The Next Regulation? Your Tweets

Out in California, the Fair Political Practices Commission is looking at regulating new platforms for political speech, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, even text messaging:

It’s become necessary as politicians in California and elsewhere announce their candidacies and major campaign policies through Twitter, YouTube and a host of social networking sites, said FPPC Chairman Dan Schnur.

He said California’s 36-year-old Political Reform Act needs rewriting to keep up with the times.

“Our goal here is to meet the new challenges of 21st Century technology,” Schnur said. “There’s no way that the authors of the act could have anticipated that these of types of communicating a campaign message would ever exist.”

Over at the Institute for Justice, Paul Sherman writes:

To paraphrase Chief Justice John Roberts, this is why we don’t leave our free speech rights in the hands of FPPC bureaucrats.  To bureaucrats like those at the FPPC, the Federal Election Commission or their analogues, there seems to be no need to show any evidence that Twitter, Facebook or text messages actually pose any threat to the public.  It is enough that they these new forms of low-cost media aren’t currently regulated, but could be.  Their primary concern, apparently, is that the regulation of political speech be as comprehensive as possible.

Coming Soon: The Marijuana Industrial Complex

Great analysis on the politics of pot from the Atlantic:

Marijuana legalization has gained steam in the last year and a half, and it’s becoming an issue in multiple states. A handful will vote on medical marijuana ballot initiatives this year, and in California, Proposition 19 would allow counties to legalize marijuana outright, taxing and regulating it more or less like alcohol. The California measure appears to have a reasonable shot at success: internal and SurveyUSA polling have shown it in the lead, while the more reputable Field Research has shown Prop. 19 trailing 48% to 44%. If it passes, it will shock many people who haven’t considered legalization of marijuana to be a remote possibility in this country; President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder will have to decide whether to uphold federal drug laws or allow the will of California’s voters to stand; marijuana will explode as a national topic of discussion.

For the first time in our political memory, the old talking points of the health effects of pot are null in void. With a massive fiscal crisis that is straining every aspect of Californian life, the incentives are stronger than ever to get state revenue. Cities like Oakland also need a new industry to get the economy moving again, and hence are preparing the way for the industrialization of marijuana (a Republican friend jokingly and brilliantly referred to this as the birth of the “marijuana industrial complex”).

Federal judge strikes down Proposition 8

Yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker struck down Proposition 8, a ballot measure approved by voters in California in November 2008, because it violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The legal challenges are by no means over. Supporters of Proposition 8 will appeal to the Ninth District Court of Appeals, and eventually this will make it to the Supreme Court. Because of this Walker’s ruling does not allow gay marriages to be conducted interim.

As Walker notes in his opinion, “The freedom to marry is recognized as a fundamental right protected by the Due Process Clause.” This right was reaffirmed in Turner v. Safley, in an opinion written by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, in which she was joined by William Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia.

You can read Judge Walker’s opinion in the case here. Below are some excerpts from the decision (citations have been removed):

Plaintiffs challenge Proposition 8 under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. Each challenge is independently meritorious, as Proposition 8 both unconstitutionally burdens the exercise of the fundamental right to marry and creates an irrational classification on the basis of sexual orientation.

Across U.S., A Slight Plurality Support Marijuana Legalization

Really interesting polling data from Rasmussen:

Americans are evenly divided over whether marijuana should be legalized in the United States, but most expect it to happen within the next decade.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Adults nationally shows 43% believe marijuana should be legalized. But 42% think it should remain an illegal drug. Another 15% are not sure.

That is a very, very slim win for marijuana legalization and, since it’s at the national scale, may be more representative of an urban-rural divide than people who’ve actually thought about the issue. The United States has been beset with decades of anti-drug propaganda that reinforced the notion of prohibition as a natural necessity to keep kids from becoming drug-addled dropouts.

The way to win over those who aren’t pot enthusiasts is to demonstrate that recreational drugs are something beyond the capacity of the state and which will only lead to bloated prisons, wrecked lives and a disturbing level of lethal police raids.

I suspect there’s quite a few people like that in Southern California, which needs to be converted if poll numbers are to be improved on Proposition 19 by November:

Voters are poised to reject a ballot measure to legalize adults’ recreational use of marijuana in California and another that would suspend the state’s landmark greenhouse gas reduction law, according to a Field Poll of to be released today.

