December 3, 2015

"Swearing in front of women and children, and making fun of someone who doesn’t accept a duel... Singing 'The Star Spangled Banner' in a nontraditional or disrespectful manner..."

"Requiring any able-bodied man over the age of 18 to respond to the state Department of Natural Resources to help out in cases of emergency....  Prohibiting certain endurance contests, such as walk-a-thons... Making it a crime for a doctor to keep or display the remains of a deformed human being or a 'human monstrosity,' except for scientific purposes for medical classes...."

Michigan repeals some old laws.

ADDED: That bit about requiring able-bodied men to serve in an emergency reminded me of a passage in Oliver Sacks, "On the Move: A Life" describing his experience in Canada in 1960:
Having traveled by plane and train, I decided to complete my westward journey by hitchhiking— and almost immediately got conscripted for firefighting. I wrote to my parents,

British Columbia has had no rain for more than thirty days, and there are forest fires raging everywhere (you have probably read about them). A sort of martial law exists, and the forest commission can conscript anyone they feel is suitable. I was quite glad of the experience, and spent a day in the forests with other bewildered conscripts, dragging hoses to and fro, and trying to be useful. However it was only for one fire they wanted me, and when at last we shared a beer over its smoking dwindling ruin, I felt a real glow of confraternal pride that it had been vanquished.

British Columbia at this time of the year seems bewitched. The sky is low and purple, even at midday, from the smoke of innumerable fires, and the air has a terrible stultifying heat and stillness. People seem to move and crawl with the tedium of a slow motion film, and a sense of imminence is never absent. In all the churches prayers are said for rain, and god knows what strange rites are practiced in private to make it come. Every night lightning will strike somewhere, and more acres of valuable timber conflagrate like tinder. Or sometimes there is just an instantaneous apparently sourceless combustion arising like some multifocal cancer in a doomed area.
Not wanting to be re-conscripted for firefighting— I enjoyed a day of it, but that was enough— I took a Greyhound bus for the remaining six hundred miles to Vancouver.


cubanbob said...

What a great idea repealing old, unneeded laws. Imagine if Congress and every state legislature had a once a decade year where all they would do is repeal laws and regulations that were no longer useful or needed and other than funding measures needed passed no new laws.

Joshua R. Poulson said...

Always good to see laws going away, but I think there's a great social disconnect from removing the tradition of "Hue and Cry".

lgv said...

All 50 states should do the same, then get someone to compile the complete list for a book.

Besides many of those laws will be covered in the new hate speech laws.

John Henry said...

What CubanBob said.

If I were president, I would refuse to sign any new laws into being that did not repeal at least 2 existing laws.

We are not just a nation of laws, we are a nation of far too many laws. Many of them silly.

This puts every single one of us in danger of a vindictive cop or prosecutor. We are all criminals no matter how much we try to obey the law.

John Henry

Ipso Fatso said...

Well it's only 47 years too late for Jose Feliciano. I still think his version of the Star Spangled Banner at Tiger Stadium during the World Series in 1968 is one of the best. Sorry I couldn't link it.

Gahrie said...

Imagine if Congress and every state legislature had a once a decade year where all they would do is repeal laws and regulations that were no longer useful or needed and other than funding measures needed passed no new laws.

I would go further and put a sunset clause on all laws that made them invalid after ten years.

clint said...

Good for them. This doesn't lend itself to the same stump-speech demagoguery as passing silly laws, but it's valuable work.

"Gahrie said...

I would go further and put a sunset clause on all laws that made them invalid after ten years."

Wouldn't work.

They'd bundle large sections of code and pass them as a block every ten years.

Think of the "debt ceiling" kabuki theater, but with the criminal code.

Unknown said...

Good. If some wimp declines a challenge to a duel he deserves to be mocked.

Skeptical Voter said...

I think Michigan should leave the law about singing The Star Spangled Banner in a disrespectful or nontraditional fashion on the books. That poor song has had more assaults on it than can be counted. Of course we sing The Star Spangled Banner too often--at the start of baseball and football games etc. And every time some bozo or bimbo mangles, twists, spindles and mutilates the tune in the spirit of "let's try it this way" I shudder.

In fairness, it's a difficult song to sing---and because it is a difficult song to sing, the singers try to cover up their flubs and mistakes. Perhaps the lowlight of that effort was Rosie O'Donnell grabbing her crotch when she was singing the song before a game in San Diego. She'd screwed the song up royally--so the fans were treated to her visual exhibition.

rhhardin said...

Any laws repealed ought to automatically go into effect in an adjacent state.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was a list of demands from "We, The Students of Unemployable U"

cubanbob said...

