Anti-Seizure Precautions

May 9, 2010

by Charles Platt

Recently I was talking to a criminal attorney who handles a lot of drug cases. I asked him this question:

In the state of Arizona, how much cash can I carry without worrying that the police may take it away from me?

I often drive on Interstate 40, which is regarded as a “drug running corridor.” Anyone who is pulled over for speeding may have his car inspected for residues by a drug-sniffing dog, and if the dog has a cold that day, or just happens to be in a bad mood and feels like barking for no reason in particular, you have a problem, regardless of whether there are actually any drugs in your car.

This indeed was the fate of a single male driver who, according to a local newspaper, failed the dog test near Flagstaff earlier this year. A thorough search revealed no drugs on his person or in his vehicle, but he was carrying around $100,000 in cash. Since this was considered a “suspicious sum,” it was taken from him by the police under the laws of civil forfeiture. He was then free to proceed on his way, without being charged with any crime.

Clearly, I should not carry $100,000 in cash. But how much can I carry? How about $5,000? This is not a hypothetical question, because if, say, I want to buy a second-hand car from a private seller on eBay, and the car is in another state, I might certainly want to carry $5,000 with me.

My attorney had to think about this for a moment. “Well, I think $5,000 is probably okay,” he said finally. But he didn’t sound entirely confident about it.

This of course is by no means the worst fallout from the War on Drugs. The huge prison population of nonviolent offenders is a much bigger source of concern to me. Still, I did find it sobering that I have to think twice before carrying more than $5,000–not because I’m afraid of being robbed by a criminal, but because I’m afraid of being robbed by the police.

I note that the Institute for Justice is doing its best to draw attention to civil forfeiture laws, and may deserve our support.


Mom and Masturbation

May 9, 2010

 By Tatiana von Tauber

Mom and masturbation. Now those two words that don’t work for me together only that I’m a mom and I – well, you know, make time for myself.  Here’s a fun little article from the Onion about moms and the lacking time they have to do what seems rather easy in the shower for men.  Self-attention is one reason I choose to work part-time.  If there’s no self-lovin’ for mom don’t think things will get taken care of by dad alone.

Happy Mother’s Day and dads, take the kids out of the house.  Really.  It’s what moms want.


Drunk Driving: A Victimless Crime

April 12, 2010

by Charles Platt

I wonder if anyone else agrees that drunk driving is a victimless crime. A conviction merely affirms that a person was more likely than average to hit someone or something. Well, all kinds of people are more likely to do that, such as the elderly, or people who simply don’t have an aptitude for driving.

State laws used to recognize this, more or less, by allowing police to make a judgment call about impairment, based on their observations. But that wasn’t good enough for Candy Lightner, whose daughter had been killed by a drunk driver. In the wearying tradition of family members who want to make the death of a loved one seem more meaningful by inconveniencing everybody else, Lightner started Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The name of this brilliant campaign guaranteed its success. Who could possibly disagree with Mothers (that most sacred category of human being) who wanted to protect their children from alcohol-crazed hit-and-run maniacs? Alas, it ended up criminalizing the people whom it was supposed to protect.

Young people themselves are the most likely to drink and drive. So, MADD’s answer was to stop them from drinking–even including the ones who didn’t own cars and didn’t have driver licenses. Of course the federal government lacked constitutional authority to enforce this, so it simply threatened to take away a percentage of highway finds if the states didn’t capitulate. Such coercion would be familiar to any mafia boss: “Nice little highway you have here. Be a shame if something happened to it. Maybe you should think about raising the legal drinking age to 21.” Thus young people who had been 18, 19, or 20 at the time suddenly had to stop drinking, or become criminals. Once they were 21 they could start drinking again.

Does anyone imagine that this actually worked? I have never yet met any teenagers who aren’t able to obtain alcohol if they want to. College presidents are aware of this, which may have been why more than 100 of them got together in 2008 and demanded that the legal drinking age be lowered. No doubt they were weary of trying to enforce a prohibition that is unenforceable. Of course, their plea was ignored.

