Bill Clinton’s Run For Office

I saw this Onion article at lunch. Hilarious, but in a way, might the satire approach the truth?

The piece of the article you cannot see on the website is the tagline that Bill Clinton brings “8 years of on the job experience”.

On the surface this is a subtle jab at the “experience is the most important!” cry of Hillary and some of the drop-outs. But under the surface are even subtler criticisms. Hillary regularly trumpets her experience as first spouse as hard hitting political experience that better qualifies her to be President. A mock article discussing Bill’s run for office offers a neat counter.

On the other hand, it might reflect a hidden message in Hillary’s message. As Bill campaigns more and more visibly, and Hillary makes more of the impact a first spouse can have, a new picture begins to take shape. Bill Clinton is campaigning for office. If the first spouse really does help drive policy and relations through active campaigning and lobbying, then Hillary Clinton in office means a return to the Clinton years. After all, Hillary’s politics is remarkably close to her husband’s (and those who followed the inside play during 2004 will recall how both Clintons, together, took a very active role shaping the Democratic field). Bill’s chief benefit in a such an arrangement plays to his strength. He’s a talker, a rhetorician of unique skill. In the position of first husband, he’d have access to all of the press and prestige needed to continue where he left off.

So while the Onion article is clearly satire, the underlying reality might not be all that far off.


California’s Highest Court Fails Drug Test

The question of workers rights vs employer rights came up smack in the middle of the medical marijuana debate.  The justices got it wrong (NYTimes):

The ruling, a 5-to-2 decision that affirmed the findings of lower state courts, involved a former Air Force mechanic, Gary Ross, who injured his lower back in a fall off an airplane wing in 1983. In 1999, a doctor, acting under the state’s Compassionate Use Act, prescribed marijuana in an effort to relieve Mr. Ross’s pain.

The act, approved by voters in 1996, legalized the use and sale of marijuana to those with a chronic illness or infirmity.

Two years after he began using the drug, Mr. Ross was fired from a job as a systems administrator with a telecommunications company after failing a drug test.

Mr. Ross filed suit, contending that his dismissal violated state laws barring wrongful termination and discrimination based on disability.

But the state’s highest court firmly rejected that argument on Thursday, saying that the act deals solely with criminal prosecution, not terms of employment.

This was a poorly considered opinion on the part of the court:

“The Compassionate Use Act does not eliminate marijuana’s potential for abuse or the employer’s legitimate interest in whether an employee uses the drug,” Justice Kathryn M. Werdegar wrote.

Potential for abuse does not equal abuse.  If that is a sufficient condition for termination, then couldn’t the same be said of every prescription medication on the market?  Is there a single painkiller medication which cannot be abused in some way?

The second half is of interest, especially when viewed through the prism of a conservative group’s argument in favor of the ruling:

The Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative, free-enterprise group, praised the decision as a victory for “safe, drug-free workplaces.”

“You don’t want employers to be trying to figure who is impaired and who is not,” said Deborah J. La Fetra, a lawyer for the group.

“They need to have a bright-line, no-drugs-in-the-workplace rule.”

That could apply to any prescription medication.  So the question becomes, is it ok for employers to target those who are ill?

The justices ostensibly  focused on the “Compassionate Use Act”.  Of what practical purpose is the act, if one must be unemployed to use marijuana as medication?  Protecting workers rights is clearly in the spirit of the law.  The act the justices should have focused on was the Americans With Disabilities Act.