May 17, 2010

Quick thoughts on the SCOTUS rulings

No, I haven't read the opinions yet so this is subject to change but these are my gut reactions:

1.  Life sentences without parole for minors convicted of non-murder crimes:  Yes, it's a state issue but cruel and unusual is an individual civil right that would give the Court subject matter jurisdiction.  What I'm more concerned about is what will happen if states revise their laws to say that the age of majority will be considered the age of 10 for cases of forcible rape with a weapon.  In that case a "minor" isn't being sentenced.  This may be considered in the opinion, but I haven't seen that question being raised in the comments I've seen about the opinion. 

On a broader scale, I am torn about this.  There are some crimes that are so heinous that death or life imprisonment are the only appropriate punishments.  For example, raping a 2 year old should get you drawn and quartered.  There is no logical or moral reason to say an 18 yo can go away forever for that but a 17 yo can't.  This brings up the issue of finding the death penalty for other than murder to be cruel and unusual.  I do think that violent sexual assault of a small child should result in death.  There are few things sicker than that.  I am also aware of the history behind how rape charges leading to the death penalty were used in the past.  So I don't know where I stand on that issue.  But this ruling strikes me as very worrisome.

2.  Post-sentence detention of sexual predators.  I'm against it.  I know the recidivism rate.  My stance on the heinousness of those crimes is well known.  But this?  Not only is it an unenumerated power, it's also very troubling on a practical level.  There's an old saying that bad facts make bad law.  This is a prime example.  Child sex predators are extraordinarily likely to abuse again.  I believe the rate is something approaching 100%.  When they are released, they are going to do it again.  I understand the impulse to keep them locked up, I really really do.  But this precedent will not be limited to its facts.  The potential for expansion is obvious and frightening.

The better response is to freaking execute those guilty of such crimes.  There you go, problem solved.  I'm sorry, but such crimes remove the criminal from the realm of civilization.  Those who do such things are rabid animals and should be put down as such.  Note that I'm talking about true predators, not a 19 year old who was sleeping with his 17 year old girlfriend. 

This also points out the bizarre nature of these rulings.  You can't sentence a kid to life without parole but you can keep him in jail after his sentence is complete if it involved a sex crime.  These decisions are impossible to square outside the specific facts of child sexual predation.  These decisions are also impossible to square with the prisoner rights decisions.

I reserve the right to revise and extend if/when I read the decisions, but that's my quick take.

Posted by: alexthechick at 12:30 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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May 13, 2010

Hmmmm

I'm not sure what I think about this. Hawaii signs what's being called the "anti-birther" law.

Once again, headlines are misleading.  It's not a law disallowing lawsuits or saying that "Dude, stfu, Obama's a natural born citizen" or the like.  It's a limited exception to Hawaii's freedom of information act that permits state agencies to decline repeated requests from the same person for the same information. It's openly acknowledged to have been passed because Hawaii's DOH is getting multiple requests from the same people on a monthly basis for the same information (ie the birth certificate).  This is to make those people go away. 

Here's why I'm torn.  I'm a big open records person.  If the government does it, it's my business.  The guys at Watts Up With That have done yeoman's work in fighting to get the data underlying climate change studies.  Climategate itself contains very juicy information about attempts to avoid FOIA requests.  Overall, FOIA is a fantastic thing.

Let's not kid ourselves, though, there are those who abuse it.  On a local level, there's a guy who is notorious for demanding all kinds of budget information and who refuses to accept what he's been given.  Now, with all the corruption around here, it's reasonable to assume some of the information is less than credible.  But I'm talking about the kook who thinks that the city is stashing cash in abandoned buildings.  (Though anymore that's not that far fetched)  This isn't a gadfly trying to make the city own up.  This is the aliens are telling me this level of nuts.  Under many open records laws, Nutty McNutbar's requests must be given the same response as my request for a copy of the permits for the building that a client is thinking about buying.

I do support some method of reaching a final determination as to a request and then prohibiting the same person from making the same request.  I think there should be a very high bar for this with the obligation on the governmental unit to prove that the information has been provided and that the information is complete.  I also would want severe sanctions if that turns out to be false later.  Not to mention that I think this should not be agency based but should be appealable to the court with the presumption that the person gets the information unless shown otherwise.  But Joe Blow shouldn't be allowed to gum up the works by spamming requests with no basis.

Note that my support for my own position isn't that strong.  I know from my own dealings that those fulfilling the requests are not precisely diligent.  I've had the lovely experience of being told that copies of the documents that I'm holding do not exist.  I know that will be abused by the governmental agencies to make people shut up.  But pretending it's not a problem isn't a rational response either.  There's a middle ground between everyone can ask for everything as many times as they want and shut up, the agency argues, when claiming all information has been disclosed.

