15,000 LEO’s anyway.
Archive for the 'Law' Category
The Nineteenth Annual Rose Sheinberg Scholar-in-Residence Lecture this year was presented by Kathy Boudin. Her lecture was titled, “Hope, Illusion, and Imagination: the Politics of Parole and Reentry in the Era of Mass Incarceration.” Dr. Boudin is the Director of the Criminal Justice Initiative: Supporting Children, Families, and Communities based at the Columbia University School of Social Work. Kathy Boudin has been dedicated to community involvement in social change since the 1960’s. She works for transformation of the criminal justice system through education, activism, and research and has published widely in the areas of education, parenting, women, health, and restorative justice. Dr. Boudin was introduced by her son, Chesa Boudin, who is currently working at the San Francisco Public Defender on a Liman fellowship where he focuses on the intersection between immigration and criminal law.
She’s a professor at Columbia. “Community involvement in social change.” Unbelievable.
Since at least 1950, all but two of the public shootings in America with more than three deaths have taken place where guns were banned. Take the Aurora shooting last summer. Within 20 minutes of the murderer’s apartment there were seven movie theaters premiering the Batman movie. The shooter didn’t go to the one that was closest to his apartment. And he didn’t choose the one with the largest audience. Instead, he went to the only one where guns were banned.
It doesn’t matter that armed civilians stop these things well before the police can. Everywhere in the USA should be a gun free zone, and we should quintuple the number of all laws and regulations on the books to make the country perfect. Oh wait, we already have!
Starting in 2014, most Americans will be required to have medical coverage. Under the law, health insurers cannot deny coverage or charge higher prices to people who are sick. But stop-loss insurance, for catastrophic claims, is not regulated as health insurance. Stop-loss carriers often require employers to identify employees who have been treated for certain expensive conditions, including H.I.V. or AIDS, cancer, diabetes, obesity, sickle-cell anemia, heart attack, stroke and complications of pregnancy. The carriers may limit or deny coverage for those conditions or those individuals. The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance found that “some writers of stop-loss policies have been selectively marketing coverage to small employers on the basis of the health history” of employees, and “denying coverage to employers based on employee health status.” The agency described this as cherry-picking and said it constituted “an unfair trade practice.” In an interview, Dave Jones, the California insurance commissioner, said, “We see a disturbing increase in the marketing of stop-loss insurance to small employers with healthy employees.” Michael W. Ferguson, the chief operating officer of the Self-Insurance Institute of America, a trade group for companies in the self-insurance marketplace, said, “We don’t think there is a problem.” He denied that his members were trying to dodge insurance mandates or exploiting loopholes. The new law reduces the risks of self-insurance. Previously, self-insured companies would have struggled to switch to the insured market if employees developed costly illnesses. Under the law, companies can switch with no penalty, as insurers generally “must accept every employer and individual” who applies for coverage.
Very clever. Small companies can self-insure and get stop-loss policies for catastrophic problems — and stop-loss is not regulated as health insurance. Wheels within wheels. This is what you get when “comprehensive” legislation is written by 25 year olds who know nothing about the real world. All of which means: expect more distractions!
a popular game in the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York was to name a famous person — Mother Teresa, or John Lennon -‐ and decide how they could be prosecuted: “It would then be up to the junior prosecutors to figure out a plausible crime for which to indict him or her. The crimes were not usually rape, murder, or other crimes you’d see on Law & Order but rather the incredibly broad yet obscure crimes that populate the U.S. Code like a kind of jurisprudential minefield: Crimes like “false statements” (a felony, up to five years), “obstructing the mails” (five years), or “false pretenses on the high seas” (also five years). The trick and the skill lay in finding the more obscure offenses that fit the character of the celebrity and carried the toughest sentences. The, result, however, was inevitable: ‘prison time’.”