@clint 10.08 you have a point which is why one of my pet rants is a constitutional amendment that applies to bother the federal government and state governments (and their subdivisions)that would be a housekeeping amendment for legislation and regulation :single subject, preamble statement of purpose and intent, limiting principle, citation of authority, sunset clause to not exceed twenty years (renewable if needed in twenty year blocks) and that it be applicable to the respective governments and their officials and employees with no exemptions or immunities. Of course it's just a fantasy proposal.

Wilbur said...

That was Rosanne (Barr?), not Rosie O'Donnell. She literally screeched the anthem to the boos of the crowd, then grabbed her crotch and spit at the end. I guess she thought people would think it was funny.

Not even Rosie O'Donnell is that oblivious to the sensibilities of the public.

Quaestor said...

I suppose those Michigan legislators feel pretty proud of themselves for disposing of laws that haven't been enforced within living memory. Of course the net effect of this cleansing of the statues is nothing more than reducing a certain weight of book pages into recyclable paper. If they're really interested in liberty they should repeal some laws that have had actual measurable consequences in currently lived lives.

But they'll never do that... might give somebody radical ideas or something.

Gabriel said...

Some great ideas, but unfortunately an earlier Congress cannot bind a later one.

I like the automatic sunset provision, but it would have to be a Constitutional amendment in order to bind Congress--assuming they don't find some legal end run around it like they did with budgets for most of Obama's term.

If I had to pick one Constitutional amendment I think this is the one we need:

...the sanction of Zaleucus, which so long maintained the integrity of his republic. A Locrian, who proposed any new law, stood forth in the assembly of the people with a cord round his neck, and if the law was rejected, the innovator was instantly strangled.--Decline and fall of the Roman Empire, Ch. 44

Wince said...

Jose Feliciano Star-Spangled Banner 1968 World Series.

Bob Loblaw said...

I would go further and put a sunset clause on all laws that made them invalid after ten years.

Sunset clauses don't seem to do much in practice. Legislatures tend to renew laws pretty much automatically, which defeats the purpose.

Tina848 said...

They only repealed the Syphilis requirement to get married in Pennsylvania in 2003. You do have a 3 day waiting period from issuance of the licence and the ceremony. However, we can buy 10 rifles in 1 day, if you pass the background check.

Tom Ridge (R) was the governor and repealed many obsolete laws going back to the 1600's. I do not believe this type of project was undertaken by any subsequent governors.

Milwaukie guy said...

Completely OT but have to ask.

I was trying to remember the first [of four] governor of Illinois to go to prison during my lifetime. I thought Kerner, but then, is that true, Kerner Commission Kerner? Yup.

When I Binged it, I typed in illinois governor and by that time the second thing up was Illinois Governors in Prison. Hilarious. I clicked through and got a Huff Post Chicago recycled AP article from 2013 that was headlined "Illinois Governors in Prison: 4 Of State's Last 7 Governors Were Convicted, Imprisoned." I don't think they count the current governor.

I lived in Illinois from 1957 to 2007. Half of our governors during that period went to prison. I challenge all readers of this blog: Beat That Mofos. Chicago corruption? The entire state is rotten to the core.

I would particularly like to hear from New Jersey and Louisiana. Whaddya got? Illinoiz rulz!

I could never understand why anybody would vote for anybody from Chicago for president. We don't want nobody nobody sent.

Unknown said...

Not Rosie the ctotch grabber. Rosanne Barr.

buwaya said...

This is a good first step to legalizing dueling.
Banning dueling was a very early law based on "enlightened" attitudes, one of the first of the busybody acts.
Its been a long time, but now we are learning why we had it. Much of the modern malaise could be cured thereby.

tljhound said...

One of my 86 year old mother's stories of her childhood is of the time, 1930something, she and her younger brother were riding with her father in the NJ Pine Barrens when they were stopped by a state trooper who was impressing able bodied passersby to fight a forest fire. He was handed a shovel and with others got into the back of a truck and driven away. The kids and women sat in the shade along the dirt road waiting for the men who returned at dark. She said the trooper was nice but the mosquitoes terrible.

Chuck said...

Among the laws left in place in Michigan: Michigan Compiled Laws 750.338 and 338a. Gross sexual indecency. Indecent acts between two men (.338) and two women (.338a), whether public or private, is a felony punishable by imprisonment up to life.

SJ said...

I seem to remember a court case about that swearing-in-front-of-children law.

In my mind, I heard about it on the radio in the early 90s...

But the nearest I can find is a case from 1999, and a court ruling which struck down the conviction in 2002.

The news stories about the 2002 ruling are vague. Was the conviction overturned, or was the law itself ruled unconstitutional?

If the law was ruled unconstitutional, then is this legislative action a simply a clean-up of a law that is no longer applicable?

JamesB.BKK said...

Gabriel 1:13 pm: One can shorten the phrase, "find some legal end run around" to a word: "breach."