Monday, June 06, 2005

Hey, groovers!

Hope everyone's weekend was good.
It was good to see a good sized handful of the courthouse kids at Freddie's watching San Saba on Friday. San Saba played a good set, throwing in a few Wilco tunes and even a Willie Nelson song or two. Freddie's was a little hot out there by the stage, but they had cold, tasty ritas, and I think everyone had fun.
Saturday I went and saw the latest Star Wars movie, Episode 3. It was pretty good. I call it "pretty good" with the understanding that I'm rating it primarily against the other Star Wars movies, and not, say, Apocalypse Now or The Godfather. At any rate, it had some pretty amazing special effects, and most importantly, now it's over, having granted us all of the stuff we needed to see (i.e., Luke and Leia being born, the creation of Darth Vader, etc.), even if not always in the way that we had hoped to see these events unfold (the Jedi were all killed by being shot in the back by a bunch of crappy clone troopers?).
Sunday I rocked with the Mono Ensemble, and we sounded pretty good. Hopefully we'll have a CD out sometime soon to share with everyone.

And for a teensy little rant, I go with this:
http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/06/06/scotus.medical.marijuana/index.html
I'm not going to sit here and argue about whether or not marijuana should be legalized (although I believe that it should be), and I'm not going to argue about whether or not there is a legitimate need for the use of medical marijuana which can't be addressed by the use of other drugs (incidentally, I'm not sure that this is a convincing argument for legalizing marijuana, given the availability of alternative remedies- even as a person who defends marijuana legalization, this always sounded like a weak way to try to backdoor pot legalization to me). I am, annoyed, however, by the federal government's increasing extension of it's own powers by abusing and manipulating the Commerce Clause.
The Commerce Clause, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution, holds that Congress has the power to regulate interstate commerce, including all activities which might have an impact on this interstate commerce. The federal government has long used this clause to regulate activities which were originally left to the regulation of the individual states. All sorts of statutes, from laws against racial segregation in local restaurants to a wide variety of federal criminal laws have been enacted under the judicial fiction that these activities play a substantial role in interstate commerce.
I'm here today to bitch about that issue- the federal government using the damn Commerce Clause to intrude on every conceivable area of our lives. Although sometimes noble intentions have been behind the use of the Commerce Clause to trump state laws (as in the case of preventing local businesses from practicing racial discrimination in the course of their business), I think that more recent history has shown us that the federal govenrment is willing to use the Commerce Clause to infringe upon any area of state decision making that the federal government sees fit.
I don't know about you kids, but I'd rather live in a country where the local government gets to decide what rules the local people have to abide by (within limits, of course, which should be designed to protect state or local goverments from robbing citizens of their civil liberties). I like the idea that different states actually represent different peoples and different ways of doing things, with different ideas, customs, and practices. I don't like the idea of some group of people a thousand miles away telling me how to live. (I don't hate the idea as much as Timothy McVeigh did, maybe, but I find the idea distasteful, just the same). I respect the need for the federal government to step in when people's individual liberties are threatened, but when the feds are stepping in merely to enforce the uniformity of a set of laws that the people of some states don't agree with (as evidenced by the fact that these states have already passed medical marijuana laws) and where there is no clear case of any individual rights or liberties being threatened, I feel like the federal goverment is gravely overstepping its bounds. In the given case, the federal goverment is saying that a plant which can be grown, cultivated, and consumed all in the same house is somehow a threat to interstate commerce. It is entirely possible to punish people who try to transport marijuana across state lines without having to prosecute people who cultivate and possess the plant for personal use.
Anyway, I'm just saying that we don't have to all be identical people across this far flung country of ours. It's bad enough that corporate America wants every city in the country to have a McDonald's and a Wal-Mart and identical shopping malls. Now the feds want all of our local laws to be identical as well, and this includes cases where the differences in the laws don't seem to hurt anyone (like these medical marijuana laws). They want to impose a uniform morality upon the entire country, and their laws are apparently not meant to merely be a means of protecting the American people.
OK, now I have a client with a screaming kid in here, so I gots to go....

Keep on keepin' on.

1 comment:

lee said...

Steanso--the solution is so obvious, dude. We must impeach these liberal, activist judges who outlaw medicinal marijuana. If only we'd listen to Tom DeLay and John Cornyn, we wouldn't have the problem of the Supreme Court equating marijuana with wheat. It should be noted that Justices William Renhquist and Clarence Thomas dissented from the majority. I'm paraphrasing their words a bit here, but the gist of their dissent was: "Heeeeyyy man, you guys are waaaayyyy out of line hereeee. This ain't wheat."