Nobody looking but Gov

If you thought the Fourth Amendment was endangered by things like
drug-courier profiles, no-knock raids and bogus drug searches, get ready
for something worse.

As reported in the Sept. 22 Orange County Register, local government
has approved a plan to aerially map every property in Orange County.
And we’re not talking a few snappy Polaroids either. “The county
government will soon have at its disposal a digital database containing
three-dimensional images of every square foot of Orange County.”

Roll over George Orwell, tell Aldous Huxley the news.

The New York firm which will do the mapping promises for a mere
$184,000 to deliver hi-res, 3-D shots of all visible exterior angles on
homes, apartments, businesses, tool sheds and chicken coops.

The reason the authorities are trying on their Big Brother costume is
to keep tighter tabs on their less-than-law-abiding siblings — like
building-code violators and narco-nudniks — to determine, as the
Register later editorialized, “whether you’re growing hemp alongside the
cherry tomatoes.” Don’t want any cannabis growing near the cucumbers.

“The question,” as the Register pins it, “is whether we want to
create this sort of society, in which — in the name of fighting crime,
drugs, terrorism or whatnot — the authorities are empowered to use
every conceivable technology to monitor individuals, law abiding or

The streets of San Francisco

Amazingly enough, if the Fourth Amendment means little-to-nothing in
Orange County, it still means something in San Francisco — at least for
the moment.


Supervisor Amos Brown’s proposed measure
that would have allowed cops to seize the cars of drug suspects, as they do across the bay in Oakland, even if no criminal charges are ever substantiated. On Monday, in a rare bout of sensibility, the Board of Supervisors hammered Brown’s proposal, voting to send it to the place where bad ideas go when they die (probably to prepare for reincarnation in some other hapless town).

“In this ordinance,” said Supervisor Leslie Katz, “the forfeiting of vehicles runs the risk of forfeiting those rights we must hold dear, and that is my primary concern. The presumption of innocence is one of the primary tenets of American jurisprudence.”

Brown, of course, was bummed. “We’ve listened to the people who conveyed their fear, their trauma and their personal pain,” he offered in justification for the measure, as quoted in the Sept. 26 San Francisco Examiner.

Apparently, however, he never listened to someone who has had his property wrongfully filched by authorities and had to sue the city to get it back even though charges were either not filed or substantiated.

Olympic stupidity
Call your office, Ben Johnson. In its rabid attempt to purge the games of any drug stiffer than aspirin, the International Olympic Committee decided yesterday to strip Romanian gymnast Andreea Raducan’s gold medal from the women’s all-around.

Was the 4-foot-10, 82-pound, 16-year-old pumping herself full of human growth hormone and ‘roids? Uh, no. She was suffering a few sniffles and her team doctor gave her an over-the-counter cold-and-flu med. After taking the medicine, she tested positive for pseudoephedrine.

“We feel we have no choice,” said IOC Director General Francois Carrard. “It’s tough, but that’s what it’s all about. In the fight against doping, we have to be tough and be blind to emotions and feelings.” He should have added, “and brains, too.”

Pseudoephedrine does not happen to be a performance-enhancing drug; it’s the same decongestant used in Sudafed. Bet you didn’t know that stuff could improve your softball game, did you?

While the IOC will hear an appeal on the matter today, as it stands now, one protest poster summed the situation perfectly: “Thrown out for having a cold.”

A bug’s life
Believe it or not, bees are the latest buzz in the treatment of America’s drug of choice, booze. As Danny M. Boyd reported Sept. 21 for the Associated Press, honeybees and humans both share a taste for alcohol. In fact, bees hit the sauce so hard that, other than perhaps Boris Yeltsin, they are the only known organisms that drink straight ethanol — a form of alcohol typically reserved for things like cleaning solutions, solvents, rocket fuel and college fraternity stunts.

Given their naturally dipsomaniacal ways, researchers are attempting to use bees in alcohol-abuse testing instead of the usual vertebrates, like rats and monkeys — tossing, I suppose, a bone to the frothy-mouth animal-rights protesters marching outside the lab with gigantic posters of vivisected kitties and Frankenbunnies. While bees are tremendously helpful in this area, the jury is still, unfortunately, out as to whether other invertebrates, such as congressional Republicans for instance, would serve well in other research testing situations.

Thus far, the bees have been given Antabuse, a drug which makes boozers sick when they tip the elbow. Oklahoma State University comparative psychologist Charles Abramson, who published his buzzed bees findings in the August issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, says the drug testing has shown positive results.

Interestingly, Boyd’s story also touches on the 1888 experiments of naturalist John Lubbock who noted that drunken ants were often carried home by fellow nest mates. As my WND compatriot Ron Strom observed, friends don’t let friends drink and crawl. But how about non-nest mates? A stranger ant would be dropped in a ditch to sleep it off.

Reminds me of the words of King Solomon: “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; learn her ways and be wise.”

Notice how he didn’t say, “Go to the IOC. …”


Related items:

Legal concerns

“Digging out the dope fiends”

Why cops go too far to nab narc offenders

“The Lord giveth, the police taketh away”

Forget the Constitution — cops get seizure fever.

“Subtracting the 4th Amendment, part I”

Drug-courier profiles and the assault on the Bill of Rights.

“Subtracting the 4th Amendment, part II”

Police search-and-seizure tactics endanger American liberty and ransack the Bill of Rights.

“Yakkity yak, don’t talk smack”

A column about the drug war’s recent attacks on the First Amendment.

Religious concerns

“Blaming drugs, or people?”

Is the drug problem cause by inanimate objects like a line of coke — or the sin in our hearts?

“Drug policy and my pal, Cal”

Taking conservative columnist Cal Thomas to task for hypocritical drug stance.

“One toke over the line, sweet Jesus?”

What does the Bible say Christians should think about drugs? This column attempts an answer — and it isn’t death-by-stoning.

“Witch way on drugs?”

The follow-up column to “One toke over the line, sweet Jesus?” exploring the drug-witchcraft connection.

Other concerns

“Politicians and media hype drug fears”

Why polls and the papers blow dope out of proportion.

“Fat for thought”

We’ve got a war on drugs, why not fatty foods?

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