Ignorance of the law

It has been said that ignorance of the law is no defense.  If you break the law, you can be prosecuted even if you didn’t know what you did was illegal.  The concept itself makes sense.  After all, how are you supposed to prosecute people if the first thing they say is “I didn’t know it was illegal” and walk away free and clear, only to break another law?  However, there’s a problem with this line of thinking.

Between federal, state, and local governments, there are hundreds of thousands of laws governing our behavior at any given moment.  Some, like murder, are universal wrongs that no one thinks should be legal.  Others are well publicized but relatively minor, like seat belt laws.  Others are more obscure.

In Oklahoma, you can be jailed for making ugly faces at your dog.  In Compton, California, it’s against the law to dance cheek to cheek.  In Florida, you can be fined for falling asleep under a hair drier.  That’s some pretty stupid stuff, but Oklahoma?  Florida?  Obviously, California?  They’re a little off in most of those places, right?

Not so fast.  For example, it’s illegal to use profanity in front of a corps here in the Peach State.  We’re also not allowed to carry an ice cream cone in our back pockets on Sunday.  If you slap a man on the back, you’re a criminal.  See?  We’re not immune to some of this.

Democrats already casting blame for mid-terms

The mid-terms aren’t even over yet and Democrats are already blaming their impending defeat on outside groups spending money against them:

With Election Day still a week away, Democrats are previewing what promises to be a main line of argument if Republicans make strong gains in Congress: Conservatives bought their way to power with a flood of spending by outside groups.

These post-mortems, made before the patient is actually dead, have slipped into public statements from top Democrats in recent days. And the argument is being made even more strongly in not-for-attribution comments to reporters from party operatives: A tough-but-manageable political climate turned much more lethal with the infusion of tens of millions of dollars from anonymous donors funding ads for right-leaning independent groups.

The denunciations of outside money by President Barack Obama and others began as a tool to rally the Democratic base before the Nov. 2 election. But in recent days it has morphed gradually into something else: A main talking point to explain—and fend off the recriminations over—what many Washington Democrats assume will be a brutal election night.
Vice President Joe Biden sounded the first notes of the coming it-was-the-money message last week in an interview with Bloomberg’s Al Hunt.

“We will keep control of the Senate for certain, and I believe we’ll keep control of the House,” Biden said before adding that he had been “amazed” at the cash pro-Republican third-party outfits are dropping in campaigns.

“I’ve never seen this before, so the only caveat I’d put in terms of the House is how much impact this $200 billion are going to mean,” he hedged.

CA Senate: Hollywood director picks at Barbara Boxer

David Zucker, a movie director and producer, is having some fun at Barbara Boxer’s expense. You may remember her telling a Brigadier General during a hearing to call her “Senator” and not “ma’am” because she “worked so hard to get that title. “The video is pretty funny, and includes a cameo by Clint Howard.

Boxer is still ahead in recent polls, though by single-digits, over Carly Fiorina. The race is listed as a “Toss-Up” by Real Clear Politics.

Republican Congressman: GOP Is Getting A Second Chance, But We Don’t Deserve It

California Republican Tom McClintock isn’t among those who believes that his party has learned their lesson yet:

Speaking at an event last week in Orange County, CA, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) said he expected big gains for his party at this year’s election, but said he worried that Republicans would squander the victory, as they had in the past, by nominating a slew of “bad candidates” and having a lackluster commitment to conservative principles:

The American people are about to give Republicans a second chance that we know we don’t deserve, that we haven’t earned. … The American people have every right, and every reason, to blame a Republican president and a Republican Congress for the mess that confronted the Obama administration on January 20, 2009 — let us be honest be about this.


McClintock — a tea party favorite with a strong libertarian streak — had particularly hash words for his party’s nominee for governor, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman. Asked about Whitman following his remarks, McClintock suggested she is not loyal to the “principles of the American Founders,” and said he agrees with her Democratic opponent Jerry Brown as much as he agrees with Whitman:

Regardless of Proposition 19 outcome, Obama Administration will prosecute marijuana users

Despite California exercising its Tenth Amendment right, the Department of Justice will prosecute marijuana users even if Proposition 19, which has been endorsed by 65 law professors from across the political spectrum, passes on November 2nd:

Attorney General Eric Holder vowed to continue enforcing federal laws against marijuana in California even if the state’s voters legalize the drug.

