Ways to violate federal law

  • Leave the country with too many nickels, absent a special license from the U.S. Mint;
  • Label as “macaroni” pasta that is the wrong size or shape, or as “Swiss cheese” a cheese that is solid rather than having holes;
  • Circulate a private currency;
  • Engage in weather modification without notifying the Secretary of Commerce;

“An amusing guide to some of the more bizarre statutes can be found in the new book ‘How to Become a Federal Criminal: An Illustrated Handbook for the Aspiring Offender‘ (Atria Books) by criminal defense lawyer Mike Chase, who also runs the Crime A Day Twitter account.” [Reed Tucker, New York Post] “‘Almost anyone can be arrested for something,’ Justice Neil Gorsuch observed in a case the Supreme Court decided last month.” [Jacob Sullum]


  • “Engage in weather modification without notifying the Secretary of Commerce“

    Wait, whut?

    Does weather inside my house count? Is it a federal crime to run my air conditioner and furnace?

  • US nickel coins, made of 25% nickel and 75% copper, currently cost 9 cents to make. (Copper and especially nickel have been getting more expensive in recent years.) The US Mint might understandably take a dim view of someone exporting thousands of US nickels to be melted down at a profit.

    A more sensible remedy would give the US Mint authority to modify coinage when shortages and higher prices make it sensible. Canada converted all their coins below $1 to steel (clad by copper or nickel) in year 2000.

    The continued minting of utterly worthless US zinc pennies is a standing indictment of political inertia and corruption in our coinage. (But I would favor minting a small number of copper pennies to be sold at a profit to collectors.)

  • Now we know why everyone talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it: it’s illegal!

  • Very enjoyable read. Made me laugh out loud a couple of times. I think my fellow bus passengers thought I was nuts.