Saturday, November 22, 2003


Hearing of Miami's response to the FTAA actions has not shocked me in the least.

In March, I was in South Beach for the annual Winter Music Conference. The conference was from March 17th-22nd and I had a feeling that war would be initiated during my visit. In preparation, I took some of my tank-tops and scrawled large peace signs on the front in sharpie, just so I'd have something to wear appropriate for the situation. I wanted everyone to know just exactly where I stood on the issue.

Well, I was right. Not only did the first bombs fall during my visit, but on my birthday. It was a pretty strange day.

The next night I went to the superclub "Space". I'm not a fan of large clubs, as I don't think they are conducive to a good vibe and the required security presence makes fun partying next to impossible (and they tend to be "meat markets"), but I was convinced by some friends to go check it out, as the sound system is one of the best in the States.

I decided to wear one of my augmented tank tops to the event. The place was miserable, no vibe, bad tunes, and not much smiling to be found. I wasn't having a good time, and was pretty vocal about it with one of my friends. He agreed with me in front of a bouncer, and we were promptly escorted down some stairs and outside, where we were told that despite paying $40 to get in and $4 a piece for bottles of "Space" water, that we couldn't come back...because we criticized the place.

Well, my friend had been drinking, and was admittedly vocal in his opposition to our treatment, but after calming down we explained that we would leave, but that our credit cards were still at the bar and we still had members of our group inside who needed to share a cab to get back to South Beach (the club is in Miami proper). During this exchange, which was peaceful, a police officer came over and grabbed me by the arm. He asked me why I'd been kicked out, and I told him. He took me to a police van that was parked near the exit of the club (so they can arrest more people at once I suppose) and pushed me up against the double back doors.

He then instructed me to "empty my pockets". I asked him why he was searching me, and he said because I had been kicked out of the club, which he must have taken as adequate probable cause. I had nothing to hide, and just wanted to get back to my hotel, so I emptied everything out of my pockets onto the back bumper of the van...he even had me open every tiny crevice of my wallet for inspection.

As I was finishing with this rather humiliating experience, another officer approached. He plucked my shirt with his fingers, eyeing the peace sign, and asked his partner something along the lines of, "you want me to throw him in?" The original officer shook his head "no" and told me to get out of the area, as I was a nuisance, and the two began to walk away. I asked for some identification from the original officer, like a badge number, and they simply ignored me...

I'm sure there are plenty of good cops in Miami, as there are all over this country, but I know there are at least two bad ones, and likely many more as well. I wish the best for all involved in the FTAA actions, and can only hope that justice is served, rather than distorted and abused.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Pour one out for Grandpa 

My grandfather passed away last night. He was a really funny guy who worked in an Exxon refinery in Baytown, Texas his entire life until he retired, which was before I was old enough to remember much. He was 94 years old, and was cracking jokes even after a massive stroke took away most of his ability to speak and communicate. He worked his ass off so I could be sitting here, in law school, writing a blog and trying to make the world a better place for people like him...and I will.

I have nothing but love and respect for the man, and if you'd known him, you'd feel the same way.

He probably didn't have many toasts and the like in his honor during his life, primarily because he was a Southern Baptist. Well tonight, wherever you are, whatever you're doing, drink one, smoke one, or pour one out for my Grandpa.

RIP Erwin Whitmer.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

A step ahead for gay marriage? 

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, this morning, ruled 4-3 that a ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

There's not going to be immediate issuance of licenses, as the court has rather obviously punted the issue back to the legislature and/or lower courts to hash it out. But this truly is a step in a positive direction for allowing people to marry whomever they choose, regardless of what is or isn't dangling between their legs.

It's a good day for justice.

But would somebody please let the Democratic presidential nominees to answer any questions trying to pin them down on the issue with something along the lines of "That's a decision for the states"? I'm under no illusion we're going to get any of the "God hates fags" vote, and frankly I don't want it, but there are plenty of people who don't give a shit about the issue as long as its not in their backyard, so lets not push it until there's a little more umph behind it, no?

Monday, November 17, 2003

Medical Pot and the 9th Circuit 

Check out this link via Matt in the comments section:

The implication for the medical marijuana cases is clear. In one pending case, medical marijuana patient Angel Raich sued to prevent the government from taking away her marijuana. Raich says she grows it at home -- it is neither bought nor sold, and never enters into commerce.

"This case reinforces every argument that we've made in both the [Oakland Cannabis Buyers Club] and Raich cases, which present as applied challenges to the Controlled Substances Act," said Barnett, Raich's lawyer.

The OCBC case is also pending at the 9th Circuit. Although the Supreme Court has unanimously reversed the 9th Circuit on whether defendants could argue a "medical necessity" defense, the constitutional issues have not been settled.

However, the 9th Circuit -- following the Supreme Court's marquee Commerce Clause decisions in Lopez and Morrison -- has reaffirmed that marijuana can be regulated by the federal government.

But the foundation for those decisions may be eroding.

Well, eroding in the 9th anyway. Of course, that's great news for the people of California, who may yet be allowed to actually decide what laws should apply in their own state. GO FEDERALISM!!!!

I still don't see how they can get a decision about home grown pot to jive with Wickard. Hell, maybe it'll get up to the SCOTUS and we can strike that old bag of a case.

"This record leaves us in no doubt that Congress may properly have considered that wheat consumed on the farm where grown, if wholly outside the scheme of regulation, would have a substantial effect in defeating and obstructing its purpose to stimulate trade therein at increased prices."

Change "stimulate" to "eradicate" and strike the rest of that sentence and Wickard would appear to fly in the face of the argument in bold above, no?

Just playing devil's advocate...

Legal Realism 

After re-reading my mangled flotsum of a post about amorality and the law, I ran across this gem from Brian Leiter, a professor at some school for the slow in the wild wild west.

No seriously, he's a badass, he teaches where I go to school, and I can't wait to have a class with him.

His article on legal realism is slick, and his blog is pretty slick too.

I wouldn't start reading until you've got a little time on your hands...but it's worth it for sure, especially if you're a law student.

UPDATE: Sonofabitch, do I ever sound like an overzealous lawgeek today. What I meant to say was, "Uh...yeah...whatever" and then spit a loogie so it spins around like a helicopter (sp?)

UPDATE AGAIN: Shit, now Ann's not gonna think I'm funny anymore...

The problem with the afterlife 

It gives people an excuse (or for the real fanatics, a motivation) to fuck shit up in the real world.

Give it up kids. You're living in the one world you get...enjoy it and try to leave it better off than you found it.

Hot damn 

Just got done cleaning the house.

Not exciting to you?

You should have seen it before I got started. I did battle with a dust T-rex in the hallway, and had to scrape some unidentified substance off the bottom of the refrigerator that made me wish one of my scientist friends was around to identify it.

Of course, the whole thing was a thinly veiled procrastination effort...and now my book bag is laughing at me.


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