With so many more federal laws and regulations than were present in Jackson’s day, the task for prosecutors of first choosing the man – or woman – and then pinning the crime on him or her has become much easier. This problem has been discussed at length in Gene Healy’s Go Directly To Jail: The Criminalization of Almost Everything, and Harvey Silverglate’s Three Felonies A Day. The upshot of both is that the proliferation of federal criminal statutes and regulations has reached the point that virtually every citizen, knowingly or not (usually not) is potentially at risk for prosecution. That is undoubtedly true, and the consequences are drastic and troubling.
The result of overcriminalization is that prosecutors no longer need to wait for obvious signs of a crime. Instead of finding Professor Plum dead in the conservatory and launching an investigation, authorities can instead start an investigation of Colonel Mustard as soon as someone has suggested he is a shady character. And since, as Wu’s game illustrates, everyone is a criminal if prosecutors look hard enough, they’re guaranteed to find something eventually.
You remember of course the insane case of Gibson Guitars. If you’re of a certain age, you remember a time in America when it wasn’t illegal to rescue a deer, remodel your home, open a lemonade stand or throw a frisbee. That time sadly is no more. How about this: for every new law a legislature wants to pass, it has to get rid of ten existing laws.
here are four reasons Chinese growth may be better than expected — from an unlikely source: Ian Russell, president of the Investment Industry Association of Canada. Mr. Russell took some notes from the recent Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong, where he says delegates “were probably surprised” by the many presentations “pointing to an optimistic near-term outlook.”
Reason 1: Fears that China’s export sector will sputter due to a loss of competitiveness and rising labour costs are overblown. Sure, some lower paying work may migrate to poorer countries in Asia, but China is starting to move into more profitable, higher value-added manufacturing that requires skilled and more pricey labour.
Reason 2: A growing middle class numbering 300 to 400 million people will trigger substantial consumer and investment spending. A knock against China has always been that its economy is overly dependent on exports and investment. But China is changing quickly and growth is about to be boosted by the needs of its increasingly wealthy middle class.
Reason 3: China tightened the monetary spigots because of worries about inflation. But prices seem to be under control and the housing market has cooled. Residential construction could come roaring back to its traditional 40 per cent share of fixed investment from the currently depressed 35 per cent. This would add several percentage points to growth.
Reason 4: The government will boost stimulus spending should it be needed. Those fearful of a hard landing have to keep in mind that the government has shown itself to be adept at intervening at key points to keep growth buoyant.
This view contrasts sharply with the detailed analysis we pointed to the other day. Who is right? Hard to say. It’s interesting that the US is suing S&P for not warning the world that housing was about to collapse in 2006. That suit, which seems politically motivated for at least two reasons, will no doubt find emails and documents that question the sustainability of the housing boom. But, really, did you think that housing was about to collapse in 2006?
When dealing with an active shooter situation, challenge the miscreant to a lively game of rock, paper, scissors. HT: AT
What’s happening in Indiana?
An Indiana police officer and his wife who nursed an injured baby deer back to health plan to fight state charges stemming from their rescue efforts. Jeff Counceller, a police officer in the eastern Indiana city of Connersville, found the deer in 2010 curled up on a front porch with maggot-infested puncture wounds. He and his wife, Jennifer, kept the deer in an enclosure on their 17-acre farm and named her Dani, The Indianapolis Star reports. Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources told the Councellers to return the ailing deer to the wild, but they took it home and nursed it back to health. The couple were charged earlier this month with illegal possession of a white-tailed deer, a misdemeanor that carries up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Jeff Counceller said returning it to the wild at the time “would have been a death sentence.” The family told the Star they intended to return the deer to the wild once it was strong enough to survive on its own. The Councellers tried to find a home for the deer at animal rescue operations, petting zoos and deer farms, but no one would take her. They say they didn’t know it was illegal to keep the deer. The deer vanished last summer on the day when the DNR planned to euthanize the animal after the couple’s request for a rescue permit was denied.
