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hide the comic books

The most absurd piece of legislation I have ever seen. More on this tomorrow. I just wanted to point this out for now. And people wonder why I don't toe the Republican party line.

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» Parents' Empowerment Act from The Zero Boss
Nothing raises my political bile more than politicians who try and gussy up censorship in the rhetoric of "protecting children". As Pointy Ears and A Small Victory point out, Rep. Duncan Hunter - a member of that endangered species known as the "Califo... [Read More]

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What the Fucking Fuck?*

I sure hope this is one of those laws that has no chance of passing. Anyway, as Justice Louis Brandeis said:

"Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficial. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding."

*Hat Tip to P.J. O'Rourke

If you really toe the party line of ANY political party, then you are not thinking. I know this statement is a truism, but I need to remind myself, or be reminded by others, of its truth every so often. You have succeeded in reminding me of it tonight. By the way, I do not take this truism as a bit of cynicism, but rather a concomitant of a realistic, functioning democracy in a culturally and politically diverse society.

Another nominee for most absurd bill. And these asshats are paid with MY tax money.

A bill this vague is sure to be abused. Yikes.

I'd take a deep breath here folks.

This legislation is so full of ambiguities, such "the average person, applying the contemporary standards of the adult community in which the minor resides with respect to what is suitable for minors" (emphasis added). This is essentially the same standard for judging any pornography today (so forget the First Amendment, okay?). But due to the added complexity of dertermining what is suitable for "minors" on a community by community basis, it will be nigh impossible for a court to enforce the law with any sensibility or evenhandedness. And therefore, the whole act is prime for appeal on a void for vaugueness standard.

Plain and simple? It's just a grandstand ploy. The legislation adds nothing new to existing law but the term "minors" (and a right of private action). Everybody loves minors, right? Everyone wants to protect them from the scum, right? Feel good yet?

So what's the offending material? It's going to take a lot of evidence for the plaintiff to prove what are "the contemporary standards of the adult community in which the minor resides with respect to what is suitable for minors." If the plaintiff succeeds at that, he or she will still have to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the accused knowingly violated those community standards. To kowingly violate something, you have to know what that something is. Good luck, Charlie.

Here's the rub, however: there is a provision for the award of attorneys fees to the prevailing plaintiff. That is like shaking bags of gold before the plaintiff's bar. There's a guaranteed payoff if the lawyer convinces the jury of the infraction. The plaintiff could walk away with the $10K minimum for an infraction, but the attorney can recoup ten or twenty times that in fees. (But note that it remains at the court's discretion to award any such fees). It's just enough of a carrot to get the plaintiff's bar interested, but it's no sure thing. I think the legal market will find this cause of action a financial loser after the first few cases, and thus the cause will be shelved with legal relics like Blue Laws.

In short, it's bullshit.

There must be something in the water in California that encourages this type of hyper-intrusive legislation. The companion to this piece of nonsense is the bill authorizing that; if you are pulled over for speeding, the police can then give you an additonal ticket if you were also momentarily distracting from driving by any of the following: talking on your cell phone, smoking, eating, drinking, changing the dial on your radio, changing CDs, talking to your kids, etc.

Talk about the 'Nanny' state...Sheeesh!

Republican party line?! Arrrrgh...dammit, when exactly did my party start sponsoring feasts for the plaintiffs' bar like this breathtakingly stupid bill? Oh, right, when the trial lawyers started to fund candidates in GOP primaries. Fortunately, it's still in the Judiciary Committee, and I'd be shocked if Jim Sensenbrenner ever even schedules a hearing on it.

I just don't get how this fits into the "less government" and "personal responsibility" ideals that are supposed to be tenets of the Republican Party.

I thought it was the parent's role to raise children and decide what was appropriate- not the government.

(sigh) Typical election year crap... Find a way to get press by saying: "Must protect... Children! Minors! Seniors!"

I mentioned this at Claire's place where she posted about yet another piece of Cali nanny state legislature and it bears repeating:

Get out of Cali! Can't you see it? The wines, the beaches, the anti-business legislation, the socialist government...

It's turning into France!

Contact Information:

The Honorable Vacancy - SD00
1504 Longworth
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-2801

FUCK - GODDAMN STOP SIGN RUNNING SON OF A BITCH.

Doens't every parent already have this right, other than the free ahndout of 10K?

