Archive for ‘Government’

June 12, 2010

39th Annual NORML Conference

This is the article about the Conference. I really wish I could go. That would be great. Especially considering I want to donate some of my time to NORMl when I’m a lawyer.

If you’ve never been to Portland and have always wanted to attend America’s oldest and largest pro-cannabis conference, this is the year! From September 10 to 12, the city some residents fondly call “Potland” will host the 39th Annual NORML National Conference, our giant yearly gathering that always features the best cannabis-related speakers, activists, health and legal experts, panel discussions and social events.

This year’s conference theme: It’s Time to Legalize! It’s a fitting topic in Oregon, which was the first state to decriminalize cannabis possession in 1973. Meanwhile, Portland has recently joined Oakland as one of the few cities in North America to host a cannabis café.

At the conference, speakers and panels will examine marijuana law, drug testing, medical cannabis, hemp, the best practices for cannabusinesses, political activism and lobbying – plus the ever-popular, usually overflowing High Times cannabis-cultivation lectures. Celebrity speakers and guests are always in attendance at this most interesting of pro-cannabis confabs.

Why hold the conference in Portland? In anticipation of the major cannabis-law reform measures being introduced in the state legislature – as well as the ballot initiative that will be launched if elected policymakers fail to legalize cannabis. Oregon NORML petitioned the NORML board of directors nearly two years ago to convene the 2010 national conference in Portland to help focus movement attention and support on their vanguard legalization efforts.

The conference will convene at the historic, nationally landmarked Governor Hotel, located in the middle of the central business district, right on the free loop section of the Portland area’s transit system. From airport to hotel to social events, no car is necessary to attend. If you do arrive by car, the Columbia River Gorge, a dozen waterfalls, the Oregon coast and the always-captivating Mount Hood are all within an hour’s drive.

Added bonuses include touring Oregon NORML’s Cannabis Café and spending a few hours out at Kelley Point Park, at the confluence of the powerful Columbia and Willamette rivers, the location of the THC Foundation’s popular two-day Hempstalk – Oregon’s largest pro-cannabis “protestival,” which attracts thousands of hemp-friendly supporters to soak in some of the last warm weather in America’s Great Northwest, listen to the inspired music and speeches, and patronize dozens of eclectic retail booths.

Only the odds makers in Vegas can likely handicap the political race to become the first state in America to legalize cannabis for non-medical adult use. Will it be Oregon or California, Washington or Nevada? Whichever way it goes, 2010 is already shaping up to be one of the busiest and most productive years in the history of organized cannabis-law reform. So make plans now with your best buds to join like-minded cannabis consumers, reform activists and patients in “Potland” this September at NORML’s “It’s Time to Legalize!” national conference.

Allen St. Pierre is the executive director of NORML in Washington, DC (888-67-NORML begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              888-67-NORML      end_of_the_skype_highlighting). For “early bird” pre-registration discounts, conference information, and photos and videos of previous NORML conferences, go to

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May 28, 2010

Gender Quote

“In 1873, the Supreme Court upheld a state law banning women from practicing law, arguing that “the natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life….. The paramount destiny and mission of women are to fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother. This is the law of the creator.”

— Supreme Court Judgement excerpt, 1873; Unknown Case

Wow!! No one in a position of power would even think of saying something like that now. Does anyone ever consider the fact that in ancient cultures, we women were revered, idolized, and worshipped. We were rulers and goddesses. One of these days I should do some research to find out what happened to cause men to lose their reverence and respect for women. We are the creators of life. A man only donates a tiny little single-celled organism. Women should be at least respected for our ability to create life. To grow a complete human inside us.

And to deviate from the truly cheesy reason women are important, there are the practical reasons too.  First off, women are smart and cunning and excel in different fields than men do. In many ways, men and women complement each other. Without one, the other couldn’t be. So it goes to reason that we should all be considered equal.

May 28, 2010

Obscenity and the Law

It’s interesting to see how they decide what can be censored and what can’t. I think that the government goes overboard on somethings, but they’re not really things that affect me so I’m not that concerned.

“Obscene materials of all kinds– words, publication, photos, videotapes, films– are not protected by the 1st Amendment. Most states ban the publication, sale or possession of obscene material, and Congress bans its shipment in the mails. Because obscene material is not protected by the 1st Amendment, it can be banned without even an attempt to prove that it results in antisocial conduct… It is not necessary to show that obscene material would result in a clear and present danger to society, the test used to decide the legitimacy of speech. In order to ban obscene materials the government need only prove that they are obscene.”