The head of the Dallas Fed:
Everyone and their sister knows that financial institutions deemed too big to fail were at the epicenter of the 2007–09 financial crisis. Previously thought of as islands of safety in a sea of risk, they became the enablers of a financial tsunami. Now that the storm has subsided, we submit that they are a key reason accommodative monetary policy and government policies have failed to adequately affect the economic recovery. Harvey Rosenblum and I first wrote about this in an article published in the Wall Street Journal in September 2009, “The Blob That Ate Monetary Policy.” Put simply, sick banks don’t lend. Sick—seriously undercapitalized—megabanks stopped their lending and capital market activities during the crisis and economic recovery. They brought economic growth to a standstill and spread their sickness to the rest of the banking system.
Congress thought it would address the issue of TBTF through the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Preventing TBTF from ever occurring again is in the very preamble of the act. We contend that Dodd–Frank has not done enough to corral TBTF banks and that, on balance, the act has made things worse, not better. We submit that, in the short run, parts of Dodd–Frank have exacerbated weak economic growth by increasing regulatory uncertainty in key sectors of the U.S. economy. It has clearly benefited many lawyers and created new layers of bureaucracy. Despite its good intention, it has been counterproductive, working against solving the core problem it seeks to address…
Dodd–Frank comes against a background of ever-greater escalation of financial regulation. He points out that nationally chartered banks began to file the antecedents of “call reports” after the formation of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in 1863. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 required state-chartered member banks to do the same, having them submitted to the Federal Reserve starting in 1917. They were short forms; in 1930, Haldane noted, these reports numbered 80 entries. “In 1986, [the ‘call reports’ submitted by bank holding companies] covered 547 columns in Excel, by 1999, 1,208 columns. By 2011 … 2,271 columns.” “Fortunately,” he adds wryly, “Excel had expanded sufficiently to capture the increase.”
Though this growingly complex reporting failed to prevent detection of the seeds of the debacle of 2007–09, Dodd–Frank has layered on copious amounts of new complexity. The legislation has 16 titles and runs 848 pages. It spawns litter upon litter of regulations: More than 8,800 pages of regulations have already been proposed, and the process is not yet done. In his speech, Haldane noted—conservatively, in my view—that a survey of the Federal Register showed that complying with these new rules would require 2,260,631 labor hours each year. He added: “Of course, the costs of this regulatory edifice would be considered small if they delivered even modest improvements to regulators’ ability to avert future crises.” He then goes on to argue the wick is not worth the candle. And he concludes: “Modern finance is complex, perhaps too complex. Regulation of modern finance is complex, almost certainly too complex. That configuration spells trouble. As you do not fight fire with fire, you do not fight complexity with complexity…
The approach of the Dallas Fed neither expands the reach of government nor further handicaps the 99.8 percent of community and regional banks. Nor does it fight complexity with complexity. It calls for reshaping TBTF banking institutions into smaller, less-complex institutions that are: economically viable; profitable; competitively able to attract financial capital and talent; and of a size, complexity and scope that allows both regulatory and market discipline to restrain excessive risk taking.
Our proposal is simple and easy to understand. It can be accomplished with minimal statutory modification and implemented with as little government intervention as possible. It calls first for rolling back the federal safety net to apply only to basic, traditional commercial banking. Second, it calls for clarifying, through simple, understandable disclosures, that the federal safety net applies only to the commercial bank and its customers and never ever to the customers of any other affiliated subsidiary or the holding company. The shadow banking activities of financial institutions must not receive taxpayer support.
Since America has temporarily or maybe permanently lost its marbles, and since there’s no silver bullet to solve gun problems, we’re focusing elsewhere these days. The junior birdmen came from a simpler time in America, and they didn’t have to put up with airport security like this. What’s weirder, we ask, the product or the customer reviews? Or perhaps both are normal compared to the freak show that the political media and indeed the non-political media have become. “A republic, if you can keep it.” Sigh. HT: PL
Seriously. $59 million for algae growers. All you really need to know about the tax bill.
Steyn on Steroids:
he “dumbest media story of 2012” is actually rather instructive. David Gregory intended to demonstrate what he regards as the absurdity of America’s lax gun laws…To Howard Kurtz & Co., it’s “obvious” that Gregory didn’t intend to commit a crime. But, in a land choked with laws, “obviousness” is one of the first casualties — and “obviously” innocent citizens have their “obviously” well-intentioned actions criminalized every minute of the day.
