Bill advances through California state legislature requiring law enforcement to get a warrant before conducting drone surveillance. The state's lower house passed the bill 59-5, meaning the bill has attracted actual bipartisan support; it still must clear the Senate (which might try to weaken the bill -- by, say, letting law enforcement hold onto data longer than six months) and be signed by Gov. Brown, whose photo accompanies the word "mercurial" in the dictionary.
David Dayen describes how the U.S. Post Office can "save itself": by providing banking services, as it did up until 1967. The move would make the Post Office money and keep tens of millions of good Americans who don't live near banks or can't afford bank fees away from check-cashing joints and payday lenders -- and President Obama might not even need Congressional approval to do it. Let Republicans squeal AMERICAN CAESAR!!!!! or SOSHULIZM!!!! at a man trying to help more people get basic financial services, that's what I say.
Mr. Obama states that Congress, not he, must reschedule marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act -- but the law actually says the Attorney General can do it. Mr. Obama should reschedule pot -- it certainly doesn't belong in Schedule I, nominally reserved for drugs with no medicinal use, while much worse drugs like coke and meth bask in the relative sun of Schedule II. Possibly Mr. Obama doesn't want to get impeached over it (see previous paragraph), which I insist is a pickle he wouldn't be in if he'd done more with his 70-seat House majority and 20-seat Senate majority during 2009 and 2010.
Right-wing law professor makes the case against early voting, and it's partly what you might expect (Election Day is a solemn affair), but it's also partly what you'd never expect -- a discussion of two science fiction writers who have written about the moment when "the nanocircuitry that will inevitably be in everyone’s head constantly polls everyone about every decision and aggregates the results." Setting aside whether or not we should use fiction as evidence of arguments ostensibly rooted in reality, I can think of a few neuroscientists who might not find such nanocircuitry "inevitable."
One good development coming out of the Farm Bill: negotiators stripped out a Steve King (E-IA) amendment which would have hamstrung state governments from regulating agricultural products made within those states but which can be sold in other states. You'd have thought Mr. King would support "states' rights" in this instance, but since he's not a real conservative, he supports whatever big agricultural corporations want, which is NO REGULASHUNZ EVAH!!!!!
Finally, Jim Hightower describes a local innovation in Wisconsin, where otherwise-unused cheese brine gets added to rock salt to prevent rock salt from running off into the water supply. You know why I love doing this? Because I get to learn that "(y)ou want to use provolone or mozzarella" to mix with rock salt, because of their own relatively high salt content.