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Minnesota Governor Vows to Legalize Marijuana: “I Trust Adults to Make Their Own Decisions”

Tim Walz and the Democratic Party in Minnesota are making real progressive changes in their state.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz
Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The center of Democratic efficacy is not in New York or California—it’s in the Midwest. Minnesota has spent its entire legislative session notching progressive win after win, from becoming the first state to codify abortion rights after the fall of Roe, to guaranteeing free meals for every Minnesota public and charter school student.

And now, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz is vowing to sign the marijuana legalization bill passed by the state legislature.

“I served on the Veterans Affairs Committee in Congress for a dozen years, and we passed the first piece of legislation on medicinal cannabis to help us move away from the opioid addictions that we saw with our returning soldiers. And we know that prohibition doesn’t work,” Walz reasoned on Sunday. “And with the issues of contamination of fentanyl, and xylazine and things we’re seeing show up on street cannabis, it doesn’t make any sense. And so we’re gonna allow people to grow it at home.”

Walz’s answer was steeped not just in practical logic, but in convincing philosophical terms that embody what a winning case for the party is: emphasizing freedom to, and not just freedom from.

“I trust adults to make their own decisions. We’re talking about freedoms. You make [your] own health care decisions in Minnesota. We’re not going to tell you how to deal with your children. We’re going to allow teachers to teach. We’re not going to ban books,” Walz said. “We’ll have it legally—the regime will be in place to make sure that it’s safe, the things that are being sold to folks, and we’ll use the resources from the tax revenue to help educate people on addiction which we know is ravaging, you know, people across the country.”

States like Florida and Texas have earned much-deserved scrutiny for their extremely oppressive legislative sessions. Minnesota and other midwestern states warrant their own contrasting recognition: of Democrats running on popular progressive policies, delivering on them, and bettering the lives of millions.

Editor’s Pick

Marjorie Taylor Greene, Who Loves Demonizing Drag Queens, Now Defends Drag-Wearing Boyfriend

The Georgia representative has built a career demonizing drag queens and queer people generally. Oh how the turntables.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has gone out of her way to attack drag queens, is now defending her drag-wearing boyfriend.

Greene has been dating Brian Glenn since late last year. Glenn currently works as a programming director for the conservative Right Side Broadcasting Network, but from 2013 to 2015, he was an anchor for a local Dallas, Texas, news station. A video posted to Twitter on Sunday shows him in drag for a morning segment. It is unclear when the segment originally aired.

I’m kicking the shoes off,” Glenn says in the clip, sporting a curly blonde wig, a pink dress, gloves, and a purse.

“I may keep the pantyhose on. It does feel kind of good, actually,” he adds, which is blatantly untrue (just ask anyone who’s had to wear pantyhose for an extended period of time).

Both Glenn and Greene have shared the video on social media, with Greene tweeting that she was “literally lol’ing.”

Glenn “dressed in drag for morning news in Dallas years ago reporting on an upcoming local theatre production and the morons over at Patriot Takes think this is an attack,” she said on Twitter. “The left is so stupid.”

Greene has repeatedly attacked drag performances of any kind, at one point calling them “indoctrination” and saying it should be “illegal” for children to attend. She has likened supporting the LGBTQ community to grooming children, and even suggested that people who support drag queens should be considered “domestic terrorists.” She and other far-right people seeking to ban drag in public insist that their efforts are to protect children.

Well, her boyfriend’s news segment presumably did not include a warning for any minors who might be watching, so people under the age of 18 were likely able to see such obscene content.

The actual problem for Republicans does not seem to be drag, but who is dressed in drag. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee wore drag in high school, but he signed the country’s first law banning drag performances in public (that law was blocked by a judge). Criminally indicted Representative George Santos dressed in drag in Brazil, but he has fully embraced the GOP’s anti-LGBTQ stances. And now Glenn, who works for a far-right, openly Trump-supporting news network.

The issue actually at play is LGBTQ people who live their lives openly and do not fall in line with whatever Republicans deem acceptable.

