The father of our country, George Washington, who is rumored to have said “I cannot tell a lie,” was a proud supporter of the hemp seed. Of course, the only thing more suppressed in this country than an honest politician is hemp, which is often mistakenly for marijuana and therefore unfairly maligned. Governmental roadblocks, meanwhile, prevent hemp from becoming the leader in extracting ethanol, allowing environmentally damaging sources like corn to take over the ethanol industry. Despite the fact that it requires fewer chemicals, less water and less processing to do the same job, hemp has never caught on. Experts also lay the blame at the feet of (who else?) Presidential candidates, who kiss up to Iowa corn growers for votes.
The news: A new book claims that potential presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was an “enthusiastic pot user,” according to a quote from a former law school classmate.
Clinton recently denied ever having tried weed in an interview while promoting her book, claiming, “I didn’t do it when I was young. I’m not going to start now.”
However, after being against decriminalization during her 2008 presidential bid and calling for more research into its medical benefits, this time around, Clinton has recently said, “I think for people who are in extreme medical conditions and who have anecdotal evidence that it works, there should be availability under appropriate circumstances.”
It’s a somewhat noncommittal kind of support, but it is worlds away from her previous opposition to decriminalizing.
With the status quo. If Clinton was an “enthusiastic pot user” in college, she’s not much different from nearly half of the population. According to a 2013 Pew Research poll, 48% of Americans have tried cannabis at some point. Clinton’s political views on the topic are also shifting with the national trend, with amajority of the country in favor of legalization. Her statements signal favorable leadership for the pro-legalization majority.
Insult turned to favor. The book making the claim, Clinton, Inc.: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine, is essentially a takedown of both Bill and Hillary Clinton’s political careers. Its timing suggests that it hopes to detract from Clinton’s anticipated 2016 presidential run. However, considering popular public support for marijuana legalization, accusations of pot use may simply make her seem more relatable. All in all, it could mean a higher IQ rating for Clinton and a better chance that we might have a cannabis-supportive president come 2016.
WHERE THE COUNTERCULTURE PREVAILS-PETER COYOTE
On October 10, 1941, Peter Coyote was born Rachmil Pinchus Ben Mosha Cohon in New York City to Ruth (Fidler) and Morris Cohon, an investment banker. His involvement with both politics and acting began in high school. At fourteen he was a campaign worker in the Adlai Stevenson presidential campaign in his home town of Englewood New Jersey. Two years later, he began actin classes at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York.
As a student at Grinnell College in Iowa, Peter was one of the organizers of a group of twelve students who went to Washington during the Cuban Missile crisis and fasted for three days, protesting the resumption of nuclear testing, and supporting President Kennedy’s “peace race”. President Kennedy invited the group into the White House (the first time protesters had ever been so recognized), and they met for several hours with MacGeorge Bundy. This meeting received national front-page media attention, and the Grinnell group xeroxed the coverage and sent it to every college in the United States, precipitating the first mass student demonstration of 25,000 in Washington, in February of 1962. At the end of his school term, Peter was elected President of the Council of House Presidents, the governing student body at his college.
After graduating from Grinnell College with a BA in English Literature in 1964, and despite having been accepted at the prestigious Writer’s Workshops in Iowa, Coyote moved to the West Coast to pursue a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University. After a short apprenticeship at the San Francisco Actor’s Workshop, he joined the San Francisco Mime Troupe, a radical political street theater which had recently been arrested for performing in the City’s parks without permits.
In the Mime Troupe, he was soon acting, writing and directing. He directed the first cross-country to tour of “The Minstrel Show, Civil Rights in a Cracker Barrel,” a highly controversial piece closed by the authorities in several cities. The cast was arrested several times before a tour of eastern colleges and universities, ending triumphantly in New York City, where they were invited and sponsored by comedian Dick Gregory. The following year, a play, “Olive Pits,” that Peter co-wrote, directed and performed in, won a Special OBIE from New York’s Village Voice newspaper.
