Strange Knife Laws In Oklahoma

A recent bill in Oklahoma – Knife Rights’ Oklahoma Knife Law Reform bill SB 1159 – passed in the Oklahoma House by 76-5, and has already been passed unanimously by the Senate. The bill now goes to the Governor, Mary Fallin, for signing.

The law would remove dagger, bowie knife, dirk knife and sword cane from the list of items prohibited from carrying in Oklahoma. Switchblades in Oklahoma were made legal last year with bill HB 1911.

SB 1159 will be effective statewide upon enactment on November 1, assuming Governor Fallin signs the bill.

http://openstates.org/ok/bills/2015-2016/SB1159/

http://www.koco.com/news/Fallin-signs-bill-legalizing-switchblade-knives-in-Oklahoma/32624906

http://www.kniferights.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=299&Itemid=1

http://www.kniferights.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=358

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President Plans New Background Check Law

President Barack Obama waves as he walks with his daughter Malia Obama across the South Lawn on return to the White House in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, after their family vacation in Hawaii. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin, AP / APAccording to the publication The Hill, U.S. President Obama plans to increase background-check requirements for those who purchase guns from high-volume dealers.

He would be doing this through the use of executive order.

The President announced Friday that will meet today, Monday, with Attorney General Loretta Lynch “to discuss options” for reducing gun deaths in America, according to The Washington Post.

The Post, citing unnamed people “familiar with the proposal,” said the White House will unveil the background checks and other policy specifics next week.  The policy proposals would include closing the gun show loophole.

CNN states he will have a one-hour live town hall on gun control at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, on Thursday and meet with CNN reporter Anderson Cooper.

Obama used his weekly radio last address Friday to pledge a continued fight against “our epidemic of gun violence.”

“Because I get too many letters from parents, and teachers, and kids, to sit around and do nothing,” Obama said.

“I get letters from responsible gun owners who grieve with us every time these tragedies happen; who share my belief that the Second Amendment guarantees a right to bear arms; and who share my belief we can protect that right while keeping an irresponsible, dangerous few from inflicting harm on a massive scale.”

(Updated for credit)

http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/03/politics/barack-obama-guns-town-hall/index.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/01/01/obama-to-impose-new-gun-control-curbs-next-week/

(Article inspired by: R. Montgomery)

 

 

Civil Asset Forfeiture

What is Civil Asset Forfeiture?

Civil Asset Forfeiture in the United States, sometimes called civil judicial forfeiture, is a legal process in which law enforcement officers take assets from persons suspected of involvement with crime or illegal activity without necessarily charging the owners with wrongdoing.

While civil procedure generally involves a dispute between two private citizens, civil forfeiture involves a dispute between law enforcement and property, such as money or valuable items such as a car.  The item should be suspected of being involved in a crime.

Wikipedia states that to get back the seized property, “owners must prove it was not involved in criminal activity.”

This is an odd twist:  usually, the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but in this case, the owner of the item must prove his or her innocence.

Last Thursday, SB 443, California’s attempt to end civil-asset forfeiture and “equitable sharing” abuse, failed passage in the State Assembly, 24 to 44, according to the National Review.

What is equitable sharing?

The National Review writes that “Forfeiture practices are further complicated with the existence of equitable-sharing agreements. Therein, state and local agencies partner with federal law enforcement, seize property, and proceed with the forfeiture motion through the jurisdiction with the least restrictive process, oftentimes the federal courts. The agencies then share the proceeds. This allows law enforcement to wholly sidestep any legal protections guaranteed by the state.”

More on Civil Asset Forfeiture by Wikipedia:

“Proponents see civil forfeiture as a powerful tool to thwart criminal organizations involved in the illegal drug trade, with $12 billion annual profits, since it allows authorities to seize cash and other assets resulting from narcotics trafficking. Proponents argue that it is an efficient method since it allows law enforcement agencies to use these seized proceeds to further battle illegal activity, that is, directly converting bad things to good purposes by harming criminals economically while helping law enforcement financially. Critics argue that innocent owners become entangled in the process such that their right to property is violated, with few legal protections and due process rules to protect them in situations where they are presumed guilty instead of being presumed innocent.”

The ACLU writes:

“Civil forfeiture allows police to seize — and then keep or sell — any property they allege is involved in a crime. Owners need not ever be arrested or convicted of a crime for their cash, cars, or even real estate to be taken away permanently by the government.”

Why would we allow civil asset forfeiture?

The Heritage Foundation writes that Civil Asset Forfeiture is intended to give law enforcement a tool they can use to go after organized crime – mafia, etc. – including drug dealers and their organizations.

The Heritage Foundation continues:  “Unfortunately, civil asset forfeiture is also used by law enforcement as a way to generate revenue, and many of its targets are innocent members of the public.”

In regards to the California Senate Bill 443, the bill “would not affect law enforcement’s power to seize property, based on probable cause. Police would still be able to hold seized property in evidence rooms and impound lots until forfeiture proceedings are resolved.”

A Sacramento Bee letter to the editor writes:

“Instead, SB 443 would only allow seized property to be forfeited (to the government) once its owner has been convicted of any crime. California already requires this for most seizures. Several states, including Montana, Nevada and New Mexico, recently enacted this vital protection of due process.

