Riff Raff: Amber waves of weed, a ‘Heavenly Palace,’ and we don’t need no due process

by Michael Tilley (mtilley@talkbusiness.net) 457 views 

In addition to supplying the U.S. with ugly Donald Trump ties, the Chinese could soon drop on our country tis of thee a 9.3-ton space station. Insult, meet injury. But, not a surprise. We’ve been told the Chinese will do anything to keep dumping steel in our markets. When’s that medical marijuana become available?

• Speaking of marijuana, more folks are for it. Or so notes a recent Gallup Poll. In a poll conducted Oct. 5-11, 64% of survey respondents said marijuana should be fully legalized. Fully. That’s up from 12% in 1969 when the poll was first conducted, and up from 50% in 2011. What’s more, for the first year ever, a majority (51%) of Republicans support full legalization.

“The trajectory of Americans’ views on marijuana is similar to that of their views on same-sex marriage over the past couple of decades,” Gallup noted. “On both issues, about a quarter supported legalization in the late 1990s, and today 64% favor each.”

2017, meet the Long Arc of History. Or as Frank might croon, “Doobie, doobie, doo …”

• The thing about the Chinese space station is real. Physics and gravity real. The “Tiangong-1,” aka the “Heavenly Palace,” is going to hit the earth sometime in late 2017 or early 2018, says Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at Harvard University. If you’ve ever wondered about finding heaven on earth, you might want to track this chunk of communist metal now scooting around in a dying orbit about 200 miles (about the distance from Springdale to Little Rock) above your backyard fire pit.

Mr. McDowell says it’s anyone’s guess as to when or where it will land. It’s like a Trump tweet.

“You really can’t steer these things. … Even a couple of days before it re-enters, we probably won’t know better than six or seven hours, plus or minus, when it’s going to come down,” McDowell said.

Or where parts of it will come down.

Not all 9.3 tons will make it through the atmosphere. But scientists say parts that weigh a few hundred pounds will survive re-entry. A few hundred pounds. Moving at re-entry speeds, a few hundred pounds would certainly put a kink in your weekend plans.

If there is any justice in the world, parts of Tiangong-1 will hit the Chinese plant that makes Donald Trump ties.

• Let’s continue the topic of something on a dangerous path. Let’s do that with Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. And Arkansas’ two U.S. Senators.

Let’s say a big national bank screwed over millions of customers with fake accounts and fake fees for mortgage insurance, just to name a few financial instruments used to squeeze hundreds of millions of dollars out of the back pockets of those “hardworking Americans” for which members of Congress and other elected officials care so deeply.

But Wells Fargo would never do anything like that.

But say they did. I know, I know. I get it. No bank would be that insatiably greedy or incredibly stupid. But just for the sake of argument, let’s say they did. And were.

AG Rutledge supports federal legislation that requires consumers to abide by rules that prevent rights of due process and subverts those rights to pre-set rules that favor corporations and the class-action lawyer pool. You and me and cousin Sally and Lt. Dan have to abide by arbitration or a class action lawsuit that benefits attorneys and allows the corporate offender to get off for pennies on the dollar. If that. These federal rules, we are told, are necessary to protect us against trolling trial attorneys.

During a late-night vote, the U.S. Senate on Oct. 24 approved legislation that removes a consumer’s ability to take their case to court. U.S. Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton, both Republicans, voted for the measure that required U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to break a 50-50 tie. The bill now heads to the House. It’s doubtful any of Arkansas’ Congressmen will vote against the financial industry. Or for you. The same GOP who holds sacrosanct the 2nd Amendment has no problem abridging the 5th Amendment that ensures we not be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law: …”

Or at least it once sought to provide that protection.

However, rules that require corporations to abide by federal rules are not necessary. Your Arkansas AG recently joined a coalition of 13 attorneys general supporting a U.S. Senate bill that would to limit the ability of federal agencies to create and enforce regulations. The bill is targeted toward Obama-era rules that targeted the business sector. Writing to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the coalition is calling on the Senate to pass a bill that would amend the Administrative Procedure Act, a statute that sets forth the requirements for lawful executive agency action.

“The letter states that the Obama-era executive overreach demonstrates that existing congressional, judicial and other structural checks on the regulatory state have proven inadequate and must be reformed,” noted the Republican Party of Arkansas.

That’s a clear double standard in favor of those who can afford an army of well-coifed lawyers and well-connected lobbyists.

Here’s the bottom line. If federal law inhibits what corporations may do, it’s 50-states of overreach. If federal law inhibits how you may respond to corporations, it’s shifty-shades of reach-around between corporations and their political servants. You might get to be in the bedroom, but you ain’t on the bed.

• Speaking of not getting any satisfaction at the end of the night, how about them Hogs?!?

If a statewide telethon was held to raise the $6 million or whatever it would take to buy out Coach Bielema’s contract, how soon within the first hour would the goal be met?

Asking for a friend.

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