Nebraska Passes Double-Whammy Bill Banning Abortion and Trans Kids’ Health Care

The bill is expected to be signed into law by Republican Governor Jim Pillen.

Nebraska state Senator Merv Riepe chats with fellow Senator Jane Raybould at the Nebraska state Capitol

The Nebraska state legislature passed a bill Friday banning abortion after 12 weeks and gender-affirming care for minors, a double-whammy of curbing human rights.

The anti-abortion, anti-trans bill passed the House by a vote of 33–15 and now heads to the desk of Governor Jim Pillen, who has said he will sign it. The measure initially passed the Senate on Tuesday, when lawmakers also voted 33–15 to add the abortion ban as an amendment to the existing gender-affirming care bill.

The rotunda and gallery were packed with people protesting against the bill, chanting so loudly that lawmakers struggled to hear each other. At one point, when Republican Senator Kathleen Krauth began speaking, protesters erupted so loudly that security cleared the gallery. Demonstrators threw tampons onto the chamber floor before they were escorted out.

“Nothing I say matters in this chamber, so I am going to say the unvarnished truth,” Senator Machaela Cavanaugh said during the final debate. “This place is morally bankrupt, that you are playing political games with parents and children in this state to get something. It’s gross. It’s vile.”

The Nebraska legislature failed last month to pass a six-week abortion ban, after two typically anti-abortion senators voted “present.” Republicans then pushed the 12-week ban by folding it into the anti-trans bill.

The measure will ban abortion after 12 weeks. Exceptions would only be made for rape, incest, or to save the pregnant person’s life. The bill would also prohibit people under 18 from receiving puberty blockers, hormone therapies, and genital or nongenital surgeries. Genital surgeries are not performed in Nebraska, but Republicans have banned them anyway.

The state’s chief medical officer—who is simply an ear, nose, and throat specialist appointed by the Republican governor—would be able to set rules and regulations that would allow gender-affirming medications in certain situations. The bill’s supporters say this is a compromise, but critics worry this authority could be used to create a blanket ban instead of more flexibility.

State Democrats, led by Cavanaugh and Senator Megan Hunt, have sought to block anti-trans legislation by filibustering every single bill that came up during the legislative session. But they were finally defeated on Friday.

AOC Dunks on McCarthy: If You Want To Cut Spending, What About No Yacht Tax Breaks?

If Republicans really want to do something about the debt, here’s one place to start.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Ting Shen/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy and Republicans have been staunch in risking global default by demanding the government cut social services and make working people’s lives harder. On Friday, as Republicans continue to drag their feet on allowing the government to raise the debt limit, McCarthy tweeted another of his stubborn aphorisms:

And indeed, Washington could spend less. For instance, America’s 2024 proposed military budget is some $842 billion—$100 billion more than 2022, and $26 billion more than 2023. But if America isn’t ready to confront its inflated military budget yet, there is one very easy solution, as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez noted:

The most outlandishly rich have long benefited from tax breaks and loopholes that maintain and even expand such vulgar levels of wealth. But twice-impeached, criminally indicted, and liable for sexual abuse former President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax bill opened up those channels more. It brought such wild provisions, including allowing the full price of private jets to be deducted in the first year.

A poignant example of how this came into practice is in the tale of longtime Republican donor Mori Hosseini, who made his fortune as a homebuilder in Florida. After spending $19.5 million on a private jet in 2017, he netted nearly $8 million in tax savings immediately, ProPublica reports. And that was just to start out with.

Soon enough, Hosseini, a close advisor to Ron DeSantis, taxied the governor and his family around like a friend giving another a ride. In 2019, ProPublic notes, Hosseini’s jet carried DeSantis’s wife Casey from Tallahassee to Jacksonville for a fundraiser hosted by—and this is not made up—a defense contractor.

Ted Cruz Thinks It’s Hilarious That He Booked It to Cancun During That Deadly Texas Storm

More than 240 of his constituents died. But to Ted Cruz, it’s all a little punch line.

