Links for 12/7/12

Remember when Marc Ambinder cited unnamed “Obama aides and associates” claiming that in Obama’s second term he would tackle reform of the Drug War, and a few civil libertarians took this as reason, against all evidence, to think that his second term may be better? Well that could still happen, and I hope it does, but there is no sign of it yet. In a must-read article for the New York Times, Charlie Savage looks at the options the administration is exploring to undercut state marijuana legalization measures:

One option is for federal prosecutors to bring some cases against low-level marijuana users of the sort they until now have rarely bothered with, waiting for a defendant to make a motion to dismiss the case because the drug is now legal in that state. The department could then obtain a court ruling that federal law trumps the state one.

A more aggressive option is for the Justice Department to file lawsuits against the states to prevent them from setting up systems to regulate and tax marijuana, as the initiatives contemplated. If a court agrees that such regulations are pre-empted by federal ones, it will open the door to a broader ruling about whether the regulatory provisions can be “severed” from those eliminating state prohibitions — or whether the entire initiatives must be struck down.

Radley Balko is on fire about this. Andrew Sullivan is Andrew Sullivan.

Breaking the Taboo, the documentary about the Drug War narrated by Morgan Freeman, premieres today. You can watch it on YouTube.

In better news for Washington state, these scenes of gay couples lining up for their marriage licenses are just fantastic. Officials in King County (Seattle) started work at midnight to get couples their licenses as soon as possible:

Asked whether the middle-of-the-night marriage license roll-out was necessary, King County Executive Dow Constantine said, “People who have been waiting all these years to have their rights recognized should not have to wait one minute longer.”

Walter Olson lays out the best case I’ve seen for not ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

My friends in the District will soon be able to buy spirits on Sundays.

Cigarette butts don’t always go to waste: It appears that birds use them in their nests, with the nicotine acting as a defense against parasites.

BuzzFeed writes the definitive obituary for Google Reader.