Thursday, September 26, 2013

More Creepy (and creeping) Republicanism

View this disgusting ad. It's got everything, sexism, racism, lies, fear mongering. Oh, those zany Republicans!   Creepy Uncle Sam anti-Obama care ad

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

If you liked Citizens United, you'll love this one

In October, the U.S. Supreme Court will take up what amounts to an extension of the Citizens United ("corporations are people, my friend!") decision which allowed unlimited corporate contributions to independent expenditure committees, in an appeal by the Republican National Committee, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Alabama businessman Shaun McCutcheon, who claim that political contributions should be treated as "core political speech"according to the L.A. Times on September 21, 2013.

This means that in Federal races, while individual maximums would say in place, maximum allowable totals will be erased. Now, a individual can only give a total of $46,000 to all Congressional candidates or $74,000 to to all political parties. Under the new rules, they can give the maximum allowable for each race up to $3.6 million.

This will be a boon to the Parties, particularly the Republican Party, which the majority of the wealthy call home. Someone like the Koch Brothers can each throw in the $3.6 million to the party, while giving unlimited amounts to SuperPACs. 

The ones with the most money don't always win (think Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina in California in 2010), but that much money does have a chilling effect, and it also can buy a lot of TV time and billboard space to spread their fear messages, a Koch brother and Republican Party specialty.  This is one to watch. And just in time for Halloween.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Teen Curfews - Not the way to curb crime in Oakland

Every few years the idea of a teen curfew raises its ugly head in some City or another. Now it's Oakland. Keep kids off the streets and they will stay away from crime. Not so. First of all, it's just plain unenforceable. Second, studies have found, and Oakland seems ripe for this, that such laws are enforced selectively and discriminatorily.

Also see this New York Times article.

Most important, it's likely unconstitutional as hell, although different state courts have ruled in different ways. So far, the matter has not been taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court.  (And I hope it doesn't get there soon, or we can guess what the 5-4 decision might be.) The time, place and manner provision of the 1st Amendment comes into play here. But seriously, kids go out, they go to movies, events, their friends' houses and heck yeah, to party. When I started high school in Michigan, we'd stay late for play practice, then go get something to eat. Or we'd go to a movie, then hit the pizza place. Rampaging teen mobs? No, just kids being kids. They deserve the same 1st and 14th Amendment protection adults do.

It's a broad brush aimed at a narrow issue. Several years back, I represented a teen against just such a curfew. The city in question caved and changed its curfew laws.

Yes, some are on the books. When we moved to Massachusetts, I was shocked to find out they had a curfew for teens.  That's why, on prom night, they locked us in the school building and after feeding us the classic rubber chicken, had us watch Sound of Music at midnight. Then they "entertained" us in some other ways I no longer remember, until 5 AM, when we were released, no longer a danger to society or to ourselves.

To this day, when I accidentally tune into a radio station and hear that there is yet another sing along Sound of Music somewhere, I cringe.

Got crime? Get real solutions. Enforce the laws you have. Don't make new ones that oppress innocent kids so you can scoop up a few (potentially) guilty ones.