Matthew Staver/Bloomberg/Getty Images

In February 2021, just one month after Ted Cruz failed to lead an effort to overturn the certification of the presidential election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania, millions of people in his home state of Texas were suffering without power during a historical and deadly winter storm. Cruz, however, was on his way to Cancun to soak in a little sun, while his constituents struggled to stay warm enough to keep breathing.

It’s a legacy that will stay with Cruz, but amid the escalating viciousness of his party, he has been able to shed the association ever so slightly. However, on Friday, he gave us a reminder of how cartoonishly callous he most certainly is.

It’s all a joke. The pain, the suffering, the heightened contradictions his departure from his constituents revealed—it’s all just funny to him.

At least 246 people died in that storm, one of the worst natural disasters in Texas’s history; victims ranged in age from less than 1 year old to 102. People were stuck in the snow, some were unable to obtain necessary medical treatments, others were found dead alone in rural communities with little support.

In Houston, The New York Times reported, an Ethiopian immigrant died in her idling car, inside her garage, where she sat while charging her phone.

“She tried to drink water,” said Negash Desta, a relative of the deceased, Etenesh Mersha. “After she told her friend she couldn’t talk anymore, there was no response after that.” Her daughter was found dead, while her husband and son were hospitalized.

Recall too: resorting to finding power wherever one could (at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning), going out into the cold for help, dying alone—all of it was happening amid the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

And still. To Ted Cruz, the human suffering, the real-world implications of an energy policy so reliant on fossil fuels, of a government system that can leave so many to die such cold, lonely deaths—it’s all a little punch line.

No, Hotels Aren’t Evicting Homeless American Vets Because of Migrants

The story was shared by Fox, the New York Post, and more. Because whenever the right can blame migrants, facts come second.

Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis/Getty Images
A migrant who was bused to New York from the Texas border in January.

“Homeless vets are being booted from NY hotels to make room for migrants: advocates,” a New York Post headline from last week read. “New York Hotels Evicting Homeless Veterans to House Migrants,” Newsweek said days later, joining in the outrage. “As many as 20 homeless veterans were booted from hotels in upstate New York to presumably make room for the influx of migrants,” Fox told its audience shortly thereafter.

And it turns out, the whole story was made up.

Mid Hudson News reports that seven homeless men have come forward and revealed they were recruited to pretend to be veterans who were displaced from a hotel—with the subtext being that migrants were taking their spots—all so a nonprofit organization could pull off a mass fraudulent scheme on the entire country.

The men told the outlet they were part of a group of 15 who were directed by the Yerik Israel Toney, or YIT, Foundation to pretend to be veterans kicked out of the Crossroads Hotel in Newburgh, New York. The men were recruited at a homeless shelter, where they were promised $200 along with food and alcohol. All they had to do was take a trip to participate in a discussion on homelessness with an elected official. After agreeing, the men were all loaded up into vehicles and moved to a diner, where they met the lead fraudster: Sharon Toney-Finch, the founder of YIT. She told them to order whatever they wanted from the menu.

“We ate like kings,” one of the men said. “Sharon introduced herself and told us we could have whatever we wanted and she would pick up the tab.” After the royal meal, Toney-Finch took them to the parking lot and laid out the real plan: Go to a meeting and act like they were veterans displaced from their hotels to make room for migrants.

The storyline was a hook, line, and sinker for the right: A hotel kicked out American veterans to make room for an influx of migrants being shipped to the town. A media firestorm quickly slammed officials for a completely made-up occurrence.

Republican Assemblyman Brian Maher even denounced the hotel by name, going on to attack the federal government’s dealings with migrants and asylum-seekers. “So the Biden administration, Governor Hochul, and the city of New York, they all have a part in this, and it’s a total embarrassment,” Maher said on Fox & Friends First. “It’s a slap in the face to veterans, to citizens of New York in this country, who are really being cast aside to allow for asylum-seekers to come here.”

