ESSENTIAL #1: “LEGAL MARIJUANA MADE BIG PROMISES ON RACIAL EQUITY—AND FELL SHORT” JANELL ROSS, NBC NEWS
From the article: “While marijuana arrests have declined and tax revenue has begun to flow in most states that have legalized pot, the gains have accrued most heavily to white residents, even though black Americans paid the drug war’s biggest costs, according to a statistical analysis conducted by the Drug Policy Alliance, a nonprofit group that advocates drug policy reform.
The results in Colorado, the District of Columbia and the nine other states where recreational marijuana became legal from 2012 to 2018 have left some lawmakers and even marijuana legalization advocates skeptical of broad social-justice claims. For that reason, lawmakers in New Jersey and New York — two of the three states expected to legalize marijuana in 2019 — are now pushing for detailed criminal justiceand business equity measures as part of any legalization package.”
ESSENTIAL #2: “ELIZABETH WARREN MAKES BIG MOVE TOWARD PRESIDENTIAL RUN” ELANA SCHOR, ASSOCIATED PRESS
From the article: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Monday took the first major step toward launching a widely anticipated campaign for the presidency, hoping her reputation as a populist fighter can help her navigate a Democratic field that could include nearly two dozen candidates.
‘No matter what our differences, most of us want the same thing,” the 69-year-old Massachusetts Democrat said in a video that highlights her family’s history in Oklahoma. “To be able to work hard, play by the same set of rules and take care of the people we love. That’s what I’m fighting for and that’s why today I’m launching an exploratory committee for president.’”
ESSENTIAL #3: “‘THE BATTLE TO OWN ‘THE CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE OF OUR TIME’” NOAH ROTHMAN, COMMENTARY MAGAZINE
From the article: “Insofar as they relate to individual and collective equality before the law, all these issues are civil-rights issues. But the advocates and political actors who invoke the civil-rights Movement in these cases are not merely seeking a place for their concerns in the pantheon of equally legitimate struggles for constitutional freedoms. They are laying claim to the one true struggle for equalitarian liberty at the expense of all others. That is the pursuit of advantage, not awareness. Theirs is an effort to secure political superiority, and that surely cheapens not just the cause for which they are advocating but the legacy of the civil-rights movement.”
ESSENTIAL #4: “JOHN F. KELLY SAYS HIS TENURE AS TRUMP’S CHIEF OF STAFF IS BEST MEASURED BY WHAT THE PRESIDENT DID NOT DO” MOLLY O’TOOLE, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES
From the article: “The retired four-star Marine general will leave the administration on Wednesday.First as Homeland Security chief and then in 18 months at the White House, he presided over some of the Trump administration’s most controversial immigration and security policies.
In the phone interview Friday, Kelly defended his rocky tenure, arguing that it is best measured by what the president did not do when Kelly was at his side.
It was only after Kelly’s departure was confirmed Dec. 8, for example, that Trump abruptly announced the pullout of all U.S. troops from Syria and half the 14,000 troops from Afghanistan, two moves that Kelly had opposed.”