Rasmussen ranks Senate races in 2010 mid-terms

Rasmussen Reports released their rankings of United States Senate seats in the 2010 mid-term elections. The rankings show 10 seats up for grabs, six of those being held currently by Democrats.

Listed below are the seats expected to be competitive in November. Not included are Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana and North Dakota, which are all currently held by Democrats but are expected to turn Republican.


  • Colorado
  • Florida (open)
  • Illinois (open)
  • North Carolina
  • Missouri (open)
  • Nevada
  • Ohio (open)
  • Pennsylvania (open)
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Lean GOP

  • Kentucky (open)
  • New Hampshire (open)

Lean Dem

Obama wants another bailout for states

As you may know, President Barack Obama is pushing another “stimulus” bill for states, funded by more debt, to bail themselves out self-induced budget problems. Joshua Culling, State Affairs Manager at Americans for Tax Reform, argues against the idea:

One of the first signs that state governments would continue to look to D.C. to solve their self-imposed crises in early January, when California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed a state budget that included $6.9 billion in one-time federal money, a number that the governor pulled out of thin air. This was a clear indication of the terrible precedent set by last year’s stimulus package: that states would remain unaccountable for their own fiscal recklessness. With a president and Congress so enamored with the power the federal government, “emergency” bailouts are now the norm.

California Republicans and the June 8th Primary

California Republicans believe their best chance at keeping the Govornor’s Mansion and taking the Senate seat is with two Women who have very successful business careers.  This is a good strategy.  At a time when budget deficits are on the minds of many Americans, successful CEO’s who know how to run a profitable business will have as good a chance as any at getting elected.

Although I voted for Steve Poisner and Chuck DeVore, I could easily vote for Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina in November.

It was a low voter turnout, with 80.9% of precincts reporting, only 22.2% of California voters came out to the polls. (as of 2:08am PDT 6/9/10)

Regretfully, Proposition 14 passed.  This will make it much more difficult for 3rd parties to make it onto the ballot.  Now, only the top two vote winning candidates will appear on the ballot in the general election.  Thanks to this measure, you cannot vote for a write in candidate outside of a primary.  It could also lead to two Republicans or two Democrats on the ballot for most State and Federal races (excluding the Presidential race).

California County Bans Toys In Happy Meals

Santa Carla County, California has banned toys in children’s meals:

Happy Meal toys and other promotions that come with high-calorie children’s meals will soon be banned in parts of Santa Clara County unless the restaurants meet nutritional guidelines approved Tuesday by the county Board of Supervisors.

“This ordinance prevents restaurants from preying on children’s’ love of toys” to sell high-calorie, unhealthful food, said Supervisor Ken Yeager, who sponsored the measure. “This ordinance breaks the link between unhealthy food and prizes.”

Voting against the measure was Supervisor Donald Gage, who said parents should be responsible for their children.

“If you can’t control a 3-year-old child for a toy, God save you when they get to be teenagers,” he said. Gage, who is overweight, said he was a living example of how obese children can become obese adults.

But he questioned the role of fast-food toys. “When I was growing up in Gilroy 65 years ago, there were no fast-food restaurants,” Gage said.

The board, whose jurisdiction extends only to the unincorporated parts of the county, including much of Silicon Valley, voted 3 to 2 in favor of the ban after a contentious meeting that included more than an hour of testimony on both sides.

So what must a meal do to comply with the new law ? Well, the list is somewhat extensive:

In order to combine trinkets with burgers, chicken nuggets or other children’s fare, a meal must meet some basic nutritional requirements. Among them:

Is California Too Big To Fail?

See Video

California’s Fiscal Irony

Life is poetic and ironic.

The California state government has long been fiscally irresponsible, catering to the teachers and prison guards unions. If some responsibility had been established, California wouldn’t now be wrestling with a $6 billion deficit.

Funding the states’ prisons were no small part of the creation of a fiscal nightmare. According to SFGate, 2012-13 has a projected $15.4 billion being allocated to prisons. Drug possession likely played no small part in the incarceration rate, with California NORML recording 74,119 arrests for marijuana in 2007 alone. Now with a deficit caused by excessive prison funding, the state is now facing the possible decriminalization of marijuana.



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