Candy Lightner subsequently quit from MADD. Her demands for salary increases had been rejected, which may or may not have been a factor. In 1994 she became a spokesperson for the American Beverage Institute, a lobbying group which represents some liquor companies. She argued against a further tightening of the law regarding illegal levels of blood alcohol, stating that MADD had become “neo-prohibitionist.” Apparently even she realized that the juggernaut that she created had gotten out of hand.

Too late, Candy. Young people lost some more of their dwindling rights, and police departments gained a great new tool for raising revenue. Lives have been disrupted in the process, since people convicted of DUIs lose their licenses in many states, and this can be catastrophic for someone who lives alone in a rural area. Meanwhile, millions of teenagers have gained criminal convictions as a result of doing something that is legal for the majority of the population.

All this in the cause of preventing a crime that might happen.
__

References:
http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19940115&slug=1889810
http://www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/Candy-Lightner
http://www.youthrights.org/positionpapers.php#drinkingage


Hope and change in the face of rejection

April 1, 2010

By J. DeVoy

Not an April Fool’s joke — just a good, if trite, op-ed from Susan Estrich, with whom I normally disagree.  From law school and college students facing graduation just weeks away to applicants who are realizing for the first time that their best isn’t good enough, there’s something for everyone.

I know that no one gets all Aces, that life is rarely a straight flush, beginning to end, and that what matters most is not the cards you are dealt but how you play them. A charmed childhood is no guarantee of a charmed life, and learning to deal with rejection is one of those bitter pills we all have to swallow sooner or later.

I know that after a certain point, no one asks you where you went to school; they ask what you have done since. It is not enough to accept what is. The challenge of life is to do more than that, to adapt, to turn it into something better and to not waste too much time and energy bemoaning what isn’t.


New fertility treatment

February 4, 2010

Step 1: Give blowjob
Step 2: Swallow
Step 3: Get stabbed
Step 4: Profit!

I am not sure if DHAPNG can result in pregnancy. But, if a woman with no vagina gives head, swallows, and then gets stabbed… it seems like she can get pregnant from that. Well, according to doctors in Lesotho, it is possible.

I dunno… sounds like a hoax to me.


Babies

December 31, 2009

To offset my usual cynicism and snark, here’s a movie trailer for a flick that actually looks like it might be worth $10 to see — and if you don’t smile after watching the clip, then you’re not human. Here’s to the hope that, no matter who you are, that when 2010 is over, you are happier, smarter, and more compassionate than you are today.


Rest in Slack, Brother

December 30, 2009

In honor of Cliff Heller, who merged with the infinite on this day in 2006, the Legal Satyricon flag is lowered to half mast and there will be no posts today. If you happen to find yourself with a bottle of tequila nearby, I would like to invite you to take a shot (no salt) in his honor.

Blue Skies and Rest in Slack

Blue Skies and Rest in Slack

My shrine to Cliff at my house

...


Contemplating the overpopulated world’s doom: An underrated source of Christmas cheer

December 22, 2009

By J. DeVoy

Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, whatever you celebrate, they all make this time of the year profoundly unpleasant.  Those who travel witness the worst of humanity, including people who use black garbage bags as carry-on luggage despite apparently being able to afford airfare.  Then there’s shopping.  And, for students with exams, there’s shopping that must be done during the final five-day rush before the holidays, or even in their midst.

The worst part of the season, however, is the people.  Holiday shopping draws everyone out from under the rocks of their hipster covens, gated communities, gentrifying neighborhoods and bucolic suburbs, and shoves them into one mall.   The shopping experience becomes  a melting pot of class resentment, as history tells us time and again that proximity + diversity = war.

My internal reaction to this validates the equation:

First, I’m not at all surprised to see smug environmentalist self-promotion on a Subaru station wagon.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen that bumper sticker on another car (and in fact might come with that model).  Second, note the italicization of “is.”  I wasn’t aware that there was a controversy about environmental protection being a family value, but thank you for clearing that up for me.  I hope there are other unasked questions that can be answered so conclusively with slanted capital letters.  Finally, what’s with the dings on the back bumper?  Don’t tell me that refusing to look back when driving in reverse is a family value, too.

