Burn­ing through pot while Trump fid­dles to­ward war

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - CHICAGOLAN­D - Rex W. Hup­pke rhup­pke@chicagotri­bune. com

Amer­ica’s most-beloved Week in Re­view was on hia­tus over the hol­i­days. But it’s back, and I’m tasked with wip­ing the dust off the desk at What-the(BLEEP) head­quar­ters and wad­ing into the weekly news trough to sep­a­rate the good slop from the bad, ask­ing, as al­ways: “What the (BLEEP) just hap­pened?”

Illi­nois is fac­ing a pot short­age and I’m not mad, I’m dis­ap­pointed:

Recre­ational mar­i­juana has been le­gal in Illi­nois for less than two weeks and dis­pen­saries are al­ready run­ning out or run­ning low, lead­ing me to ask my fel­low Illi­noisans to please stop smok­ing all the pot.

Se­ri­ously. I haven’t even had a chance to try le­gal weed yet, and al­ready you dope-hogs are bog­a­rt­ing the doobage.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port by my col­league Ally Marotti, “Illi­nois mar­i­juana shops sold more than $10.8 mil­lion worth of recre­ational weed in the first five days of sales.”

That amounted to more than 271,000 pur­chases and some dis­pen­saries have al­ready had to stop sell­ing recre­ational prod­uct.

Slow it down, peo­ple. How high do you need to be?

Pot-cu­ri­ous peo­ple like me, won­der­ing if le­gal mar­i­juana tastes dif­fer­ent from the il­le­gal mar­i­juana we may or may not have tried in col­lege, should have a chance to leisurely get around to buy­ing some when­ever we get over the para­noia of do­ing some­thing that still feels like it should be il­le­gal.

Iran fires mis­siles, Trump bel­lows, two Repub­li­cans find a spine:

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ex­pla­na­tion for the U.S. mil­i­tary strike that killed one of Iran’s top com­man­ders has been on par with throw­ing a pot of spaghetti at the wall and hop­ing a noo­dle or two will stick.

There were claims it was based on ex­quis­ite in­tel­li­gence of an im­mi­nent threat, but the ad­min­is­tra­tion wouldn’t share that in­tel­li­gence, even with con­gres­sional law­mak­ers in a se­cure set­ting, lead­ing to an event as rare as a uni­corn sight­ing: a Repub­li­can crit­i­cal of Don­ald Trump.

Af­ter a briefing Wed­nes­day on jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the airstrike, Repub­li­can Sen. Mike Lee, of Utah, said it was “prob­a­bly the worst briefing I’ve seen, at least on a mil­i­tary is­sue, in the nine years I’ve served in the United States Se­nate.” He and Repub­li­can Sen. Rand Paul said they sup­port a res­o­lu­tion that would limit Trump’s abil­ity to take mil­i­tary ac­tion against Iran.

Care­ful guys, if you start sprout­ing spines, soon ev­ery Repub­li­can will want one.

In­sult-A-Colum­nist Hol­i­day Food Drive ends, Rex ap­par­ently rocks:

The Sec­ond-An­nual In­sult-AColum­nist Hol­i­day Food Drive, which ben­e­fits the Greater Chicago Food De­pos­i­tory, ended on Dec. 31, and the re­sults were awe­some.

You kind and gen­er­ous peo­ple ex­pressed your opin­ion of me, via a RexStinks or RexRocks team, and do­nated more than $100,000 to help peo­ple through­out Cook County fac­ing food in­se­cu­rity. That amounts to more than 300,000 meals, and it will help the food de­pos­i­tory sup­ply pantries and other pro­grams through­out the year.

For rea­sons I don’t fully un­der­stand, the RexRocks team won in dra­matic fash­ion. The fi­nal tally was RexRocks $57,076.03, RexStinks $35,136.25. My crip­pling in­se­cu­rity will strug­gle to ac­cept this out­come, but the mar­ket has spo­ken: I rock.

As promised, cer­tifi­cates for the top 20 donors from each team have been printed and are be­ing sent to the kind folks at the food de­pos­i­tory. They will mail the cer­tifi­cates out, and I’ll cover all ship­ping costs.

Also as promised, I’ll soon write a col­umn ex­tolling my amaz­ing­ness, and I’ll post a video of me do­ing a hor­ri­fy­ing cel­e­bra­tory dance out­side the Tri­bune of­fices. It will be ut­terly sick­en­ing.

In the mean­time, my sin­cere thanks to all who do­nated and spread the word.

Search war­rants is­sued in Smol­lett spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor in­ves­ti­ga­tion:

The baf­fling Jussie Smol­lett case took a step to­ward clar­ity — maybe? — as a Cook County judge or­dered Google to turn over the for­mer “Em­pire” ac­tor’s emails, pri­vate mes­sages and other data to the spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor in­ves­ti­gat­ing the case.

Per a Tri­bune re­port on two search war­rants is­sued: “The war­rants, filed last month in Cir­cuit Court, sought a trove of doc­u­men­ta­tion from Smol­lett and his man­ager’s Google ac­counts — not just emails but also drafted and deleted mes­sages; any files in their Google Drive cloud stor­age ser­vices; any Google Voice texts, calls and con­tacts; search and web brows­ing his­tory; and lo­ca­tion data.”

Po­lice be­lieve Smol­lett staged an at­tack on him­self. Smol­lett claims two Nige­rian brothers in­volved in the al­leged at­tack are ho­mo­pho­bic and lied to po­lice about the at­tack be­ing staged. And ques­tions abound as to why State’s At­tor­ney Kim Foxx’s of­fice dis­missed dis­or­derly con­duct charges shortly af­ter Smol­lett was in­dicted.

The new search war­rants, one would hope, will bring the truth closer to the light. Which would be nice, be­cause this whole thing has been murky from the start.

Royal fam­ily has open­ing for new mem­bers:

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shocked the world by an­nounc­ing they would “step back” from Bri­tain’s royal fam­ily and spend part of their time liv­ing in North Amer­ica, prompt­ing many to think: “If I’d known it was that easy to ‘step back’ from fam­ily, I would’ve done it years ago.”

It’s not clear where in North Amer­ica Markle, an ac­tress and North­west­ern Univer­sity grad­u­ate, and Harry, the youngest son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, will be spend­ing their time. And I don’t care.

What mat­ters is that the royal fam­ily con­sider me as a pos­si­ble re­place­ment for that un­grate­ful duo. Un­like them, I am per­fectly com­fort­able be­ing rich and not hav­ing to work, and I will dress up in what­ever silly out­fits are re­quired.

If any­one at Buck­ing­ham Palace needs to reach me, my email is at the bot­tom of this col­umn. God save the queen!

ZBIGNIEW BZDAK/CHICAGO TRI­BUNE

Mar­i­juana joints are made at Cresco Labs in Joliet in De­cem­ber.

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