“Defining “obscenity” has confounded legislatures and the courts for years, however….. After many fruitless efforts by the Supreme Court to come up with a workable definition of  “pornography” or “obscenity,” a frustrated Justice Potter Stewart wrote the now-famous quote in 1974, “I shall not today attempt further to define [hard-core pornography]…. But I know it when I see it.””

Politics in America, 8th Ed. pg. 508; Thomas R. Dye and Bartholomew H. Sparrow

Isn’t that a great quote at the end? You can’t put a description on it so basically she’s just gonna use her best opinion. I reallt think the Supreme Court is supposed to put more specific and define meanings into things or we as the public won’t know what to do.

” The Court’s first comprehensive effort to define “obscenity” came in Roth v. United States (1957)…. it [the Court] defined “obscenity” somewhat narrowly: ” Whether to the average person applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material, taken as a whole, appeals to prurient interests.

For some explanation because, sadly, I will admit I had to look it up to make sure of the definition, prurient means having or causing lust or desires. That’s the summarized definition. So basically obscenity only has to do with sexual things by this definition.

“Note that the material must be obscene to the average person, not to children or particular groups of adults who might be especially offended by pornography. The standard is “contemporary,” suggesting that what was once regarded as obscene might be acceptable today. Later, the community standard was clarified to mean the “society at large,” not a particular state or local community. The material must be “considered as a whole” meaning that even if a work includes some obscene material, it is still acceptable if its “dominant theme” is something other than “prurient” (There’s that stupid word again.) The Court added that a work must be “utterly without redeeming social or literary merit” in order to be judged obscene. The Court never really said what a “prurient” interest was but reassured everyone that “sex and obscenity are not synonymous.”

This time they at least began to give it a definition, but it’s still vague and subject to broad interpretation. Broad interpretation is never really good in law.

“The effect of the Roth decision, and the many and varied attempts by lower courts to apply its slippery standards, tended to limit law enforcement efforts to combat pornography during the 1960’s and 70’s…… So the Supreme Court tried again, in Miller v. California (1973) to give law enforcement officials some clearer standards in determining obscenity. Although the court retained the “average person” and “contemporary” standards, it redefined “community” to mean the local community rather than the society at large…. It rejected the earlier requirement that the work had to be “utterly without redeeming social value” in order to be judged obscene, and it substituted instead “lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”

This is a better attempt, but it just goes to show you really cannot define obscenity. What is obscene to one person, may be perfectly fine to another. The court really has no right to limit expression of any kind.

May 28, 2010

Abortion and Roe v. Wade

I am so interested in law and it’s the unfairness of it that attracts me. I want to learn how to work within the system to change it. I’ve gotten to some really good parts in my text, so I will have quite a few political and somewhat educational texts. Well just educational texts really, since as a help in retaining all the info I am learning I will be posting excerpts that seem important from all my classes. Today is American Federal Government since that’s what I’m cramming on. These blog entries are my breaks between long reading periods, Anyways, I am in the same section on personal liberties again and this time, as the title states, it’s about abortion. Before I even get into this, I am completely pro-choice. I have had an abortion myself. It wasn’t an easy choice but it was the best choice and I don’t appreciate anyone trying to tell me what I can do with my body. A 2 month old fetus is only a fetus, it is not a life yet. So this is a series of excerpts from this section in the chapter. I will start with Roe v. Wade and continue into the effects and the current conditions of the issue.

“In 1969,  Norma McCorvey sought an abortion in Texas but was refused by doctors who cited a state law prohibiting abortion except to save a woman’s life. McCorvey challenged the Texas law in federal courts on a variety of constitutional grounds, including the right to privacy. McCorvey became “Jane Roe” and the case became one of the most controversial in the Supreme Court’s history.

The Supreme Court ruled that the constitutional right of privacy as well as  the 14th Amendments guarantee of “liberty” included a woman’s decision to bear or not to bear a child. The Court held that the word person in the Constitution did not include the unborn child, therefore the 5th and 14th Amendments guarantee of “life, liberty, or property” did not protect the “life” of the fetus. The Court also ruled that a state’s power to protect the health and safety of the mother could not justify any restriction on abortion in the first 3 months of pregnancy….. Only in the final 3 months could a state prohibit or regulate abortion to protect the unborn.

