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You Commit Three Felonies a Day

L. Gordon Crovitz: You Commit Three Felonies a Day - WSJ.com
Boston civil-liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate calls his new book "Three Felonies a Day," referring to the number of crimes he estimates the average American now unwittingly commits because of vague laws. New technology adds its own complexity, making innocent activity potentially criminal. Mr. Silverglate describes several cases in which prosecutors didn't understand or didn't want to understand technology. This problem is compounded by a trend that has accelerated since the 1980s for prosecutors to abandon the principle that there can't be a crime without criminal intent.... These miscarriages are avoidable. Under the English common law we inherited, a crime requires intent. This protection is disappearing in the U.S. As Mr. Silverglate writes, "Since the New Deal era, Congress has delegated to various administrative agencies the task of writing the regulations," even as "Congress has demonstrated a growing dysfunction in crafting legislation that can in fact be understood." Prosecutors identify defendants to go after instead of finding a law that was broken and figuring out who did it. Expect more such prosecutions as Washington adds regulations.

September 23, 2009

Pres. Obama promotes the health plan that subverts his goals

How the Baucus bill contradicts Obama's goals - Sep. 22, 2009
NEW YORK (Fortune) -- It's easy to see why the round of interviews President Obama gave on Sunday did little to dispel the public's confusion about his health-care agenda. The august group of network anchors and political commentators quizzing the president failed to ask him the following fundamental question: Why does the proposal Obama has been praising as the best way to achieve bi-partisan support actually contradict the Administration's stated goals? That proposal was unveiled by Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus last week as America's Healthy Future Act of 2009. The bill, however, virtually guarantees two wrenching changes to the health-care system that Obama either strongly opposes or wishes to avoid. First, it offers irresistible incentives for America's big employers to dump their coverage, shattering the system that's reigned since World War II. Second, a look at the bill's numbers shows conclusively that the Baucus legislation would impose the equivalent of a giant tax hike on middle-class families, who would have far less money left over after buying insurance than they do today.

September 18, 2009

Studios tell FCC more movies come at the price of consumer device control

Cable: Let us lock down your TV (we'll offer movies sooner) - Ars Technica
The movie studio crusade to take over your home theater system just got an endorsement from Time Warner Cable, whose top staff visited the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last Wednesday to ask, yet again, for permission to let cable operators limit video streams to HDTVs and DVRs. At the meeting, representatives of TWC and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) backed the scheme being pushed by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA): Hollywood would send movies to cable before they appear on DVD, but the cable operators would clamp down on some of the features found in their subscribers' TV systems. Specifically, consumers wouldn't be able to receive these flicks from an analog connection, which the studios say is more susceptible to piracy than a digital stream. The overall scheme is called Selectable Output Control (SOC), a practice currently prohibited by the FCC.
Personally, I'm in favor of owning equipment that permits line in and line out. I'm funny that way.

Pelosi: As White Killed Milk, so racist GOP anger may kill Obama

Pelosi Says Anti-Obama Rhetoric Is Reminiscent of '70s San Francisco - washingtonpost.com
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday said she worries that the protests of President Obama's health-care legislation may be of a similar nature to anti-gay rhetoric in the late 1970s in San Francisco, which culminated in the assassinations of two of her home town's political leaders. Pelosi, responding to a question about anti-Obama sentiment, said that partisans on all sides of an issue have the right to voice their opinion. But after pausing, he added: "I have concerns about some of the language that is being used, because I saw this myself in the late '70s in San Francisco. This kind of rhetoric was very frightening, and it created a climate in which violence took place."

45,000 Americans die each year for lack of insurance

The Raw Story | Study: 45,000 Americans die each year for lack of insurance
Harvard researchers published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health a study which reveals roughly 45,000 American adults die every year because they are not covered by health insurance. Researchers specifically noted that lack of health insurance now kills more adults than kidney disease.