ALBANY, N.Y. — New York officially legalized weed Wednesday as Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that will regulate the sale of recreational marijuana for adults and expunge the records of people previously convicted of possession. Legislators approved the long-stalled measure late Tuesday, sending the bill allowing adults over 21 to use marijuana legally to the governor’s desk. “This is a historic day in New York — one that rights the wrongs of the past by putting an end to harsh prison sentences, embraces an industry that will grow the Empire State’s economy, and prioritizes marginalized ...
REVEALED: Big-money GOP groups pushing Arizona's election 'audit' have 'dangerous' plans for the future
The Arizona election "audit" has been widely mocked, but an investigative reporter warned that the wealthy contributors backing the effort to undo Donald Trump's election loss posed a grave threat to democracy.
The New Yorker's Jane Mayer appeared Tuesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to discuss the findings in her new report, showing that rich and powerful conservative groups were deeply committed to gathering power to undo future election losses by Republican candidates.
"The Cyber Ninjas have a tiny amount of money that's coming from the state Senate in Arizona, but the vast proportion of it, something like over $5 million, comes from contributors who are basically national conspiracy theorists who are aligned with former president Trump," Mayer said. "So you've got that group. You have Patrick Byrne, the person who started Overstock.com, is one of the big ones. Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell, those people are involved in funding the specific audit, but the audit itself, which people think of as a clown show, as you said, is actually not that funny when you look at it closely, because what it's trying to do is overturn a certified American presidential election, and the forces that are pushing that, and this is what I was looking at, include a number of -- a whole array of very prominent national conservative groups, people that you don't ordinarily think of as involved in sort of flaky conspiracy theories."
"You have the Heritage Foundation in there, you have the American Legislative Exchange Council, backed by big corporations," she added. "You have got the Bradley Foundation of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which is one of the biggest conservative foundations, it has $850 million in its treasury to spend on these kinds of adventurous things, and what they are doing is funding people who are spreading doubt about the security of American elections. Why are they doing it? Because it works for them. I'm not sure how many of them believe it, but what it's done is, they're exploiting this distrust of American elections in order to push through laws that crack down on voting rights and keep the people they don't want from the polls, basically, and they're also laying the foundation, many people told me, for potentially a lot of distrust about the 2022 elections and the 2024 elections, so it's a kind of dangerous precedent that's going on there."
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White House fears 'pressure campaign' to get Justice Stephen Breyer to retire could backfire: report
On Tuesday, Axios reported that President Joe Biden and White House officials don't see eye to eye with progressive activists on whether to mount a "pressure campaign" to get Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to step down from his position and clear the way for a younger appointee.
"Both Biden and White House chief of staff Ron Klain believe applying such pressure — publicly or even privately — would politicize and damage the institution of the Supreme Court, the sources said. They're also afraid it could backfire," reported Jonathan Swan. "Biden would be perfectly happy if Breyer chooses to step down soon. But the president and Klain disagree strongly with progressive activists who are urging a presidential pressure campaign on Breyer to retire, according to sources with direct knowledge."
This contrasts with activists who fear they only have a narrow window to replace Breyer safely, in case the Senate is captured by Republicans next year or even in case a Democratic senator is replaced in the middle of their term. It also contrasts with former President Donald Trump, who reportedly worked for months to privately convince Justice Anthony Kennedy to retire in 2018.
"The public pressure on Breyer has come mainly from advocacy organizations. The most aggressive has been Demand Justice, led by Brian Fallon, a former spokesman for Hillary Clinton and Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder," said the report. "Demand Justice first called for Breyer to step down in January. They've run an online petition and digital ads, hired a billboard truck to circle the Supreme Court building and organized open letters from law professors and progressive groups — but the best-funded and most established liberal organizations did not join the petition."
Furious Florida doctors lash out at DeSantis over 'unbelievably frightening' surge of COVID-19 patients
According to a report from Vanity Fair's Bess Levin, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) is facing withering criticism from doctors in his state for not taking the resurgence of COVID-19 seriously as the Delta variant overwhelms hospitals at a frightening pace.
As the report notes, Florida reported 10,389 new hospitalizations for COVID on Monday that comes on the heels of a staggering 21,000 new infections on Friday making Florida home to almost one in five cases nationally.
On Monday, CNN's John Avlon reported that Florida "has gotten nearly 25 times more people hospitalized for COVID than in all of Canada," and, according to The Independent, doctors in the Sunshine State are fed up with the Republican governor who recently started fundraising by selling item mocking getting vaccinated.
According to Vanity Fair's Levin, "Last month, DeSantis's reelection campaign introduced koozies and T-shirts bearing the phrase 'Don't Fauci My Florida' as his state began to see some of the highest hospitalizations, new infections, and deaths per capita in the country, claiming that Florida's economy would have been in the toilet if it had 'followed Fauci.' The items were listed along anti-mask merch printed with the DeSantis quote, 'How the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on?' While the governor's office swears the state is in great shape, and that the recent spike is merely a 'seasonal' blip, the data seems to indicate otherwise."
Florida's doctors seem to concur.
In an interview, Bernard Ashby, a Miami cardiologist stated, "While hospitals in our state were filling up, DeSantis was shouting about 'Freedom over Faucism.'"
Ashby, who also heads up the state's Committee to Protect Health Care, added, "If DeSantis were as concerned about stopping COVID-19 spread as he was about coming up with these clever jabs about Dr. Fauci, we might not be in this position," reported the Independent which added that doctors in the state are both "furious and ashamed."
Dr. Aileen Marty, a Florida International University infectious disease expert also expressed dismay.
"There is no higher risk area in the United States than we're seeing here," she admitted before lamenting, "The numbers that we're seeing are unbelievable, just unbelievably frightening."
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