“Moreover, whenever California agencies collaborate with the federal government, SB 443 would first require the federal government to obtain a criminal conviction before proceeding with forfeiture. One investigation found the federal government, in cooperation with California agencies, took nearly $300 million in cash from people never charged with a crime.”

http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article34602312.html

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/423957/civil-asset-forfeiture-california

https://www.aclu.org/issues/criminal-law-reform/reforming-police-practices/asset-forfeiture-abuse

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2014/03/civil-asset-forfeiture-7-things-you-should-know

Strange YouTube Copyright Issue

Recently, the video game website Kotaku uploaded a video to YouTube that featured some automatic Mario Maker levels that basically play themselves.

Soon after, they were sent a copyright notice for that same video. The claimant was Playboy.

It wasn’t Nintendo, but Hugh Hefner’s operation.

Playboy does not own Mario, nor did it create Mario Maker. It did not build the level on display in the uploaded video.  Yet the video was still flagged.

Specifically, what was being flagged was the level called “Don’t touch that controller!” by Wii U owner Alex, a level that begins around the 1:09 mark in this video:


The Cabal

Techdirt states that it has to do with YouTube’s “ContentID” system.

After speaking to Mike Rougeau – who is Playboy’s gaming editor – the writer for Kotaku found out that Playboy had actually uploaded a video of that very same level.

This must be the source of the copyright claim, according to Rougeau.

Automatic Mario Maker levels play out the exact same way for everyone that experiences them, and that segment of footage was identical for both Playboy and Kotaku – down to the very last frame. YouTube’s automated system seems to have flagged it for that reason.

Kotaku submitted a dispute and it got resolved, and the people at Playboy were also aware of what’s going on. “I spoke to our video department about it this morning and we were dismissing all claims as soon as we were notified of them,” Rougeau told Kotaku.

This problem could become an issue for bloggers as well as YouTube publishers.

Kotaku believes that the problem was YouTube’s automated system.

However, when a YouTube video gets flagged for copyright violations, the claimant has a whole 30 days to review your dispute, during which your video typically stays up while also making money for the claimant. Sometimes, the claimaint will even be able to block the video from being viewed entirely. Even if the dispute gets dismissed, it might mean waiting days if not an entire month for the motion to actually get through. In the meantime, any YouTuber who supports themselves with ads and just wanted to show off the level to their subscribers, or perhaps added some good commentary to the footage, will lose revenue (as well as gain an unnecessary headache.)

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150831/05364632117/everything-same-is-infringing-how-hugh-hefner-used-mario-bros-to-show-youtubes-copyright-system-sucks.shtml

http://kotaku.com/super-mario-maker-exposes-more-youtube-copyright-stupid-1727321308

Texas Voter ID Law Struck Down


TYT Network

Think progress writes that “a unanimous panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in an opinion written by a George W. Bush appointee, held that Texas’s voter ID law violates the Voting Rights Act and must, at the very least, be significantly weakened.”

According to The New York Times, on Wednesday, the federal appeals court panel agreed that Texas’ voter ID law had a discriminatory effect on black and Latino voters.

The New York Times writes that it was the first time a federal appeals court had ruled against such a law.

NYT:  “It was also a sign that the Voting Rights Act remains functional, despite the 2013 Supreme Court decision that cut out a key provision requiring federal oversight of jurisdictions, like Texas, with histories of racial discrimination.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/07/opinion/the-real-voter-fraud-is-texas-id-law.html?_r=0

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2015/08/05/3688384/breaking-federal-appeals-court-strikes-down-texass-voter-id-law/

Chris Christie Threatens To Get Rid Of Colorado Marijuana

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 4.31.47 PMAccording to MediaITE, the New Jersey Governor (and presidential candidate) gave a warning to people who live in states like Colorado and Washington where recreational use of the drug is currently legal.

Christie was at a “Telling It Like It Is” town-hall-style meeting at the Salt Hill Pub in Newport, New Hampshire.

“If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it,” Christie said according to Bloomerg Politics. “As of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws.”

(Updated report)

http://www.mediaite.com/online/christie-warns-colorado-pot-smokers-enjoy-it-while-you-can/

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-07-28/smoke-that-pot-now-christie-tells-users-in-states-that-allow-it

What Are The 19 Hate Groups In South Carolina?

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SLPC) lists 19 hate groups that are active in South Carolina.  That number is being cited in numerous articles due to the church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.  What groups are listed by the SLPC?

Group                                                                       Ideology                       Location

Americans Have Had Enough
Bob’s Underground Graduate Seminar/BUGS
Confederate Hammerskins
Creativity Alliance
Dixie Republic
Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
Original Knight Riders Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
Patriotic Flags
Southern National Congress
Southern Nationalist Network
Southern Patriot Shoppe
True Light Pentecost Church
Whitakeronline

(Updated post)

http://www.rawstory.com/2015/06/south-carolina-is-home-to-at-least-19-known-hate-groups/

http://www.splcenter.org/hate-map#s=SC