From 1967 to 1975, Peter took off to “do the Sixties” where he became a prominent member of the San Francisco counter-culture community and founding member of the Diggers, an anarchistic group who supplied free food, free housing and free medical aid to the hordes of runaways who appeared during the Summer of Love. The Diggers evolved into a group known as the Free Family which established chains of communes around the Pacific Northwest and Southwest. Many of the stories of that period are included in his memoir called “Sleeping Where I Fall” published by Counterpoint Press in April of 1998. One of the stories incorporated into his book is “Carla’s Story,” which was awarded the 1993-1994 Pushcart Prize, a national prize for excellence in writing, published by a non-commercial literary magazine.
From 1975 to1983 Peter was a member of the California State Arts Council, the State agency which determines art policy. After his first year, he was elected Chairman by his peers three years in a row, and during his tenure as Chairman, the Council’s overhead expenses dropped from 50% to 15%, the lowest in the State, and the Arts Council budget rose from one-to-fourteen million dollars annually. It has never been higher since.
These political victories, among others, fostered Peter’s decision to re-enter acting. In 1978, he began to work at San Francisco’s award-winning Magic Theater doing plays continuously “to shake out the rust” and get his unused skills back in working order. While playing the lead in the World Premiere of Sam Shepard’s “True West,” he was spotted by a Hollywood agent who asked to represent him. Seventy plus films later, Peter is still acting.
Beginning in the early ’80s, Peter began doing voice-overs, which has led to a very successful side venture, now numbering over 120 films. His mellow voice, often compared to Henry Fonda’s, is a gift that won him an Emmy in 1992 for his narration of the “The Meiji Revolution” episode, part of the PBS American Experience ten-part series called “The Pacific Century.” He continues to lend his rich voice to narrations for commercials and documentaries and often donates his voice to films that support issues close to his heart.
Peter makes his home in Marin County in Northern California since the early ’70s. An avid outdoorsman, he is also a passionate songwriter, guitarist and amateur photographer. He has two grown children and has been married to Stefanie Pleet since 2000.
COYOTE ON THE BEATS 2013
My father, Charles F. Palmer, a law school classmate of Bill Clinton, took the photo.
I have a photo of the same exact place and time, with Bill and Hillary in same clothes, but with my mother in the photo. Bill had given them a ride to the train station. Just uploaded it to my twitter feed: @oatespalmer.
My mother and father came to Yale in the fall of 1970, having dated and lived together in Berkeley and in Washington DC. My father was in Bill Clinton’s law class, the class of 1973. (Bob Reich, the future Secretary of Labor, was also in their year.) My mother, Marylouise Oates, received her Masters of Divinity from Yale around the same time. Hillary Rodham was in the Yale law class of 1972, even though she was younger than both Bill Clinton and my father – she went straight to Yale after she graduated from Wellesley.
Shortly after Bill Clinton was elected President, my mother found this photograph (below) in a photo album somewhere and gave me a copy. When Hillary Clinton wrote her memoir, Living History, I saw that the photograph of just her and Bill from Yale was on the back cover — and was credited only to “courtesy of author’s private collection” or something like that. I recognized it as likely being taken around the same time as the photo with my mom, and thought it could have been taken by my dad, too, but didn’t really explore it.
Probably about a year ago, people were posting the “just Bill and Hillary” Yale photo on Facebook, and I looked closely at the two photos side by side and saw that they were clearly taken at the same time and the same place — same building behind them, and Bill Clinton in virtually the exact same pose. I posted the two photographs on my Facebook page.
A few months later — just the other day — a friend who is friends with a Quora staffer sent me the link to this question. I have always wanted to see my dad, now a Superior Court Judge here in Los Angeles, given credit for taking this iconic photograph of the two Clintons.
I have the photo of the Clintons and my mom framed in my house. When I show someone the photo, I like to let them figure out who is in the picture. They inevitably have one of two responses: “HOLY $#&$ LOOK AT BILL CLINTON’S HAIR” or they ignore the Clintons completely — not recognizing them — and instead say, “Check out the boots your mom is rocking!”
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