Not far away from David Gregory, across the Virginia border, eleven-year-old Skylar Capo made the mistake of rescuing a woodpecker from the jaws of a cat and nursing him back to health for a couple of days. For her pains, a federal Fish & Wildlife gauleiter accompanied by state troopers descended on her house, charged her with illegal transportation of a protected species, issued her a $535 fine, and made her cry. Why is it so “obvious” that David Gregory deserves to be treated more leniently than a sixth grader? Because he’s got a TV show and she hasn’t?
Anything involving guns is even less amenable to “obviousness.” A few years ago, Daniel Brown was detained at LAX while connecting to a Minneapolis flight because traces of gunpowder were found on his footwear. His footwear was combat boots. As the name suggests, the combat boots were returning from combat — eight months of it, in Iraq’s bloody and violent al-Anbar province. Above the boots he was wearing the uniform of a staff sergeant in the USMC Reserve Military Police and was accompanied by all 26 members of his unit, also in uniform. Staff Sergeant Brown doesn’t sound like an “obvious” terrorist. But the TSA put him on the no-fly list anyway. If it’s not “obvious” to the government that a serving member of the military has any legitimate reason for being around ammunition, why should it be “obvious” that a TV host has?
Three days after scofflaw Gregory committed his crime, a bail hearing was held in Massachusetts for Andrew Despres, 20, who’s charged with trespassing and possession of ammunition without a firearms license. Mr. Despres was recently expelled from Fitchburg State University and was returning to campus to pick up his stuff. Hence the trespassing charge. At the time of his arrest, he was wearing a “military-style ammunition belt.” Hence, the firearms charge. His mom told WBZ that her son purchased the belt for $20 from a punk website and had worn it to class every day for two years as a “fashion statement.” He had no gun with which to fire the bullets. Nevertheless, Fitchburg police proudly displayed the $20 punk-website ammo belt as if they’d just raided the Fitchburg mafia’s armory, and an obliging judge ordered Mr. Despres held on $50,000 bail. Why should there be one law for Meet the Press and another for Meet Andrew Despres? Because David Gregory throws better cocktail parties?…
This is all modern life is. Ernest Hemingway had a six-toed cat. The cat begat. (Eat your heart out, Doctor Seuss.) So descendants of his six-toed cat still live at the Hemingway home in Key West. Tourists visit the property. Thus, the Department of Agriculture is insisting that the six-toed cats are an “animal exhibit” like the tigers at the zoo, and therefore come under federal regulation requiring each to be housed in an individual compound with “elevated resting surfaces,” “electric wire,” and a night watchman. Should David Gregory be treated more leniently than a domestic cat just because when Obama tickles his tummy he licks the president’s hand and purrs contentedly?
There are two possible resolutions: Gregory can call in a favor from some Obama consigliere who’ll lean on the cops to disappear the whole thing. If he does that, he’ll be contributing to the remorseless assault on a bedrock principle of free societies — equality before the law. Laws either apply to all of us or none of us. If they apply only to some, they’re not laws but caprices
Much more entertaining than the breathless discussions of the cliff on CNBC and elsewhere. The cliff was obvious a decade ago, and we’re already over it. Indeed, you might argue that we started going over it in 1968 when LBJ fiddled the budget to reduce the Vietnam / Great Society deficit by crediting Social Security surpluses. Our advice: vote present and refuse to take part in this charade.
The research is published in the British Medical Journal. The researchers said there was no reason for long pointed knives to be publicly available at all. They consulted 10 top chefs from around the UK, and found such knives have little practical value in the kitchen. None of the chefs felt such knives were essential, since the point of a short blade was just as useful when a sharp end was needed…The researchers say legislation to ban the sale of long pointed knives would be a key step in the fight against violent crime. “The Home Office is looking for ways to reduce knife crime. We suggest that banning the sale of long pointed knives is a sensible and practical measure that would have this effect.”