Maher spoke highly of Toney-Finch, perpetrator of the fraudulent story. “Sharon spoke out, and now she’s getting hate messages. She asked me to handle this interview today because she wants to focus on the veterans,” Maher said on Fox’s airwaves. “And by the way, one of these veterans, 30 years old, he was there for the Afghanistan pullout. For me, one of the most embarrassing moments for our country in our history. And after getting home, he was kicked out of this hotel trying to reintegrate back into our society.” Maher even appealed to the public to donate to the YIT Foundation.

But pulling on one lie opened up another and another. Toney-Finch used a $37,800 hotel receipt as proof she paid for the veterans’ housing herself. But a hotel manager found “no veteran organizations” in the system. “There were no, absolutely no, veterans that were staying here that were asked to leave because of, you know, the migrants that were coming to stay here. Nobody was evicted. That’s for sure.”

Maher pressed Toney-Finch to provide bank records proving that her nonprofit was paying for hotel housing for the veterans. Soon thereafter, Toney-Finch admitted to him that perhaps things were not as they seemed. Maher, for his part, has said he simply took Toney-Finch and the “veterans” at their word.

Thousands of people across the country were duped, misled, and had any potential biases and prejudices further inflamed by this story. And again, it was all made up. But Fox, the New York Post, Newsweek, and a horde of other outlets ran with it anyway.

“We are disgusted, but not surprised, to learn that the New York Post’s front-page story pitting homeless veterans against asylum-seekers was a complete lie,” said Aaron Narraph Fernando, of populist grassroots organization For the Many. “This fake story of George Santos proportions has already made its way into the national media and kicked up a storm of anti-immigrant hatred. It has turned local residents against migrants, sending xenophobic, racist outrage toward asylum-seekers who are simply trying to make a new home for themselves in Newburgh.”

Kevin McCarthy Can’t Control His Own Party on Debt Ceiling Talks

The pause on the debt ceiling negotiations is further proof that the House speaker isn’t the real leader of his caucus. Donald Trump still is.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Bipartisan negotiations on the debt ceiling abruptly stopped on Friday after Donald Trump Kevin McCarthy said Republicans weren’t getting enough concessions.

Democrats and Republicans have been locked in a protracted battle over the debt limit, which the GOP has indicated it’s willing to hold hostage in order to reduce government spending. But with the United States just weeks away from defaulting on its debt, President Joe Biden has been meeting with party leaders to try and find a solution. There appeared to have been some progress this week.

But on Friday, Republicans pulled the plug on a meeting shortly after it began. “It’s time to press pause because it’s just not productive,” Representative Garret Graves told reporters.

He said the talks have become “just unreasonable,” and it was not clear when they would start again.

McCarthy backed up what Graves said, telling reporters, “We’ve got to get movement by the White House, and we don’t have any movement yet. So, yeah, we’ve gotta pause.”

AP White House reporter Chris Megerian first tweeted the news that negotiations had ended at 11:28 a.m.

Just 18 minutes before, guess who was posting on Truth Social that Republicans should stop negotiating until all of their ridiculous demands were met?

The farthest-right members of the Republican Party are fully in control. The House Freedom Caucus had already called Thursday for “no further discussion” on raising the debt ceiling until the Senate passes the GOP’s budget bill. And by Friday morning, their wish became reality.

Remember that just three days ago, McCarthy said he’d be willing to continue meeting with the Biden administration “until this gets done.”

The Freedom Caucus members are some of Trump’s staunchest supporters in Congress, and they were also McCarthy’s biggest obstacle to the speakership. He made multiple concessions to the group in order to win the gavel, and now he is entirely beholden to them. And the country will pay the price.

Nebraska Lawmaker Calls Out Republicans for Hating Trans People More Than They Love Their Families

Megan Hunt, who has been leading a weeks-long filibuster in Nebraska, called it as it is.

A demonstrator walks down the sidewalk carrying a transgender pride flag
Eric Thayer/Bloomberg/Getty Images

As the Nebraska state legislature prepares for a final debate on a bill that would ban both gender-affirming care and abortion, one Democratic senator called out her Republicans for their blatant bigotry.

