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Thursday Open Thread: My Blogging Hiatus

This past week has been the longest hiatus from blogging I've taken in 11 years. But, sometimes real life intervenes and puts blogging in its place, forcing us to remember that blogging is a hobby, not a business, and it's not the top priority. For me, this is one of those times.

Usually I can easily blog despite work commitments -- I just trade off watching TV at night. But this week (and next) my time is being consumed by matters I had no reason to anticipate and I have no time for blogging or TV. I just found out I have to move from my home -- in two weeks. [More...]

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Sunday Night Open Thread: More Rain

It's still raining hard here in Colorado. Latest numbers: 19,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed, 11,700 people have been evacuated and 1,200 people are unaccounted for.

It looks like Bob Dylan has joined the copyright crowd -- There are very few live performances still on You Tube. I couldn't find a good one for Shelter From the Storm, so here's one from somewhere with a nice rainy graphic of NYC and with good sound. If you move your mouse or pointer past the right border, the distracting social media links go away.

Shelter from the Storm - Hurricane Irene New York City

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Colorado Recall: Both Senators Ousted

Update: The voters of El Paso and Pueblo have spoken. Senate President John Morse and Senator Angela Giron are out. They will both be replaced by Republicans.

Today was voting day on the efforts to recall two Colorado legislators over their support for new gun control laws.

For Senate President John Morse: El Paso County Clerk and Recorder live update results here. For State Senator Angela Giron: Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder live update of Senate District 3 results here. [More...]

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Colorado Public Marijuana Giveaway Goes Smoothly

At downtown Denver's Civic Park yesterday, there were long lines for public marijuana giveaway. Police were on hand, but all went smoothly.

Shouting "Free the weed!" scores of marijuana lovers stood in line Monday for free joints offered by opponents of tax issues on the statewide and Denver ballots in November.

"It is legal to hand out marijuana to people in Colorado and it is legal to do it without paying a penny in taxes!" shouted [attorney]Rob Corry, who helped organize the event at Denver's Civic Center.

The giveaway was organized to protest a measure on this year's ballot, Proposition AA, which sets sales and excise taxes on marijuana. I support the tax and urge Coloradans to vote for it. [More...]

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NFL Players and Marijuana

The NFL punishes players who use marijuana.

Marijuana Policy Project has purchased a billboard ad calling on the NFL to stop the punishments. The billboard is in front of Sports Authority Field at Mile High, where the Denver Broncos will host the first NFL regular season game of the year tomorrow.

The 48-foot-wide Broncos-themed billboard highlights the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol and urges the NFL to "stop driving players to drink" with harsh penalties for marijuana use, noting that, "A safer choice is now legal (here)."

There's also a Change.org petition you can sign here. Here's a photo of the actual billboard. The Marijuana Policy Project will hold a news conference Thursday at 10 a.m. MT in front of the billboard (1700 N. Federal Blvd., Denver)

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Colorado's "Make My Day" Law

The Denver Post has an article today about Colorado's "Make My Day" law that allows homeowners to use deadly force against an intruder in their home.

Introduced in 1985 as the Homeowner Protection Act, "make my day" gives Colorado residents the right to shoot and kill an intruder if they believe the person intends to commit a crime and use physical force, "no matter how slight." That extraordinary right stops at the door. Front porches and backyards don't count.

In other words, to shoot and kill an intruder in the home, a homeowner need only reasonably believe a trespassing person might use any measure of physical force on any occupant of the home. The law is explained here.

Outside the home:

... in Colorado, as in Florida, fists can be deemed deadly weapons that justify gun use outside the home.

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CO Concealed Weapons Permits Soar, Recall Election Set for 2 Dems

As Democrats in Colorado pushed through three new gun control laws in March, 2013, with virtually no support from Republicans, applications for concealed weapons permits were soaring.

In the first half of 2013, the Denver Post reports the numbers rose dramatically, from 16, 886 to 31, 518:

From January to June, 31,518 background checks were processed for concealed-carry permits by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, according to bureau data. For the same period last year, there were only 16,886 processed

Here's a chart showing the first six months of both years. [More...]

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DOJ Trolling for Anti-Zimmerman Tips

Panderfest: The Department of Justice is setting up a public email address for tips on George Zimmerman.

Amid pressure from the NAACP and several Democratic lawmakers to pursue Zimmerman, the department has set up a public email address asking for any tips or information regarding the case.