Holder, in a letter to former administrators of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), officially stated opposition to Proposition 19, the state ballot initiative on which Californians will vote that would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana.

“We will vigorously enforce the [Controlled Substances Act] against those individuals and organizations that possess, manufacture or distribute marijuana for recreational use, even if such activities are permitted under state law,” Holder wrote in the letter, which was reported on by The Associated Press.

A year ago, it looked like an administration was finally beginning to scale back the War on Drugs, which has been a costly failure, as the Department of Justice decided not to prosecute individuals using marijuana for medicinal purposes.

As has been with administrations past, the Tenth Amendment be damned and the laws of the federal government, no matter how fruitless they are, will be enforced.

There’s feminism and then there’s real feminism

I’m a guy. However, I was raised by a woman who taught me that women can be beautiful and sexy while still being capable and strong. I was raised to believe that women can accomplish anything and that a person’s plumbing should be irrelevant except for my own personal matters of sexual attraction. I believe that to this day. However, I find it hard to believe that the so-called feminist movement can’t seem to back up their own talk.

In California, The National Organization of Women has endorsed gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown just days after he called opponent Meg Whitman a “whore”. This is an organization that’s supposed to oppose demeaning women, and yet a female candidate is called such a thing and they endorse the very man who said this? What. The. Hell? [Edit: Brown only said he would use the comment when someone else said it initially.  Not a lot better, is it?  Of course I should have done better on the research.  No argument on that.]

Lori Ziganto, who runs the blog Snark & Boobs, writes:

Gary Johnson On California’s Marijuana Legalization Initiative

Ninth Circuit stays same-sex marriage in California

Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision to allow same-sex marriages to resume in California:

The decision, issued by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, trumps a lower court judge’s order that would have allowed county clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Wednesday.

Lawyers for the two gay couples that challenged the ban said Monday they would not appeal the panel’s decision on the stay to the Supreme Court.

In its two-page order granting the stay, the 9th Circuit agreed to expedite its consideration of the Proposition 8 case. The court plans to hear the case during the week of Dec. 6 after moving up deadlines for both sides to file their written arguments by Nov. 1.

“We are very gratified that the 9th Circuit has recognized the importance and the pressing nature of this case by issuing this extremely expedited briefing schedule,” said Ted Boutrous, a member of the plaintiffs’ legal team.

Though a stay was issued by the appellate court, this isn’t all good news for supporters of Proposition 8 as the order reads:

In addition to any issues appellants wish to raise on appeal, appellants are directed to include in their opening brief a discussion of why this appeal should not be dismissed for lack of Article III standing.

CA Senate: Boxer trails Fiorina

A new poll out of California, conducted by Survey USA, shows Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) trailing Carly Fiorina (R) by 5 points:

The CBS 5 poll, conducted by the research firm SurveyUSA, showed Fiorina edging Boxer 47 percent to 42 percent, compared to a CBS 5 poll one month ago showing Fiorina over Boxer 47 to 45 percent.

The poll results indicated Fiorina’s support was essentially unchanged among men and women, young and old, white and Hispanic while Boxer had lost small ground among men, younger voters, and independents.

The poll also showed Fiorina tripling her lead in the Central Valley, from seven points one month ago to 21 points in this latest poll.

Eleven percent are undecided. Fiorina leads Boxer among independent voters, 49% to 32%, and leads in three of the four regions of the state, the Bay Area is where she trails.

You can read the crosstabs here.

I have to tell you, I’m shocked to read this, but it a Republican can win Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat, then a Republican can beat Barbara Boxer. Voters are that angry.

Glenn Beck on gay marriage

On Wednesday, Glenn Beck appeared on The O’Reilly Factor and the topic of gay marriage came up. O’Reilly pressed Beck on the subject, asking why he hadn’t covered the topic on his show. Beck replied, “Because honestly I think we have bigger fish to fry.”

O’Reilly, obviously opposing gay marriage, tried to sway him, Beck eventually said, “I believe what Thomas Jefferson said. If it neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket, what difference is it to me?”

I know Beck has been letting this libertarian side of him show more. I have to say that I’m impressed at the reasoned approach.

The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.