(via Burrito Justice)
How expensive is the so-called “war” on drugs?
In California, where it was just announced that the state spends more on its prison system than it does on higher education, the cost is very clear.
And then there is this:
A 2008 study by Harvard economist Jeffrey A. Miron has estimated that legalizing drugs would inject $76.8 billion a year into the U.S. economy — $44.1 billion from law enforcement savings, and at least $32.7 billion in tax revenue ($6.7 billion from marijuana, $22.5 billion from cocaine and heroin, remainder from other drugs).
So why not reduce the number of non-violent offenders in prison, particularly those who are in jail because of possession of small amounts of drugs? While we are at it, why not simply legalize marijuana?
Here is a artful explanation of why In-N-Out burgers are the best, bar none. After moving from California to Michigan about a decade ago, I can say that that I miss the hell out of In-N-Out.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled that Proposition 8, amending the California Constitution by eliminating the previously determined right to same-sex marriage under California law, was unconstitutional under the United States Constitution. The decision was made on narrow grounds.
Essentially the majority rules that, because California has previously allowed same-sex marriages, Proposition 8 was unconstitutional because it eliminated a previous right to same-sex marriages. The majority ruled that there was no rational basis for treating same-sex married couples differently that opposite-sex married couples since existing domestic partnership law in California gave each and every right other than the right to use the term “marriage” to same-sex couples. In effect, the majority concluded that the only effect of Proposition 8 was to denigrate the status of same-sex couples by denying their relationships the term of “marriage.” This, the majority concluded, was not a rational basis for Proposition 8. In the words of the court:
[b]y using their initiative power to target a minority group and withdraw a right that it possessed, without a legitimate reason for doing so, the People of California violated the Equal Protection Clause.
More from Jonathan Turley here.
You can read the decision here.
Tomorrow, sometime around or before 10 am, west coast time, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will release its opinion regarding California’s proposition 8.
I will go out on a limb and predict that the court will conclude that (i) Judge Vaughn Walker, the trial court judge, was not required to recuse himself from the trial merely because he may or may not be gay, (ii) the backers of Proposition 8 were entitled to defend the proposition given that both the California Governor and it’s Attorney General refused to do so, and (iii) Judge Walker’s decision that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional is correct. More info here. In any event, it would be reasonable to expect an immediate appeal to the US Supreme Court or a motion for rehearing en banc.
We shall see. The West Hollywood City Hall will be a crowded place in the morning.
- California gay wedding ban ruling due Tuesday in Proposition 8 case (mercurynews.com)
- Ruling Expected Tuesday On Federal Proposition 8 Appeal (sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com)
- Gay-marriage backers eagerly await appeals court’s Prop. 8 ruling (latimesblogs.latimes.com)
If you get arrested in California for any reason, the photos, e-mails and other personal data on your cell phone are now a bit safer from prying police eyes. A new law now requires law-enforcement officers in that state to obtain a warrant before searching the cell phone of a person placed under arrest.
- Assembly passes cell-phone privacy bill (sfgate.com)
- New law bans warrantless cell phone searches in California (textually.org)
(via Andrew Sullivan)
Fresno looks like Detroit. It’s awful.
– Meg Whitman, GOP candidate for governor of California.
- Meg Whitman Slammed By Detroit Mayor For ‘Awful’ Comment (huffingtonpost.com)
- Whitman compares economy in Fresno to Detroit (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Whitman compares economy in Fresno to Detroit (sfgate.com)
- Detroit to Whitman: Invest in struggling cities (sfgate.com)
Update: Who remembers “Fresno” the parody of nighttime soap operas like Dynasty and Dallas back in the 80s? Fresno, the world’s raisin capital.
Now, since he has taken a position as co-President of Oracle, HP has filed suit against him, essentially alleging that he is stealing HP secrets and handing them off to Oracle. They claim he cannot work at Oracle without disclosing HP confidential information.
Oracle has published a response:
“Oracle has long viewed HP as an important partner,” said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. “By filing this vindictive lawsuit against Oracle and Mark Hurd, the HP board is acting with utter disregard for that partnership, our joint customers, and their own shareholders and employees. The HP Board is making it virtually impossible for Oracle and HP to continue to cooperate and work together in the IT marketplace.”
Larry Ellison, shown in the embeded photo, is one tough cookie. This could either be a big battle or it may involve merely a settlement. But what is a fired employee supposed to do? Quit working in his industry? In California, I understand that any sort of non-compete agreements are particularly hard to enforce. But transferring confidential information is verboten. Legal analysis here.
Side note: Interestingly, HP is using Dropbox to distribute copies of the complaint. This would be a cheap way to share a document publicly for any business. And if you have an iPhone or iPad and you don’t have a (free) Dropbox account you should.
Updated: More legal analysis is available from The Recorder.
- Oracle Hires Mark Hurd as a Co-President (dailyfinance.com)
- Oracle names HP ex-CEO Mark Hurd as co-president (usatoday.com)
This week the California Secretary of State certified a voter initiative to appear on the ballot in November. The initiative, if approved by the voters, would legalize the personal possession and consumption of marijuana, and would allow cities and counties to regulate and tax commercial sales of the drug.
I predict it will pass. Probably the support will come from both users and farmers, but it also may get support from taxpayers. According to the New York Times, supporters of the proposition believe it could raise $1.2 Billion in taxes each year for a state with a $10 Billion deficit.
“We need the tax money,” said Richard Lee, founder of Oaksterdam University, a trade school for marijuana growers, in Oakland, who backed the ballot measure’s successful petition drive. “Second, we need the tax savings on police and law enforcement, and have that law enforcement directed towards real crime.”
It wasn’t enough for the Governator to simply veto a bill. In addition he sent the following message to the legislature:
Note the first letters of each line in the second and third paragraph. (h/t Huffington Post)
From Standish, Michigan (see the previous post) to Los Angeles. I have lived in Northern Michigan and also in LA. The Station Fire in Los Angeles is amazing and far larger and closer to heavily populated areas than any I saw when I lived there. Amazing pictures of the blaze are available, as usual, from The Big Picture. Thank God, Los Angeles wasn’t facing El Nino winds at the same time.
The budgetary situation in Sacramento is so severe the California controller is suspending payments of tax refunds, welfare checks and student grants, effective February 1. Why? The state government has been unable to close a $42 Billion budget deficit. The state is also considering the use of warrants to make payments. These are essentially promises to pay.
In 1992, California issued warrants and pressured state banks to accept them as cash. The banks went along at that time, but whether banks are sound enough to essentially finance the state’s deficit is hihgly doubtful.