How do these chefs deal with the prime rib? (We suppose the answer is that you can still have a long knife, but it has to be rounded at the end — but then can’t you still slash with its long sharp edge?) Very strange world we have. HT: FPM
Michael Kranish has a good wrap-up of the things that went right and went wrong in the November elections, including the D’s early media blitz, the superior GOTV on the D side and its inferior, poorly managed counterpart on the R side. All well and good, lessons to be learned and so forth.
However, the most salient statistic of the election seems to us to be this: the GOP won by 1.9 million votes among those over 30 and lost by 5.4 million among those under 30. The young were the focus of targeted appeals mostly on trivial matters that seemed ridiculous to us but were obviously effective with them.
However, people age, and some may grow up. It continues to be true that they are the brokest generation, and the joke’s on them when it comes to paying the bills being incurred in this strange time. And it continues to be true that “to avoid being poor you only have to do three things: finish high school, not have children until you are 20, and be married before you have children. If you do those three things, 8 percent of you will be poor. If you fail to do these three things, 79 percent of you will be poor.” Some will learn; the goal is to maximize that number.
And speaking of the miseducated and innumerate, there’s the media to deal with. This is a tough one, because the same mentality that’s in the news departments is all over scripted TV programming as well. But you have to begin somewhere. One step might be to do some opposition research on the news people. Little example: if you send your kids to a school with an armed security department and Secret Service oversight, you shouldn’t be able to get away with mocking people advocating the same thing for regular people. As the media themselves have made clear, they are the opposition, and they should be treated as such.
In England a 61 year old man was convicted of the crime of having a Swiss Army knife in his glove compartment. However, you can buy the same knife online at the UK Boy Scouts website. (Some US scouts buying the knife would have committed a crime in the UK by doing so because they were too young.) There are a number of videos made by Englishmen attempting to make sense of the situation, but frankly we were more confused by the explanations. Apparently you can have a knife for camping but not an “assault knife” if we understand correctly, even if they are the very same knife. Coming soon to a country near you. Merry Christmas! HT: PL
Author and professor Jonathan Kellerman:
I was in graduate school, studying clinical psychology when they began shutting down the asylums. The place was California, the time was the early 1970s, and “they” were an unprecedented confederation of progressives, libertarians and fiscal conservatives.
From the left marched battalions of self-styled mental health “liberation activists” steeped in the writings of Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing. Though he denied being opposed to his own profession, Laing’s notion that madness could be a reasonable reaction to an unjust society, or even a vehicle for spiritual transformation, helped fuel the anti-psychiatry movement of the post Love-In era. The most radical of Laingians carried revisionism one step further: Not only wasn’t psychosis a bad thing, it was evidence of a superior level of consciousness.
The libertarians were fueled by Thomas Szasz, an iconoclastic psychiatrist who was, and remains, an outspoken foe of virtually every aspect of his chosen specialty. Hungarian-born in 1920, and witness to vicious state exploitation of medical practice by the Nazis and the communists, Dr. Szasz pushed an absolutist dogma of individual choice, finding ready converts among members of the Do-Your-Own-Thing generation…
When I entered graduate school in 1972, so pervasive was the push to deinstitutionalize that a newly minted course was added to the mandatory curriculum: Community Psychology, a cobbled-together travesty that stood apart from all my other coursework due to its emphasis on polemics and aversion to science.
The basic premise of Community Psych — that severely mentally ill people could be depended on to show up for treatment voluntarily — never made sense to me. The core of the most common and debilitating psychosis, schizophrenia, is degradation of thought and reason. So the idea that people with fractured minds could and would make rational, often complex decisions about self-care seemed preposterous.
One day, I voiced that opinion in class, questioning if any mechanisms were being set in place to prevent a flood of schizophrenics from ending up on the streets, homeless, helpless, victims of crime and, in some cases, victimizers. The Community Psych professor — one of the liberationists — responded with a patronizing smile and a folksy account of the success of a program in rural Belgium or some such place, where humble working folk created a therapeutic milieu by volunteering to house psychotics in their humble homes and everything ended up peachy.