Rather than end the political controversy over abortion, Roe v. Wade set off a conflagration. Congress defeated efforts to pass a constitutional amendment restricting abortion or declaring that life begins at conception. However, when Congress banned the use of federal funds under Medicaid…. for abortions except to protect the life of a woman, the Supreme Court upheld the ban, holding that there was no constitutional obligation for government to pay for abortions.”

Politics in America, 8th Ed., pg. 504; Thomas R. Dye and Batholomew H. Sparrow

Of course here’s some of the things that the college textbook doesn’t want to talk about.

After Roe v. Wade

The reaction to Roe was swift. Supporters of legal abortion rejoiced and generally felt their battle was won. However, others faulted the Court for the decision. Those opposed to legal abortion immediately began working to prevent any federal or state funding for abortion and to undermine or limit the effect of the decision.

Some turned to measures directly aimed at disrupting clinics where abortions were being provided. Their tactics have included demonstrating in front of abortion clinics, harassing people trying to enter, vandalizing clinic property, and blocking access to clinics.

As time passed, the level of anti-abortion violence escalated. Increasingly, clinic bombings, physical attacks, and even murders endanger abortion providers and create a hostile environment for women seeking abortions.

—  History of Abortion, National Abortion Federation

Multiple instances of anti-abortion violence in Florida:

Pensacola, FL: This city was a focal point for anti-abortion crime from mid 1984 to mid 1994: 4

bullet 1984-JUN: An abortion clinic was bombed.
bullet 1984-DEC: The same clinic was bombed again.
bullet 1986-MAR: A second clinic was broken into and vandalized; two female employees were assaulted. John Burt, a former member of the KKK, and his daughter were tried and convicted. John Burt became the local leader of Rescue America.
bullet 1993-MAR: Michael Griffin, allegedly a member of Rescue America, assassinated Dr. David Gunn outside an abortion clinic. Griffin’s lawyers claimed that Burt had brainwashed Griffin into committing the killing. (There is a consensus among mental health professionals that this sort of “Manchurian Candidate” programming is impossible). Griffin was convicted and given a life sentence.
bullet 1994-JUL: Paul Hill, a former Presbyterian minister and leader in Defensive Action assassinated a physician and bodyguard outside another abortion clinic; he also wounded the wife of the bodyguard. He was sentenced to both life imprisonment on federal charges, and execution on state charges.
bullet 1994-AUG: Five KKK groups demonstrated adjacent to an abortion clinic in Melbourne FL. They were opposed to abortions given to whites; they encourage abortions to persons of other races. They named Hill their hero of the month.

I can agree with everything that the Supreme Court has stated. Of course, I am not a person who believes it’s the government’s job to take care of any healthcare except for children whose parents can’t afford it. I believe in survival of the fittest and if an adult is not fit enough to take care of themselves, they don’t deserve health care. Children deserve it only because they cannot help themselves and did not ask to be born to weak and genetically defective parents. But once those children are adults, it is their job to take care of themselves. The rich are rich because they have earned it (well sometimes their parents and ancestors have earned it, but one of the privileges of being the fittest is being able to choose whether your children will have any access to your riches or have to earn their own. It’s your money and you can do what you want.) and the poor are poor for many reasons, all adding up to they have not proved themselves the fittest. We cultivate and nurture the stupidity and our society with all these damn welfare programs. But anyways back to abortion, I think it’s completely a woman’s right to choose whether they wish to have a child, but once out of the first trimester, science has proved that it becomes a miniature human and not just a fetus. You then cross the line into murder after the first trimester. I do believe late abortions are ok if it is a choice between the mother and the child surviving. A child should not be born into this world without a mother, on top of the fact that self-preservation is the greatest human instinct until you actually have a child in your hands. Then it becomes family preservation. But, the text goes on to say.

“Abortion has become such a polarizing issue that “pro-choice” and “pro-life” groups are generally unwilling to search out a middle ground. Yet the Supreme Court appears to have chosen a policy of affirming  a woman’s right to abortion while upholding modest restrictions…… [After a case, Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992)] The Court established a new standard of for constitutionally evaluating restrictions: they must not impose an “undue burden” on women seeking abortion or place “substantial obstacles” in her path.

