The Buzz

The facts, faces and hum of local politics with Steve Kraske and Dave Helling

BuzzChatter Wednesday: Kennedy challenges Obama on the dangers of marijuana

01/21/2014 5:41 PM

01/21/2014 5:41 PM

Today’s hot quotes:

• “He is wrong when he says that it isn’t very harmful, because the new marijuana is not the old marijuana.” — former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy, a Democrat, rebutting President Obama’s recent comment that pot is not worse than alcohol.

Given Kennedy’s past struggles with illegal drugs, he makes for an interesting counterpoint to Obama, who Kennedy endorsed in 2008. Now we have the makings of a full-fledged Democratic debate on this issue. The son of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy is chair of the advocacy group Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

• “If we could unite our party and win the Senate, I believe we could repeal and replace this terrible law.” — Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, a Republican, speaking about Obamacare at a Douglas County GOP event on Monday.

Roberts and his GOP primary opponent, Milton Wolf, took turns blasting the health care law during the event. Wolf also repeated his criticism of Roberts for voting to confirm former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of Health and Human Services. Whether the Senate, even in Republican hands in 2015, would actually vote to end Obamacare and take away an entitlement remains to be seen. The program will be well established by then.

• “We did not violate the law.” — former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell

following his federal indictment

for accepting illegal gifts. His wife also was indicted.

Federal authorities charge that the McDonnells accepted more than $140,000 in gifts from the chief executive of a troubled nutritional supplement company in exchange for the first couple’s promotion of the company. The gifts included designer clothes, a Rolex watch, golf clubs, iPhones and a painting. Whether the McDonnells are found guilty or not, the lesson here is that gifts and public officials don’t mix. That’s one more reason why Missouri should ban them. Under currrent law, politicians in the state can accept unlimited gifts.

• “Our industry is growing. There is a lot of interest in winemaking in Kansas.” — Bob DesRuisseaux, owner of Prairie Fire Winery in Paxico, on the burgeoning wine industry in the Sunflower State.

Doug Frost, the master of wine and master sommelier who lives in Kansas City, has been touting Kansas vino for years. DesRuisseaux was speaking at the 28th annual Kansas Grape Growers and Winemakers Association conference last weekend attended by about 150. Though nowhere near California, the Kansas industry has found a nice niche for itself.

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