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Publisher’s Notebook:

In last week’s column I listed the California State ballot measure approving medical marijuana as Proposition 15; I meant to write Proposition 215. I also stated that Dutton’s bookstore in Brentwood had lost their lease. That was incorrect; they still have a current lease.

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 Perhaps Santa Monica City Councilman Robert Holbrook should recuse himself from voting on the subject of allowing medical marijuana farmacies in town. As a pharmacist, he has a clear conflict of interest in not wanting competing businesses. Though he is not currently dispensing in Santa Monica, the movement has long-term ramifications for a number of synthetic drugs that are big money makers for pharmacies. Perhaps some people will choose marijuana over Robaxin for anti-inflammatory purposes, or Valium and Xanax if nerves and stress are a problem.

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 I watched some of the Iraq war debate in the House of Representatives. Good for Nancy Pelosi to present a true and genuine discussion of this war. Though 17 Republicans joined with the majority in a 246-182 vote against sending new troops into Iraq, most of the presenters were clearly partisan. Republicans vacillated between calling this a meaningless resolution and saying that it meant the end of the Western World and US credibility. Democrats spoke on behalf of greater diplomatic efforts, withdrawing over the horizon from street patrol and supporting the troops that are already there. I must admit to being touched and swayed by some of the better Republican orators, but then a moment later a Democrat would present an entirely different view. Pretty amazing really. Reminded me a whole lot of the Vietnam War discussions where the country was clearly divided. In the end, a Congress with a Democrat majority cut off funding for the war in the Gerald Ford presidency, and that’s how that war ended. Funding restrictions for new troop deployment in this war seem to be next up. This non-binding resolution was a first good step in getting congresspeople on the record and for setting up future legislation. Congressman Jack Murtha’s plan is a start in the right direction: first of all deny funding to any US troop deployment that is not properly trained, equipped and rested. Now that is supporting our troops.

I would like to see our presence in Iraq be focused on war reparations instead of more military actions. Millions of Iraqi civilians need our support. Let’s build our friendship with Iraq through peaceful means by helping them rebuild the country, and by helping resettle those who have left and/or moved.

If you are going to ask the Iranians to stay out of the war, how about the same advice for Saudi Arabians, who are the Sunni combatants’ main supporters and who, incidentally, kill more US soldiers than any other grouping? That being said, I must say I am wholly opposed to Iran developing a nuclear weapon. It is no secret that Iran provided Lebanese-based Hezbollah with rockets to launch into Israel. What if one of them were nuclear tipped? It may also mean the Saudis would then need nuclear weaponss and we all know where the 9/11 suicide maniacs came from.

It was hard not to note that Iran marched their centrifuges in clear sight of all, right down to their nuclear facilities. U.S. and Israeli intelligence did not need much work to find these. In the end, if Iran persists in its path to nuclear armaments, Israel will do what it did to the Iraqi plant at Osirak and destroy it. Israel takes the words of people who say they want to wipe them off the face of the earth seriously. We may think it as bluster, but after Hitler and Nasser of Egypt, who swore the same thing and then invaded with armies, Israel will believe their enemies.

And what is with Hamas not foreswearing violence and refusing to recognize Israel? It would be sort of like Mexicans saying we do not give up our rights to the U.S. (Actually, under the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo they do have rights – which the U.S. has systematically ignored. And to think we complained about the Russians violating treaties.) Instead Mexico has repopulated the U.S. and enjoys a warm friendship with this country. Hamas would be provided billions of dollars of redevelopment money from all over the world IF they settled on these internationally recognized borders and negotiated peacefully with Israel. Jordan has done it, Lebanon has, Egypt has, and even Fatah has made peace. When Hamas chooses this path, more not less becomes available to them. It will show real leadership and bring their people a period of peace and prosperity while negotiating the future.

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 Mark Hefflinger of Digital Media Wire reported on February 7, 2007:

New York City Proposes iPod, Cell Phone Ban While Crossing Street

A proposal in the New York State Senate would ban residents of New York City and Buffalo from using an MP3 player, cell phone, Blackberry or other electronic device while crossing the street.

Sen. Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn) proposed the legislation in response to two recent pedestrian deaths, including one in which a 23-year-old was killed as he crossed the street while listening to an iPod.

The law would make using such electronic devices while crossing the street akin to jaywalking, with violators paying a $100 fine.

“What’s happening is when they’re tuning into their iPod or Blackberry or cell phone or video game, they’re walking into speeding buses and moving automobiles. It’s becoming a nationwide problem,” Sen. Kruger told Reuters.

And to think I was upset because I    wasn’t served coffee while my cell phone was on.

Michael Rosenthal


in Uncategorized
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