The driver seems to have confused environmental protection and conservation.  Conservation can relate to conserving money as well as the environment.  It occurs in many forms, such as turning the lights off when leaving a room and taking quick showers, or larger displays like controlled burns of forests at risk of burning down, clearing flammable underbrush, or controlling too-large wildlife populations.

In contrast, environmental protection is anti-family and precludes human growth.  Real environmentalists, the people who have actually thought about the issue, understand that human overpopulation is the source of many environmental problems.  The effects of global warming, whether anthropologic or natural, would be minimized if the human population hadn’t swollen by around 5 billion people within 250 years.  The consequences of ecosystem death, such as colony collapse disorder and massive phytoplankton die-off, would be less significant if 6 billion people’s lives weren’t hanging in the balance.

Worse, this burgeoning population may be exacerbating their own problems.  The debate over anthropological global warming is well documented and does not need to be addressed here in thorough detail.  Some other crises, such as peak oil, have been caused solely by human consumption.  Cow flatulence, a commonly cited source of emissions, would be a non-issue but for human mass production of these animals for consumption of dairy and meat products.

So no, environmental protection is not a family value.  It doesn’t even pass the euphemism test, such as “family planning,” which involves abortion and contraceptives.  The best source of environmental protection is not having children, ensuring reduced competition for fundamentally limited resources.  The kind of people who have bumper stickers like the one discussed here don’t actually care about the environment – just their appearances.  Instead of increasing awareness of overpopulation, they narcissistically drink water from steel canteens, clucking their tongues and stroking their thin hipster beards while parroting Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, trying to sound stoic.  This guy isn’t even in the cool kids’ club of Prius and hybrid owners.  Finally, these are the kinds of unthinking, uncritical nitwits who can’t see the irreconcilability of environmentalism with their view that humans should have the unlimited right to reproduce at will, and impinging on that “right” would be unthinkable.

Except that eugenics is quite “thinkable” and something done in the United States until the 1970s!  David Plotz’s The Genius Factory provides a good overview of eugenics in the America, which lost support after World War II and the practice’s inevitable association with Josef Mengele.  While never targeted at the problem of overpopulation, these policies at least promoted a less idiocratic society by preempting the reproduction of the most criminal and least productive.  This in turn would regulate the population, as high IQ people have fewer children.

Some legal codes exist specifically to address the problems of overpopulation.  China’s one-child policy is famous for pursuing that goal, but arose to limit the state’s liabilities in providing for its citizens, rather than any specific concern over environmental issues.  India, another nation with more than one billion inhabitants, has taken measures to limit its population due to similar concerns.  As fertility decreases within the nation, the first signs of this plan’s success are becoming clear.  Despite not having a strict one-child policy, India’s 11th five-year plan emphasizes the importance of offering condoms, contraceptives and sterilization to women and men.

But in America, the world’s largest economy, no similar provisions exist.  Beyond the environmental effects, overpopulation leads to increased competition for housing and food, both of which saw dramatically increased prices over the last decade, whether warranted by the market or not.  Bringing it back to Christmas, overpopulation leads to intensified demand for products within a limited time frame, increasing the distortion that holiday shopping has on the business cycle.  Without such tremendous demand, there wouldn’t be a need for retailers to center their entire year around holiday shopping and spend almost a full quarter operating at a loss.  This is to say nothing of the environmentally harmful and largely frivolous consumption that’s part and parcel of the season, from lights to wrapping paper to packaging.  Each new member of the consumption orgy only worsens its impact, no matter how conscientious he or she tries to be in using natural resources.

So go forth and spread the word, sons and daughters of the law.  Drink and be merry.  And if someone asks you what you’re doing to save the environment this holiday season, ask them why they have a kid.


Here We Go Again!

December 20, 2009

Wooohoo! Due August 8.


