Thursday, October 11, 2007

Title 18. § 1461. Mailing obscene or crime-inciting matter

Pleasant little passage, section 1461. Makes for some fascinating reading, perhaps poetic, what with its repetitive stanzas beginning with "Every", its mini refrains "where, or how, or by whom" and "drug, or medicine, or thing". Until one realizes that this is U.S. law. I'm not sure what the legal status of this law is, though. I wonder if the Supreme Court has made it a de facto anachronism with decisions such as Roe v. Wade. §1461, as written, says that anything "indecent, immoral, obscene, or filthy" is unmailable and makes the sender and receiver subject to fines or imprisonment. Who decides what "article, matter, thing, device, or substance" will fall into the vague list of adjectives the code provides? Until checked by the courts, that is the job of the Judicial Officer for the United States Postal Service. He decides. Perhaps Boticelli's Birth of Venus should be contraband? Or maybe James Patterson's latest bestseller? If you take delivery of a daily paper via USPS, you could even be arrested with your coffee should anything indecent happen in the news.

We are living in a free country. Go back to worrying about the State Children's Health Insurance Program Bush vetoed because "Poor Kids First". What?! Poor kids first? Why on earth does such a motto make the least bit of sense to anyone? Poor kids first? Poor kids equal, I say! Poor kids are important. Rich kids are important. Middle-income kids are important. They are all, together, going to be the future. We should care for all of them. (I am not pushing a health care program here, just a perspective). Why do poor kids have a right to be put first, ahead of kids born to higher-income families? What crime have middle-income kids committed to make them less worthy than the country's poorest kids? Is having two hard-working parents who struggle to put food on the table, and succeed, struggle to put a roof over their children's' heads, and succeed, struggle to buy clothing for their children, and succeed, but have little left over for health insurance suddenly something to be ashamed of? Are these children to be denied health care because of the sweat and dedication of their parent? Can we in good conscious reward the poor, "Poor Kids First", while we punish middle-income kids by making them "Second Class Middle-Income Kids" who can't get into the Poor Kids program, but also can't afford private health insurance like their more fortunate cousins?

Origin of the dollar sign. A mystery. Rand suggests the sign of the dollar $ is the monogram of our country, the U of United superimposed upon the S of States. That sign on the "fat pig-like creature in all the cartoons" is our sign, debased.

Gabe Nevin in Paranoid Park , one of this week's features at the New York Film Festival.

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