James P. Gray has been a trial judge in Orange County, California since 1983 and was the 2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President. He discussed many of the issues ignored by mainstream politicians including drug legalization, education reform, a flat tax system, unnecessary wars, and losses of freedoms and privacy. The tide is turning on the prohibition of marijuana, which he sees dissolving country-wide by the end of 2016. "And then, we will all look back with aghast, saying 'how could we have continued such a failed program for so long?'," he remarked. With the current laws, it's actually easier for kids to get their hands on pot than it is alcohol, because no ID is required, he noted.
Taking Holland for example, where they have decriminalized marijuana and other drugs, they only have half the consumption of pot per capita than the US, he cited. "Drug prohibition is the biggest failed policy in the history of the United States of America, second only to slavery" and adversely affects health, education, crime, and the environment, Gray continued. An advocate for abolishing the tax code, he argued for replacing it with a flat tax, which would give citizens a big rebate, stimulate the economy, and bring more manufacturing and jobs back to the US.
Additionally, Judge Gray believes privacy needs to be more highly valued and the Patriot Act repealed, parents should get to choose where education funding is spent, and health care procedures should be based on competitive pricing. He also spoke in favor of immigration reform, and term limits, and against America's military "adventurism" in various foreign countries.
SETI's Congressional Testimony
First hour guest, SETI astronomer Seth Shostak talked about SETI's presentation before Congress on the possibilities of ET life. Shostak and his colleague Dan Werthimer from UC-Berkeley testified before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, talking about both the radio and optical aspects of SETI's program, and how the number of planets found by telescopes such as the Kepler have greatly increased the odds for life out there. While they were not directly asking for funding (SETI is currently privately funded), Shostak said he suggested to the Committee that SETI's efforts were integrally tied in with NASA's programs.