Senator Megan Hunt has helped lead the charge on a marathon filibuster to block anti-trans legislation during the entire legislative session. Her son is trans, making the issue particularly personal. Republicans have rallied to push this latest bill through, including Senator Ray Aguilar, who is recovering from two knee surgeries, and Senator Lou Ann Linehan, who said she had to miss her grandchild’s preschool graduation for the initial vote.

“I’m asking you to love your family more than you hate mine,” Hunt said. “If your family wants you home to recover from surgery, maybe you should do that. If you want to go see your grandson graduate from preschool, you should do that.”

“We don’t need you here.”

Elon Said Twitter Users Can Post Two-Hour Videos, So Someone Immediately Shared the Entire Shrek 3 Movie

New CEO shift going well *thumbs up*

Altan Gocher/DeFodi Images/Getty Images

On Thursday, Elon Musk announced that Twitter Blue subscribers now have the ability to upload two-hour videos—eight gigabytes worth of content—into their tweets. And one of the top replies showed yet another of many potential legal entanglements Musk faces because of his mismanagement of Twitter.

While this user’s viral post has since been disabled “in response to a report by the copyright owner,” scores of other accounts are continuing to post full-length films on their Twitter accounts. A scroll through the replies to Musk’s announcement of yet another ill-thought-out benefit of his money-losing Twitter Blue regime shows numerous users posting high-quality videos of copyrighted movies.

The episode follows Musk’s announcement of a new CEO, Linda Yaccarino, whose appointment was ostensibly meant to symbolize a serious pursuit to appease and attract advertisers. That pursuit was somewhat deflated after a scratch beneath the surface showed how much Yaccarino seems to appreciate conspiratorial and far-right content.

And a bunch of accounts committing copyright violations left and right—amid a decimated content and standards team—probably doesn’t help Twitter one bit.

Mark Your Calendars for the Next Big Trump Indictment

The Georgia prosecutor investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election has signaled when in the summer new charges will likely come.

Donlad Trump wears a MAGA hat on a golf field
Robert Perry/Getty Images

Donald Trump has been indicted on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in efforts to pay hush money to porn actress Stormy Daniels, who he was alleged to have an affair with. He has been found civilly liable for sexually abusing and defaming E. Jean Carroll. And now, the twice-impeached former president is looking down the barrel of another set of criminal charges to come as soon as early August.

The New York Times reports that the Georgia prosecutor leading an investigation into Trump and his allies’ efforts to overturn the 2020 election has announced that most of her staff will be working remotely during the first three weeks of August. She has also asked judges in an Atlanta courthouse not to schedule trials for a portion of that time, as she looks to finally bring charges in the investigation.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis sent out the requests and plans in a letter addressed to 21 county officials, including the chief county judge and county sheriff, the Times reports.

“Thank you for your consideration and assistance in keeping the Fulton County Judicial Complex safe during this time,” Willis wrote, making explicit what the remote work policy and requests were related to. She has already asked local law enforcement and the FBI to help with security in and around the courthouse as well.

Though the Times doesn’t say this, it’s possible the Georgia indictment won’t come until August, in order to give special counsel Jack Smith the space to bring his own charges against Trump first. As a reminder, Smith is also investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, as well as his mishandling of classified documents.

The investigation into whether Trump and company interfered with the 2020 election in Georgia has been ongoing for over two years. A special grand jury that heard evidence in the case for some seven months has recommended indictments of more than a dozen individuals—and Trump is highly suspected to be among the recommended culprits.

Willis’s security concerns are in direct response to Trump’s own attacks on the slate of investigations being led all over the country into his and his allies’ conduct. He and the right have viciously attacked Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Stormy Daniels, E. Jean Carroll, and those in the Georgia investigation as well. In Willis’s letter to the FBI last year, she noted that Trump had called the investigators “vicious, horrible people” at a rally and encouraged protests in cities where he was being investigated.

Trump is 0–2 in just the most recent investigations he has faced. And given how much paper trail has already been exposed showing Trump and his allies’ widespread efforts to overturn the election, it is not unlikely that the Georgia investigation will present insurmountable charges once again.