In "Curious "Beekeepers"? "

Sounds like a job for Harvard Symbologist Robert Langdon. (And a young, attractive "Internet Researcher" who helps him along the way, but inexplicably has never heard of smartmobs or viral marketing until Langdon spells it out for her.)

In "Let's Swap Again (Like We Did Last Summer)"

Any way to get in on the action before it's too late? (I'm flush with postage and blank CDs and a yearning desire to share)

In "How do we clean our skulls?"

My brother used to do this for the Museum of Natural History at the University of Michigan. The "bug room" was, by far, the worst smelling room I've ever been in; I'm not sure if it was something the bugs released, or the bacteria likely involved, but it was awful. That said, he had really cool things like a large snake that the bugs had turned into a gorgeous skeleton. I can't believe I just wrote "gorgeous skeleton." But it was, really. Okay, keep me away from your kids, too.

In "Primitive Girl"

"Elohim" means "God"; was that intentional, or did you mean the Morlocks' counterparts, the Eloi?

In "Magnificent Offering Now Keeps Everybody Young"

Dudes, a man never admits to idle onanism, n'est-pas? (hyphenated french? why not)

In "New Jersey is just the beginning"

um . . . yeah. that "Post new comment" button.

The explosive device is a foot long and shaped like a cigar with a pair of land mines at one end. Has WWN always been this good?

The explosive device is a foot long and shaped like a cigar with a pair of land mines at one end. Has WWN always been this good?

In "Your marriage? Null and void."

California judges, including those on the supreme court, are subject to re-election, and while it's rare for them to be put out of office by voters, it has happened at least once that I can recall. So if they let us down on the second pass, there's always that option.

Maybe we'll just have to wait for the courts to rule on this, rather than the executive branch. That's the route other states have taken to invalidating discriminatory laws such as "straight only" marriage laws. Gavin Newsom may have had his heart in the right place, but I doubt if he thought it would stand up under judicial review. While it did get him interviews on national television, and bring a lot of us around who didn't think we liked him as a candidate, it also caused a lot of people to get their hopes up -- hopes that were at least damaged today. (I don't mean by this, by the way, that people shouldn't "get their hopes up," or that the marriages shouldn't have happened -- they had good effects in other ways, both for the people involved and the country) The problem is that, under separation of powers, we don't entrust the executive branch to interpret the constitutionality of our laws. California law says one thing, and Newsom felt, correctly, that it was unconstitutional. But he's not allowed to act against those laws on that basis; courts need to invalidate laws. Now this may seem counterfactual after four years of Bush, Ashcroft et al., but that's precisely the problem with those guys; in addition to being right-wing (which plenty of other people are who nevertheless seem to be able to respect laws and the constitution), they believe that they get to decide what is or isn't required by the constitution. Viz. the Guantanmo detainees. This is not to equate Newsom and Bush, but rather to say that what the court did is not in itself a bad thing. Now, you could certainly say that the court should have ruled on the constitutionality of the law. Courts have a policy of avoiding claims of unconstitutionality if at all possible, which is what they did here. But they won't be able to duck forever. Cases are in the pipeline as we speak that will treat that issue directly, and those are the cases we should focus our effort on.

In "Bring on the stocks and pillories"

One of the problems, at least with California's system of sex offender registration, is that it doesn't differentiate between a serial child rapist and someone convicted of indecent exposure, as PigAlien noted. Another problem is that it is a lifetime registration. When I was a public defender, I had a client who was convicted of flashing when he was about 19 years old, and was required to register. A few years later, he moved away from California. 20 years later, when he returned to California, some "well-intentioned" citizens found his name on the registration list and proceeded to follow him around, wrote "molester" on his car, and put fliers on neighbors' cars stating that he was a child molester. When he called the police to complain when two of these neighbors were following him in his car, he got arrested (and thus became my client) for failure to register (even though he'd obviously registered, or else the neighbors wouldn't have found him on the list). His life was a nightmare because of this requirement, even though he had stayed out of trouble (in California and the other states he'd lived in) for 20 years. The reason I think this relates to shaming and normative punishment (and why I don't really think the turn this thread has taken is that bad of a derail) is that under this kind of system, the registration requirement serves a shaming purpose. Of course, when properly used it alerts people to the presence of people who may have a greater danger of re-offending than other criminals (although no one in this thread has cited any statistics either way, I'll grant it for the purposes of argument), and therefore may pose a risk to the community, for people like my client, who have a relatively minor offense, lifetime registration ceases to serve any purpose but shame, and most likely does create Rorshach's "secondary deviance." He has since moved away from California again, leading me to suspect that the registration requirement is really intended to create a defacto system of bansishment. A return to the "old ways," indeed.

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