The Fort

December 18, 2009

Gloucester will always be home.


Eat Your Dog

October 26, 2009

Looks like one of the least eco-friendly things you can do is … have a dog.

Of course, SUV hating hippies all have dogs. So, what’s a hippie to do?


Was a Contract Formed?

October 7, 2009

Marc in tights?

Marc in tights?

Jennifer suggests a cute idea for Halloween. Natalia will go as Tinkerbell. Jennifer will be Wendy. I should be Peter Pan. This is appropriate for many reasons.

I laugh and say “yes, that sounds adorable.”

Then, I see Jennifer with a grin that seems just a tad over-sized.

God damn it! You are gonna make me wear green tights, aren’t you? No deal,” I said.

Two lawyers in the car say “nope, you made a contract. We are witnesses to it. You can’t back out.”

I’m not seeing how there could have been detrimental reliance on my gratuitous promise to perform — especially since the span between the acceptance and the repudiation was only about 30 seconds.

I need a good lawyer.


Using “Pornography” For The Purpose of Personal Retribution and Political Oppression

August 7, 2009

zambia

By: Zac Papantoniou

For most people, the hurried rush of their everyday lives allows them to bustle about their routine, often taking for granted the protections afforded to them by our country’s Constitution. In the good ol’ U-S-of-A, most people wouldn’t think twice about criticizing the government; because here, in the land of freedom and opportunity, there really aren’t any repercussions to be faced when we express our point-of-view with regard to the way things are being run. This type of willful blindness allows us to forget that people in other parts of the world are being tried as criminals for simply trying to raise awareness on a matter that is crippling their country’s healthcare system.

In Zambia, a ban on pornography is apparently being used for the purpose of personal retribution and political oppression, where Chansa Kabwela (the news editor of the country’s largest independent newspaper, “The Post”) has been arrested and put on trial for “distributing obscene images.”

Kabwela, in an attempt to call for an end to a nurses’ strike that has crippled Zambia’s healthcare system, sent two photos to the country’s vice-president, its health minister, and various human rights groups. The two photos were of a woman, who had earlier been turned away from two medical clinics, giving birth without medical help. The “obscene images” contained in the photos were of the woman’s baby in the breech position, with its shoulders, legs and arms emerging from the woman’s vagina, but with the head still inside. By the time the woman was finally admitted to a hospital, it was too late for their surgeons to save the child, which died of suffocation.

Kabwela, who states she was given the photos by the woman’s relatives, sent the photos to the aforementioned government officials. Within a short matter of time, Zambia’s President Rupiah Banda demanded a police investigation, calling the pictures “pornographic.” Quickly thereafter, Kabwela was arrested for “distributing obscene material with intent to corrupt public morals,” a charge that carries a possible five-year prison term.

However, multiple organizations are claiming that the trial is likely not about the photographs at all. According to a “BBC News” story, the independent newspaper that Kabwela works for, “has relentlessly pursued the government with allegations of corruption, and the president has made no secret of his dislike of the paper.”

After reading this story, I stopped for a moment and took note of all the freedoms I have nonchalantly taken for granted on daily basis; freedoms, that I generally don’t think twice about, like expressing my opinion about the government without fear of criminal charges being brought against me, and being able to look at porn if I should so choose (though I can’t ever recall an instance where I looked at images of a woman in need of serious medical attention, due to a breeching infant, and considered those images “titillating,” “pornographic,” or “obscene” . . . usually I see those images on “Lifetime” when I’m trying to eat dinner, which I subsequently lose my appetite for, which leads me to quietly remind myself never to flip past that channel at 7 pm again . . . EVER).

H/T to Mark Kernes at Adult Video News


R.I.S. – Marilyn Chambers Dead at 56

April 13, 2009

Adult film actress Marilyn Chambers is dead at age 56. (source)


Gloucester Til The End

April 13, 2009

A video about my hometown by two guys from back home, Earl Foote & Archie MacLeod.

If you happen to be a member of the Gloucester Diaspora, be careful. You may put your house up for sale after watching.