BTW, Kellerman was writing about Va Tech back in 2007. It’s always the same awful story. The disgraceful saga of deinstitutionalization, promoted by left and right for different reasons, has had completely predictable consequences. When you let 90% of institutionalized mentally ill people out on the street, you get homelessness. When you shut down a similar percentage of the institutions and no longer have a robust legal or physical infrastructure to lock up those who should be locked up, you get the occasional spectacular crime. And the media are vile and self-serving on these occasions.
Actually, we don’t think the DMV asks if you wear seat belts.
Almost one week after superstorm Sandy struck the East Coast with its ferocious force, power was still out to some 2.5 million customers due to damages…It has been reported that crooks have been disguising themselves as Long Island Power Authority workers and coming by homes on the peninsula in the middle of the night while real utility workers were nowhere to be found. ‘We booby-trapped our door and keep a baseball bat beside our bed,’ Danielle Harris, 34, told the New York Daily News. The woman added that she has been hearing gunshots likely fired in the nearby housing project for three nights in a row. Meanwhile, local surfer Keone Singlehurst said that he stockpiled knives, a machete and a bow and arrow…
‘Rockaways always get left over,’ said Meyer. ‘It’s treated like a marginalized land in the city.’ Most of the grocery stores in the area have not reopened since the storm, and the neighborhood has been left cut off from the rest of the city, with no trains or even shuttle buses servicing the residents. Stranded neighbors largely have been relying on volunteers delivering food, water and other basic necessities while the Red Cross and FEMA were still nowhere in sight. ‘We can’t exist,’ said Ann Manning. ‘We can’t buy milk. We can’t buy cereal. We can’t buy nothing.’ As they scrape round desperately for food and are forced to use their gas hobs to keep warm, many claim they are the forgotten victims of Sandy. The Borough President of Staten Island called the reaction of Red Cross – or lack thereof – to the devastation caused by Sandy an ‘absolute disgrace’.
In a Coney Island apartment block, where tenants huddle together in one room and human waste spills out of the toilet, tenant Jeffery Francis despairs that help is not getting to Brooklyn faster. We are scavenging for food like animals,’ he told the New York Daily News. ‘We are in a crisis and no one will help us. Look at us. We are misery. Everyone cares about Manhattan. No one is looking out for us. Nothing.’ At another apartment where power is still out, residents are out of food and praying for help. Albert Miller, 58, told the paper: ‘One person found a sandwich and we split it four ways.’
Regarding Hurricane Katrina, the evidence suggests that there was an orchestrated Democrat PR campaign, executed in part by the deplorable Governor Blanco in coordination with others, to make George Bush look bad in the crisis by, for example, prohibiting federal troops to help out. (Can’t manage Iraq; can’t manage at home; hates minorities, etc.) It wasn’t necessary. These situations are horrible in any event, and suggest that the margin between civilization and its opposite is as little as 100 hours of infrastructure failure. HT: Wretchard
The news from NC:
voting issues have already become a problem in Guilford County. On Monday, several voters complained that their electronic ballot machine cast the wrong vote. All the complaints were made by people who voted at the Bur-Mil Park polling location. One of the voters, Sher Coromalis, says she cast her ballot for Governor Mitt Romney, but every time she entered her vote the machine defaulted to President Obama. “I was so upset that this could happen,” said Coromalis. Guilford County Board of Elections Director George Gilbert says the problem arises every election. It can be resolved after the machine is re-calibrated by poll workers. “It’s not a conspiracy it’s just a machine that needs to be corrected,” Gilbert said. After the third try, Coromalis says she was able to get her vote counted for Gov. Romney but was still annoyed. “I should have just mailed it in,” Coromalis said. Marie Haydock, who also voted at the Bur-Mil Park polling location, had the same problem. “The frustration is… every vote counts,” said Haydock. Elections officials say the machines have been fixed as of Tuesday, and no problems have been reported since.