Politics in America, 8th Ed., pg. 505; Thomas R. Dye and Batholomew H. Sparrow

Here the problem lies that there really is no middle ground. As a dedicated pro-choicer, I would not support any undue restrictions on abortion. All the restrictions I have mentioned so far, I can understand why they are there. But I can’t think of a single restriction beyond these that I would agree to being put in place. The part that seriously bothers me is that most pro-lifers (and I mean most, not all) only feel that way for religious reasons, which means 2 things: 1) You have no possible way of changing their minds. People are very stubborn and unbending on their religious beliefs, and 2) It proves they have no logical reason for being against it. Science has proven  that up to 3 months a fetus is not human, so that kills the common rule of no murder. Religion has no logic, it runs on faith and faith is a dangerous thing. maybe if an abortion were easier to get, we would not be creating quite the overpopulation issue we’re beginning to experience. But back to abortion, these pro-lifers are so obsessed with this issue  that they tend to picket abortion clinics and government has had to set rules to intervene.

” Freedom of assembly is currently being tested by opponents of abortion who picket abortion clinics, hoping to embarrass and dissuade women from entering them. Generally the courts have allowed limits on these demonstrations to ensure that people can move freely in and out of the clinics. Freedom of assembly does not include the right to block access to public or private buildings. And when abortion opponents demonstrated at the residence of a physician who performed abortions, the Supreme Court upheld a local ordinance barring assemblies in residential neighborhoods….. The Supreme Court made a distinction between a “fixed buffer zone,” prohibiting assembly around a building entrance, and a “floating buffer zone” (of 15 feet), prohibiting demonstrators from approaching individuals in public places. The “fixed zone” was held to be a constitutional limit on assembly but the “floating zone” was found to be a unconstutional limit on free speech. In 1994 Congress passed a federal law guaranteeing access to abortion clinics, arguing that the federal government should act to guarantee a recognized constitutional right.”

Politics in America, 8th Ed., pg. 513; Thomas R. Dye and Batholomew H. Sparrow

It’s sickening that people would treat each other like that. There’s a thousand parts about this that bother me but there’s one in particular that pops into my mind. Don’t these people have better things to do with their lives? Is their daily life so dull and inconsequential that they have to spend hours standing outside an abortion clinic in all kinds of weather just to yell at people and try to make them feel bad? Honestly, I consider myself pro-choice mainly for the fact that it’s their body, they can do what they want with it. I don’t like strippers or strip clubs, I think they’re demeaning and serve no purpose, but you don’t see me trying to get them shut down or outlawed. I will admit I am mouthy and if you are in front of me and I don’t like what you’re doing, I will most certainly tell you. If you are not my significant other, you will get my opinion and no more. No one has the right to make someone else’s decisions.

May 28, 2010

Textbook Excerpt: Gay Marriage

So I’m doing a cram study night for my American Federal Government test tomorrow, and I’m reading the chapter on politics and personal liberty. I think I may have several different excerpts from this chapter to post tonight. After reading this section on gay marriage, I ahve to say a huge chunk of the human race appalls me.

“The Supreme Court has not yet spoken out on gay marriage — marriages between persons of the same sex. Several state courts, including the Supreme Court of Massechusetts, have held that the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment entitles gay couple to marry, that to deny them marriage rights while recognizing heterosexual marriages amounts to discrimintation. The issue is complicated by the constitutional provision that requires all states to give “Full Faith and Credit” to judicial proceedings of other states. This provision implies that gay marriages in any state must be recognized in all states. Congress passed a Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 declaring that no state need recognize a gay marriage. But Congress failed to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay sex marriage,”

Politics in America, 8th Ed., pg. 506;  Thomas R. Dye and Bartholomew H. Sparrow

This just absolutely disgusts me. I don’t understand why the Supreme Court won’t step in and make the obvious decision. There is no constitutional right to deny gay couples marriage. I have gay friends and family and they are just as good of people as any one else. Hell, better than most people and I fully think they deserve every single one of the same rights that heterosexuals do. Not a single activist can give a logical reason why it shouldn’t be allowed. All the reasons are emotional or religious, with no basis in anything real or important. It is forcing some citizens opinions on everyone and no one wants that done to them. People are so damn close-minded