On Tuesday afternoon, the Internet suddenly flowered with an abundance of pot jokes. The catalyst for this glut of stoner wit was a new poll from Gallup, showing that 58 percent of Americans favor marijuana legalization. It’s the highest level of support Gallup has seen since it started asking the question back in 1969, and confirms a trend that the Pew Research Center noted back in April, when it found that 52 percent of Americans believe marijuana should be legalized. Both polls show that Americans have had an extraordinary change of heart about weed in a very short period of time; just three years ago, support for marijuana legalization was hovering around 40 percent.
As the Affordable Care Act creaks into gear—and the Obama administration sends its armies of tech elves into the back end of the Healthcare.gov website to deal with the glitches—newly insured women can, for the first time, begin to start thinking about what kind of birth control they want, rather than what they can afford. Under Obamacare, all forms of female contraception will be offered without a co-pay to insured women as part of a larger package of preventive care services. The logic behind the “contraception mandate” is so simple it’s hard to believe insurers didn’t come up with it themselves. If women can choose a form of birth control that works for them, without worrying about the cost, they’ll be less likely to get pregnant, saving insurance companies thousands of dollars in sonograms and prenatal vitamins.
When Senator Rand Paul took the stage at last weekend's Values Voter Summit, it was clear he needed to up the stakes. Alongside a handful of other 2016 presidential contenders, Paul was auditioning for the far-right’s support in a speech to the annual conference of Christian conservatives hosted by the Family Research Council at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. Making his task far more difficult was that fact that one of his rivals had just hit a home run.
As Terry McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli duked it out during the second debate of the Virginia governor’s race last month, Robert Sarvis was on the sidelines, ribbing both candidates on Twitter. Sarvis, who’s running for governor as a Libertarian, was polling at 7 percent, a surprisingly high number for a third party candidate in Virginia. He wasn’t invited to participate in the debate, and his irritation was plain. “Audience needs a shower after all that mudslinging,” he tweeted, adding, “Debate would’ve been more substantive with me on stage. That’s a sure thing. Next time, VA!”
Over the years, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has gotten plenty of flak for his public-health campaigns. Efforts to curb soda drinking, reduce teen pregnancy, and shrink daily caloric intake all fed into an image of Bloomberg as a nagging pest who used the weight of the city government to scare New Yorkers into submission. But in the last few months of his tenure, the Bloomberg administration is offering a more uplifting message. The latest campaign from the mayor’s office isn’t about frightening city residents into kicking a bad habit; targeted at preteen girls, it’s designed to thwart body-image problems before they begin.