Tuesday, July 31, 2007

News and Blogs Together, Tuesday, July 31, 2007

  • From a kind reader, word of the next possible Genarlow Wilson case, complete with over-testosteroned DA and a community that's "no different than any other community," any other racist community that may be about to find out what happens when the media shine light on your interesting views of life and humans. If you guessed GA again, sorry. Same region, different state--LA.
  • A much better takedown of that “you’ll go psycho if you do pot” study than I came up with.
  • This, I think, has always been the better case against marijuana than the “it’ll make you crazy although we never do direct comparisons with other legal crazy-making drugs” argument—one joint equals five cigarettes in lung impact. It’s probably the major reason why I’ve never touched pot, that and just being the outlier that I normally am. I’ve never seen why putting dirty, polluted air of any kind in your lungs and blood is seen as smart. Interesting, though, that cigs cause emphysema and pot apparently doesn’t. Having lost a mother to lung cancer and a father-in-law to lung problems including emphysema due to their smoking, I’m not sure this research doesn’t once again ask why tobacco is legal and pot isn’t. Why aren’t we arresting people for smoking five cigarettes? If they both do harm, ban them both. And if you don’t ban tobacco because the enforcement costs would be too high, then step back and think a little, doofus. Stop the hypocrisy.
  • An interesting article on RI’s response to the recent corr sent disparity report, why folks there think RI ranks too high, and what direction they may take.
  • The Brits have overthrown a law aimed at preventing sex offenders from getting parole consideration after the amount of time other offenders get it. Apparently the offenders were supposed to prove they deserved it rather than be assessed by authorities, as other offenders are. These are the quotes I like from the law’s critics because they seem to fit some other country I just can’t put a finger on: ". . . badly drafted, and whipped up by the previous prime minister and home secretary, they have become a ferocious, unjust law that, in two years, has catapulted around 3,000 people into jail for who knows how long” and "It has been described in some quarters as 'Kafkaesque', yet sadly the failure of the government to prepare for the impact of this sentence on resources is more in the vein of Laurel and Hardy."
  • The NY Times runs a good piece on the growing market for out-of-state shipping of inmates from states that refuse to build more prisons themselves or to fund the actions necessary to reduce populations. It’s popular to say these days that fiscal crises will force states to reduce inmate populations, and that may be true for those that can’t even afford sending offenders off to different climes and away from their families. But some states that can’t afford to build new prisons can still afford the tickets. It may be a long time before they get to the point of not making these private facilities profitable. I’ve said before that the private companies are nationalizing the prison population, and formulations of appropriate policy should start taking that into account. (h/t Sentencing Law and Policy)
  • Finally, I've been reading a bio on William James. Ran across this quote and thought, hmm, why does this sound familiar? "The ignoring of data is, in fact, the easiest and most popular mode of obtaining unity in one's thought."

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