This is nothing but a Neighborhood Watch program gone wild. Report your suspicions and three-times removed gossip. It's just more pandering to private interests. [More....]

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The Legacy of the George Zimmerman Trial

Here's what I wrote last week on the legacy of the George Zimmerman case. It's as true today as it has been for the past 16 months.

The legacy of this case will be that the media never gets it right, and worse, that a group of lawyers, with the aid of a public relations team, who had a financial stake in the outcome of pending and anticipated civil litigation, were allowed to commandeer control of Florida's criminal justice system, in pursuit of a divisive, personal agenda.

Their transformation of a tragic but spontaneous shooting into the crime of the century, and their relentless demonization of the person they deemed responsible, not for a tragic killing, but for "cold-blooded murder," has called into question the political motives and ethics of the officials serving in the Executive branch of Florida's government, ruined the career of other public officials, turned the lives of the Zimmerman family, who are as innocent as their grieving clients, into a nightmare, and along the way, set back any chance of a rational discussion of the very cause they were promoting, probably for years. [More....]

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George Zimmerman Trial: Walking Back the Damage

The state tried its hardest this morning to walk back the damage from yesterday's testimony of two of its own witnesses, Officers Chris Serino and Doris Singleton. I don't think it succeeded.

Yesterday, officer Serino testified that he believed George Zimmerman was telling the truth. Both he and Singleton testified the inconsistencies in Zimmerman's statements to them the week of the shooting and during his re-enactment of the event did not amount to significant differences. Serino and Singleton both testified to a point I have made here repeatedly: No one recounts an event the exact same way every time. If they did, it would be suspect. Variations are not the equivalent of significant differences.

Serino testified yesterday that when he told Zimmerman that Martin may have videotaped the encounter (a police ruse to get him to think he wouldn't get away with lying), Zimmerman's response was, "Thank G-d, I was hoping someone had videotaped it." It was after this that Serino said he thought GZ was telling the truth. [More...]

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Governor Signs Marijuana Bills into Law

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has signed the six bills regulating recreational marijuana passed by the legislature. They go into effect July 1.

The bills are House bills 1042, 1238, 1 317, 1318 and 1325, and Senate Bill 283. A short synopsis is here.

When asked about when a response on the new laws would come from the Feds, Hickenlooper says he thought it would be soon, but he really didn't know. Then he quipped, "They've been kind of busy." [More...]

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Memorial Day Open Thread

Enjoy the holiday everyone. This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Wednesday Night Open Thread

Rod Stewart is back with a new album. I loved watching him sing this song on Jimmy Kimmel Live the other night. Click on the full view button. Starting around 1:20, you can see how happy he is to be singing his own songs again. He also seems to be in great shape. Maybe it's his 8 kids, ages 2 to 50, that keeps him so enthused about life. Whatever it is, it's fun to watch and the song is very catchy.

Two cases I'm not following: Jodi Arias and the released Cleveland women. If you are, feel free to comment.

What to watch tonight: Slim pickings, but it will be The Voice, Survivor and Nashville. American Idol is so boring.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Colo. Makes History: Marijuana Bills Passed

Bump and Update: It's official. The House approved the Senate Amendments and Colorado is now the first state in the nation to pass laws regulating recreational use, sale, production and taxing of marijuana.

This appears to be the final version of House Bill 1317 setting out the regulations for retail outlets. Tourists will be able to buy 1/4 ounce at a time. You can find all the versions here. The bill will go to Governor Hickenlooper who is expected to sign it into law.

Details on the driving while stoned bill that passed yesterday here.

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Colo. Passes Drugged Driving Bill

On its 6th try, a bill to outlaw driving while stoned has passed the House and Senate in Colorado. The limit for marijuana: 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood.

But, the bill is the weakest version yet. Instead of 5 nanograms being per se against the law, or even a rebuttable presumption, it's now just a "permissible inference." Blood tests can be refused, although a refusal will result in revocation of driving privileges.

Governor John Hickenlooper is expected to sign the bill into law. The bill is H.R. 1325. Here is the text of the final version.

Two remaining bills are up for final passage tomorrow, the last day of the legislative session. HB 1317 will regulate retail sales of marijuana for recreational use. HB 1318 imposes taxes on marijuana.[More...]

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