliation” process requiring only a simple majority. If all Democrats in the Senate support it, then VP Kamala Harris has the deciding vote. But if any Democrats defect – as happened last week with the filibuster – the larger bill will be dead in the water. Such a defeat would empower Republicans to undercut future “big spending” ideas even more.
In hopes of building a broader coalition, Biden is meeting today with 10 Republican Senators led by Susan Collins. The group recently floated a low-ball $618 billion counter-proposal, less than a third of Biden’s proposal. With Republicans crying foul on the loss of “bipartisanship” to Biden’s right, and progressives like Bernie Sanders calling for the “reconciliation” approach to his left, it remains to be seen where Biden will come out.
Oregon set to decriminalize hard drugs; advocates hope for federal cannabis legalization
Last November, 58% of Oregonians voted to decriminalize hard drugs like heroine and cocaine. The measure is about to come into effect. This will not only mean that possession of small amounts of these drugs will cease to be a crime; it will also expunge the criminal records of those convicted in the past.
In a separate Oregon ballot measure, 56% of voters supported the legalization of magic mushrooms for medicinal use. That measure will not take effect for another two years. Nonetheless, therapists and researchers are excited about the possibilities of conducting further research on the therapeutic applications of psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms. There is long-standing anecdotal evidence that the drug can be helpful in treating a variety of mental disturbances, especially those brought on by trauma like PTSD. Native Americans have also used hallucinogens for spiritual purposes for centuries.
Nationwide legal weed next?
In general, there has been a wave of legalizations and decriminalizations of drugs like cannabis across the US for the past decade. Recent measures have buoyed the hopes of various advocates that the Biden administration will take the next logical step and legalize cannabis nationwide. Many hope that the “War on Drugs” begun by Nixon in the 60s to further marginalize racial minorities and political foes may soon be at an end.
During the 2020 campaign, Biden took a lot of stick for his previous staunch support for the “War on Drugs”. But many see cause to hope in his recent statements. Biden has also nominated CA Attorney General Xavier Becarra for Health Secretary and RI governor Gina Raimondo for Commerce Secretary. Both nominees have supported cannabis commercialization efforts in their home states.
“Captain Tom” in hospital with COVID
Last April, British WWII veteran “Capt. Tom” Moore walked his way into the hearts of millions. Moore walked 100 laps around his garden ahead of his 100th birthday to raise money for his country’s beleaguered National Health Service during the first COVID peak. Rather than the modest £1,000 pounds ($1,370) he hoped to raise, he ended up raising more than £30 million ($41m). Capt. Tom has since been knighted by the Queen, had a best-selling single, broken two Guinness World records and set up a charity.
The powerhouse centenarian now finds himself laid low by the disease he waged one last battle to fight. His daughter Hannah says that he had been experiencing pneumonia symptoms for weeks. He was recently diagnosed with COVID-19 and has been admitted to hospital. Hannah says he is being treated on a ward and not the ICU, and said he is receiving “remarkable” care. She says she knows staff “will do all they can to make him comfortable and hopefully return home as soon as possible”.
News of Capt. Tom’s hospitalization has brought well-wishes from millions, including UK PM Boris Johnson, who fought his own battle with COVID early last year. Our thoughts are with Capt. Tom and his family with hopes for a speedy recovery.Captain Tom, COVID stimulus, COVID-19, international news, legalized weed, national news, New Albany MS, Northeast Mississippi news, Oregon, President Joe Biden, UK, US news, world news