Posted by: alexthechick at 11:58 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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May 09, 2010

I Must Protect My Most Precious Gift

Five years and two months ago, my beautiful and patient (for putting up with me) wife became a mother, and thus earned the right to receive praise and gifting on Mother's Day in her own right. Beyond the beauty and brains my wife possesses, she also did something greater by bringing my daughter into the world: she gave me the greatest gift of all, the ability and responsibility to shape the world with the little blonde pack of dynamite I see sleeping on a cloud of teddy bears and stuffed whatevers in her room as I type this. She gave the me the greatest responsibility/power arrangement going, the responsibility to make sure that my daughter does indeed live Forever Young, as the song that (I shit you not) popped into my head the first time I was able to hold her.

While raising a child as a parent is tough enough, the outside influences brought about by dickfisting halfwit politicians and the damage they can unleash with their legislative juice jiggling can be disastrous to her future. As such, no politician who threatens her future should ever be allowed to hold power or office ever again, even if it is a Republican. That is why I have no problem seeing Bob Bennett go down in flames in Utah. That asshole voted to do things that will limit my daughter's future, and tell my wife that the gift she granted to me does not matter, so long as Senator Jocksucker J Jackfuck gets reelected and an airport named after him. That asshole and his supporters and allies to infringe upon the liberty and freedom my daughter received as her birthright for being an American. And he needed to lose his seat for that.

And to the RINOs, Bennettistas, Leftists, and assorted other gashgreeters who want to fuck with my family, let me tell you something:
more...

Posted by: eddiebear at 11:42 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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May 07, 2010

Thoughts on the Palin/Fiorina endorsement

She's taking a fair bit of abuse for the decision to endorse Carly Fiorina over Chuck DeVore.  From what I've seen of DeVore, I like him, he's a good conservative.  I'm not a big fan of Fiorina, my gut tells me she'll be a west coast version of Snowe and Collins...and of course there's the chance she'll go full retard like Schwarzenegger.  That said, this is the Soviet of California we're talking about.  That state is on the verge of becoming what Greece currently is and doesn't seem to care. 

I've noted on here that I'm not purely against supporting RINOy candidates, to a point (Lincoln Chafee and Arnold being prime examples of RINOs being more trouble than what they're worth).  I'm fine with RINOy candidates in Commie havens.  I'm thrilled Scott Brown won in Massachusetts, and yet I fully expect him to be a fairly RINOy Senator during his tenure.  Of course, where there are pockets of conservatism in leftist states, we should try and promote good conservative House candidates. 

What I really have a problem with is RINOs where there is no need for RINOs.  Why the fuck is Lindsey Graham still a Senator?  My God, he's in South Carolina, you're telling me there's no eeeeeeevil right wing Republicans to challenge and defeat McCain's yappy little lap poodle?  None?  I don't believe it, not for a second.  McCain needs to go too now that I mention it.  And there are a lot of these guys who are so fucking clueless and out of touch that they just need replaced, Cornyn and Hatch come to mind. 

So I'm not too bothered by Palin's decision, I think for her own political well-being, she'd have been better off keeping her head down and staying out of the CA GOP primary, but I don't find her move unreasonable.  We should be looking for opportunities to expand the GOP when possible, even RINOs can be useful, and having a few more, especially in the Senate, can work well, as long as they understand what it is they're doing in there.  I'd ideally like a solid majority of wingnutty wingnuts, but that isn't easy to make happen.  But if we have a core of conservatives and enough RINOs to go around, we can do more that needs done because the RINOs can dilute the political damage done to themselves when they vote in a way that pisses off their left leaning constituencies.

Posted by: doubleplusundead at 12:05 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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May 03, 2010

Flogging the Interstate Commerce clause

This guy makes an interesting argument about the utter absurdity of the Interstate Commerce clause interpretation --> Choking your chicken could potentially fall under Federal purview:

Masturbators often use unguents and lubricants to enhance the experience. Unguents and lubricants are items of commerce, and therefore (by current Court precedent) items of interstate commerce. Masturbation increases the demand for items of commerce, and therefore “materially affects” interstate commerce. The fact that not all masturbators use unguents and/or lubricants is irrelevant — the fact that some do affects commerce.

Furthermore, the whole point of masturbation is to reach sexual climax. Sexual climax is a state in which bodily functions including metabolism are accelerated, and accelerated metabolism increases output of carbon dioxide. It is already firmly established that carbon dioxide is an item of interstate commerce.

Under the popular interpretation, literally anything can fall under the Interstate Commerce clause.

Posted by: JoeCollins at 08:11 AM | Comments (12) | Add Comment
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