The California Corporations Code – Where The Dead Live On

While in college, I had the unique pleasure of taking a course in Economic Botany and later doing independent study (my paper was on Pinus Monophylla) under the late Dr. Richard Evans Schultes, the father of Ethnobotany.  If Economic Botany sounds dull, in what other class can you learn such practical skills as how to blow poison darts or make paper and beer?  Here’s a painting of Dr. Schultes demonstrating how to use a blow gun (it looks like a long stick) in the Nash Lecture Hall at the Harvard Museum of Natural History where he held classes.  Even then, I counted myself extraordinarily fortunate to have access to the museum and the Economic Botany Libary of Oakes Ames.

One of Dr. Schultes’ most famous students was (Edmund) Wade Davis who achieved great renown both in scientific and popular culture (click on the link to Dr. Davis for some extraordinarily beautiful and amazing photos).  In 1985, Dr. Davis provided a scientific explanation for ”real life” Haitian zombies in his best selling book, The Serpent and the Rainbow. 

The California Corporations Code has its own zombies.  For example, Section 25100(i) exempts any security issued or guaranteed by any railroad, other common carrier, public utility, or public utility holding company that is: (1) subject to the jurisdiction of the Interstate Commerce Commission or its successor; or (2) a holding company registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 or a subsidiary of that company within the meaning of that act.  There are only two problems with this exemption.  First, the Interstate Commerce Commission has been dead since 1995 when Congress enacted the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act, P.L. 104-88.  Second, the PUHCA died in 2006 after Congress had enacted the Energy Polciy Act of 2005, P.L. 109-58.  The PUHCA also makes an appearance in Section 25018.