Sources: Legislature proves floor speeches unnecessary
The compressed end of the 2019 Oregon Legislature exposed a well-kept secret — floor debates are only political posturing and rarely change any votes.
More than 100 bills had to pass before June 30 in the State Senate after Republicans finally ended their walkout to protest the cap-and-trade bill that Democrats ultimately sacrificed. News reports noted how fast the remaining bills passed or failed once Senate sessions finally resumed before the Sunday midnight deadline.
But, as the stories only noticed in passing, little if any debate took place on any of the bills, including one to substantially limit the death penalty and another to provide pre-paid postage on ballot return envelopes. Without such a deadline, the floor debate on each bill could have gone for hours, with each senator playing to their bases. But when time counts, we now know they already know how they are going to vote, despite how long the talk.
Portland protests in news again
Right-wing news outlets are denouncing Portland as a hotbed of anarchy and lawlessness again after fights broke out during dueling political protests on Saturday.
Much of the coverage focuses on conservative journalist/commentator Andy Ngo being assaulted by masked left-wingers commonly called "antifa," short for anti-fascist. Ngo, an editor on the Quiller website who has criticized Portland in the Wall Street Journal and on Fox News, was hospitalized after being attacked. Republican Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz called for a federal investigation into the lack of protection by the police and Mayor Ted Wheeler.
"Ngo is a well-known chronicler of antifa activity, and has criticized their illiberal tactics on Fox News. He attended the protest in this capacity — as a journalist, covering a notable public event," said a story on the Reason website.
Pot smokers just like you
Recreational marijuana users in Oregon, Washington and Colorado are pretty much like everyone else in those states, according to a newly released report by the Portland-based DHM Research firm. Despite that, when asked to describe a typical cannabis user, even they say a loser hanging out in front of a convenience store, like the main characters in the Jay and Silent Bob movies, the report found.
"It goes without saying that Americans have been fed a steady diet of cannabis caricatures over the years," reads the report, titled Cannabis Next Door. "Even cannabis users themselves imagine this stereotype when asked to describe the average user, and it drives a persistent social stigma they feel is attached to cannabis use."
In fact, the study found cannabis users are not much different than the general populations of the three states, except that a higher percent of them are males.