WTF happened? When did every God damn Republican turn into a lawyer ass kissing liberal?

If this shit keep up I will vote for Nader, just to piss my vote away.

WTF is wrong with this country?

Why does this bill make me thing of Kyle's mom from South Park?

This is such an awful bill. If it passes,I am pretty sure it would not pass Constitutional muster. But think of the time and money wasted on putting that piece of shit together.

It's damned embarrassing.

I heard a story similar to this here in texas. a guy was arrested and spent 180 days in jail for selling an adult comic book to an undercover police officer. he had a comic book shop with an adult section. i couldnt remember the full story and this is the only link i could google this early in the morning.
Rick
http://www.thefileroom.org/documents/dyn/DisplayCase.cfm/id/773

Rick, I covered that one here.

Just plain nutty. But I don't think it's fair to associate this nuttiness with the Republican Party as a whole. I can't imagine it getting past the Republicans in Congress.

As a former comic book collector (I just don't have time anymore, though I pick up a few on occasion), I find this and the Jesus Castillo case appalling. That said, I am able to play devil's advocate to some extent, knowing the content of some comics typically on the regular shelves of comic book stores -- not the adult section. The ol' sex & violence, not to mention "adult language," is quite common in some independents and DC's Vertigo line. The latter is always marked "suggested for mature readers," though that wouldn't keep a minor from picking it up. (Does anyone know if the "mature readers" comics have restrictions on being sold to minors?) My favorite comics fall into these categories, such as Neil Gaiman's "Sandman", which was a Vertigo title and had plenty of S&V (though not gratuitous). But then, I'm an adult. I can see how a parent could come into a store, pick up one of these books which would be within reach of their children, and be shocked at the contents.

Does that mean parents should have the right to sue anyone (or everyone) involved in the production and sale of the comic book? No. It means they should know where their kids are, know what they're looking at, and in general, BE PARENTS.

Just remembered something related to my last post. When I was in high school (or was it middle school?), my dad, being a good parent, decided to have a look at what I was reading. After leafing through some issues of Sandman, he was upset, mainly by the sexual content. My memory is a bit foggy on the consequences, but I think I agreed never to buy more. Gaiman's work being as entrancing as it is, I found ways to get 'em (after a brief hiatus). Looking back, though, if I had a young teen I'm not sure I'd want him/her reading Sandman, either. Many of the stories contain, in my opinion, subject matter for adults.

But my point is that my dad was being a good parent, finding out what his kid was doing. Some might say that's oppressive, but in my opinion, that was his responsibility while I was a minor living at home. What he didn't do was sue DC comics or my favorite comic book store.

"I don't think it's fair to associate this nuttiness with the Republican Party as a whole."

Well, not yet at least, thank God.

"I can't imagine it getting past the Republicans in Congress."

I can't imagine it, either. I'd be willing to give 10-1 odds that it dies in committee and, like I said before, probably without even receiving a hearing let alone a vote.

Democrats love intrusive government when it serves their ideology, and Republicans love it when it serves theirs. The public at large needs to wise up and start voting for candidates of both parties who DON'T get all excited about the idea of intruding into our lives without good reason. Absent that sort of incentive, candidates on both sides will continue to play to the extreme elements within their respective parties.

the dems give us the PMRC, and now the repubs give us this. So, like, in this instance, what the fuck is the difference between the two?

Dave

And you wonder why Gov. Arnold wants to make the CA state legislature part-time?

Good god, the nutty proposed bills that are floated every session would make most out-of-staters turn grey overnight. A couple of years ago, one gal wanted every home fitted with a device that if the homeowners exceeded their "allotment" of energy for the day, the government could turn it off at will remotely. We've had "snack" and "soda" taxes proposed. Schools are now required to remove all their "unhealthy" vending machines from campuses. There was a bill introduced to force all schools with American Indian mascots or names to change them.

These lawyers-cum-nannies that dominate the legistlature (and who's recall campaigns are funded by The Trail Lawyers Assoc. and CTA amongst other seekers of control and deeppockets) have WAY too much time on their hands (and WAY too much in the way of salaries and perks).

So far, I have seen one loony Republican congressman.

Is he getting any approval from the House Majority Leader? Or anyone else in the RNC? If so, then I'll wonder WTF my party is smoking.

Until then, I'll just wonder what this guy is smoking.