Supreme Court Justice League!

Oh, my goodness. You must check out this site:

It’s Supreme Court Fantasy League–you know, kinda like fantasy football, but with the supreme court. My favorite thing on that site, would have to be on the rules page. And I quote:

NB. Because this is the inaugural season of, the rules may be subject to change.  But as avid followers of the Supreme Court, you should have no problem with rules that are modified frequently.

Ha. It makes me chuckle. It also encourages me that some people care so much about the Supreme Court that they’d make a game out of it. I wonder if students would get into this. It says it’s free for students and teachers. I’m sure it would serve as a good exercise for someone.

via Blogora

How Times Change….

My, my. Nothing like economic turmoil to wreak havoc on what a society thought it knew.

A Times article, “Can Marijuana Help Rescue California’s Economy” by Alison Statemen, reports that California is revisiting its strict rules on medicinal marijuana to consider whether the cash crop could help straighten out a bad economic situation. Apparently there’s enough money in the economy — it’s just a matter of what people are (not) spending it on.

According to Statemen, marijuana is California’s “biggest cash crop, responsible for $14 billion in annual sales, dwarfing the state’s second largest agricultural commodity — milk and cream — which brings in $7.3 billion annually.” Further, she writes, “[c]urrently, $200 million in medical marijuana sales are subject to sales tax. If passed, the Marijuana Control, Regulation and Education Act (AB 390) would give California control of pot in a manner similar to alcohol, while prohibiting its purchase to citizens under age 21.”

Another reason lawmakers are reevaluating legalizing marijuana is that it would result in the decrease of arrests, prosecution, and imprisonment, saving the state as much as $1 billion a year, Statement writes.

And, finally, adopting the law could make California “a model for other states” because as “[Democratic State Assembly member] Ammiano put it: ‘How California goes, the country goes.'” (Hmm. Perhaps this observation explains why the nation is so confused about gay marriage as well.)


I’m really quite surprised, but I don’t know that I should be. Quite a bit would change and for the same reasons that some things have not. Smoking bans won’t result in a move toward outlawing cigarettes any time soon because the government makes a killing on taxing the item. Further, I’m sure a lot has been learned from the U.S era of alcohol prohibition. The country decided that profiting off alcohol consumption was better — economically — for the country than policing it’s illegal trafficking. If history repeats itself here, gone would be a black market and in would come flood of income in proper capitalist fashion.

In a rhetorical sense, one of the most interesting results would be a partial collapse of the War on Drugs. It could change quite a bit of what the nation stands for and how it continues to portray its surpriority in global terms. I don’t want to run too far ahead with this idea, but the change could be huge. In a time when the country has just finished a two-term presidency that resulted in a substantial rise in unfavorable feelings toward the country, I wonder how the doxa of the nation and the globe would change as a result of a change like this one.

Difficult times can change just about anything, it seems. Let’s wait and see what happens.

I’m bound to libel you posted an article not too long ago about what is considered libel in Bloggers learn to avoid lawsuits. Also note the EFF’s Online Defamation Law.

But, seriously now. Where’s the line between opinion and slander? According to the EFF, I could call someone a bitch or a skank, but not accuse them of being a prostitute. Too bad. That was my main go-to insult. Okay, not really, but it’d be nice to have the option.

I’m just thinking . . . in order for something to be considered defamation, then there must be a real intent to do harm. To publicly humiliate another person. And at a certain point, it’s all semantics.

But, oh, law lives and breaths based on semantics. You can lose some serious money based on a semicolon. And I guess this is the thing. In my Idealist World, you could see someone’s intentions very easily and determine a course of action based on those intentions, but this isn’t that world. And people lie.

We don’t always know that when So-And-So accused What’s-Their-Face of being a prostitute, that So-And-So really meant that they thought What’s-Their-Face was a huge slut.

This all becomes problematic when we come to something like a blog.

Now, no doubt there are great pluses to blogs and blogging and interaction between users and presenters, but I guess this whole situation with suing bloggers has made me call the practice into question. Where’s the line between sharing ideas freely and openly to just bashing someone because you thought they were an asshole?

Should there be proper Blogger etiquette? Or has it really come down to Teach Me How to Not Get Sued?

Crack vs. Powder

A recent story by the Associated Press, “Crack-vs.-powder disparity is questioned,” documents attempts to equalize punishment associated with illegal drug use. Last month, federal sentencing guidelines were adjusted for crack offenses, which had formerly upheld penalties that were 100x more severe than than those related to powdered cocaine. The differences in the effects of the drug — based on its form and therefore its type of ingestion — had apparently been exaggerated.

And the reason? Some seem to believe racisim:

Many defense lawyers and civil rights advocates say the lopsided perception of crack versus cocaine is rooted in racism. Four out of every five crack defendants are black, while most powdered-cocaine defendants are white.

The article continues by outlining how the use of crack and powdered cocaine came to fall along racial lines — and it’s quite an interesting read. In the end, though, I wonder at the nuances of this story. How could the case have been made that the ingestion of the same drug could have such wildly different results? Or could it be, as alluded to in the quotation above, that lawmakers only needed to see the statistics and demographics to believe one type is worse than the other?

The initial law was written in 1986. I wonder what it would take to make the same case today, 20 years later.