Take the gloves off
Re " Obama's next challenge," Nov. 3
President Obama and the Democrats have one chance now to govern. If they continue to waste time trying to compromise with the Republicans, who aren't interested in giving the president credit for anything he does and whose only goal is to see him defeated in 2012, they lose and he's a one-term president.
If the Democrats unify and immediately start passing legislation in the lame-duck session of Congress — bills the House has already passed thanks to Nancy Pelosi — and push them through the Senate without a single Republican vote, they can restore the faith of the Democratic base and make a huge comeback by 2012.
Obama needs to take off his gloves and start using
his bully pulpit.
Wow, the Republicans are even more hypocritical than I thought. They say the electorate has spoken and that they expect Obama to go along with everything they want. And they won only the House, not the Senate.
What happened when Obama won the presidency and the Democrats won a large majority in the Senate and a majority in the House? Why then did the Republicans decide to oppose everything Obama and the Democrats wanted? Did the people not speak clearly enough then?
I guess the Republicans' answer, as usual, is no.
Props to The Times for avoiding the typical left-wing spin of blaming the election results solely on the economy. The Times quotes a former Clinton administration official and Obama supporter as saying that the president's "partisan, harsh, class-oriented and divisive rhetoric" is partly responsible for the historic thumping, and I concur.
It is one thing to fail repeatedly on promises such as holding unemployment at 8% with "shovel-ready" stimulus-funded jobs. It is quite another thing to govern by seeking to demonize Fox News, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Supreme Court and concerned American "tea partyers." This alienated millions of Americans.
David S. Olson
Mixed message on marijuana
Re "Youth vote falters; Prop. 19 falls short," Nov. 3
Proposition 19's failure makes it that much more important to facilitate research into the benefits and harms of marijuana. At present, researchers have to contend with a monopoly on the marijuana supply held by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, whose mission is to study the harmful effects of illicit drugs.
We need to pressure the Drug Enforcement Administration to issue another marijuana cultivation license. In 2007, DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner found that the agency should issue a license to a researcher to cultivate marijuana; her recommendation was rejected.
It's time we ask why the DEA upholds an obstructionist federal monopoly.
San Leandro, Calif.
Congratulations California voters: By defeating Proposition 19, you've succeeded in keeping the Mexican drug cartels and the street drug dealers raking in huge profits, committed precious law enforcement manpower to the pursuit of a futile effort, empowered more gang violence, obligated yourselves to continued expenditures prosecuting and imprisoning people who shouldn't be in the criminal justice system, and prevented a huge potential source of revenue for your bankrupt state.
Proposition 19 spurred some interesting conversation, but passing it would have been ill-advised. I hope the nation now realizes that:
The international Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs treaty bans marijuana. The U.S. signed the treaty, which prohibits the production and supply of marijuana.
The cost would have been tremendous. Just like tobacco and alcohol, legal marijuana would impose extraordinary social, medical, cultural and financial costs.
California already has de-facto decriminalization, and the benefits of legalization do not outweigh its risks.
Yes, it is a carcinogen, and yes, it is addictive.
The writer is senior vice president and chief clinical officer of Phoenix House.
Debating the death penalty
Re "Justice in slow motion," Opinion, Oct. 31
Arnold Friedman brings to light a grave problem in our state and in most of the country: The death penalty process is inherently flawed and broken, and can thus never be administered fairly, quickly and with good faith that all the fail-safes are effectively employed.
Given its crippling cost to taxpayers, we have a proposition just begging to be put on the ballot to crush this barbarous and slow process once and for all. Letting our convicted killers die with a whimper in a cell is no less retributive in my opinion, but it makes a lot more sense.
Saddam Hussein was convicted of mass murder and hanged less than two months later. That's justice. In California, a death sentence is a joke, with 20 years or more of appeals, thousands of pages of documents (which no one can totally read) and millions in legal costs. The death sentence is not justice.