Morning Links

Monday, August 15th, 2011
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48 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Sean | 

    Wow, I kind of got offended by the Coen brother’s review when he brought up the politics. Although they do reference politicians (“This agression will not stand, man”) it is only in the context of the individual characters’ selfishness. I’m a huge fan of the Coen brothers, specifically because they seem to revel in the stories of individuals. They explore how everyone is selfish and incompetent (even the all-powerful men and villans) and yet are worthy of great stories being made of them. The glory of mediocrity, as it were. If the writer is correct, and the Coens consciously make political statements in their stories (the directors themselves, rather than the characters in the stories), I would be horribly disappointed, and turned off of the movies as much as Mr. David Haglund was turned back onto them.

  2. #2 |  Mike | 

    Meth is bad, m’kay?

    Glad that vile judge got a long sentence. I was half afraid he’d get 6 months probation or something equally meaningless. It still doesn’t pay for all the lives he ruined.

  3. #3 |  Lucas L | 

    RE: Houston Crime Lab:

    And yet this week Houston Police Officials float a trial balloon about spending a boat load of cash for new uniforms and patrol car paint jobs. They (of course) want to militarize the dept. with “battle dress” uniforms and repaint patrol units black & white. I wondered why not urban digital camo for the paint scheme.

    It seems this pitch is dead on arrival but ya never know.

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7695532.html

  4. #4 |  Kid Handsome | 

    I actually don’t see the point in such a long sentence for the “Kids for Cash” judge. I just don’t need 28 years worth of my pound of flesh. Give him a real year, and then let him back out to try to become a productive member of society.

    He is simply not going to be able to hurt anyone else. I say this from the standpoint that I’m starting to think prison sentences are inhumane (even beyond the wink and nod manner in which we treat prison rape and the other horrific stuff that goes on in prisons).

    This guy was a bad guy, a bad actor and someone who hurt people based on his position of power. I understand prison as punitive, but 28 years is practically a life sentence for this guy. Further, the tax payers are going to have to pay for him for all that time and likely when he gets out since he’ll be in his late 60’s at the very least.

    I just think we’ve gone way overboard in punishing offenders and giving long sentences. I think this guy is a violent offender in the sense that he used force to send innocents away, but he’s not a violent offender in the traditional sense. I just don’t see how 28 years serves society. It just makes people feel better.

    Certainly could be wrong, and I expect disagreement, but 28 years seems stupid to me on a practical level.

  5. #5 |  marco73 | 

    With the judge’s age, 28 years is roughly a life sentence. Although I kind of wonder if, in a year or so, he is quietly shipped back home to serve his time in house dentention.
    I agree, Mike, the sentence still doesn’t pay for what he did. I’m not sure what could pay for him ruining and ending young lives just for a few bucks.

  6. #6 |  JS | 

    Wow, I’m pleasantly surprised that a judge could get in trouble for doing bads things just like a normal person.

  7. #7 |  skootercat | 

    In the federal penal system, does an inmate not do the time associated with the “guidelines” of their crime and not the actual sentence? if that is the case, the PA judge’s guidelines could be much less than 28 years and the difference is to be done on parole. What of those having paid the bribes?

  8. #8 |  DoubleU | 

    The “War on Meth”: all laws are created not to hurt or stop criminals, laws are created to make the lives of law abiding citizens more difficult.

    Put an end to all “Warons”
    The War on Crime
    The War on Poverty
    The War on Drugs
    The War on Terror.

    Don’t be a waron.

  9. #9 |  EH | 

    28 years is practically a life sentence for this guy.

    Gosh, I sure hope so. What is more evil than what this guy did?

  10. #10 |  Chuchundra | 

    Heisenberg has been cooking up that good, blue meth, yo. He don’t need no pseudo.

  11. #11 |  JS | 

    skootercat “What of those having paid the bribes?”

    Yea that’s a good question.

  12. #12 |  CTD | 

    Though I’m the last to make excuses for law enforcement, re:the rape kits, keep in mind that a huge number of rape kits (maybe a majority) are not analyzed simply because it’s unlikely that they will provide any useful information. In most rape accusations, the identity of the accused is not in dispute. The typical rape case boils down to a woman claiming rape and a man claiming it was consensual. A rape kit is not very useful in such circumstances. Add in the number of women who stop cooperating with the investigation/prosecution at some point, and you have a huge number of basically useless rape kits.

  13. #13 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Regarding meth:
    “We didn’t have an opportunity to prepare,” Matheny said. “We just got a phone call saying, `You’re not going to have funds anymore.’ It just absolutely crippled us.”

    Way back, before the Harrison Act, if you overindulged, it was the actual drug that did you in.
    Not the undercover cops that infiltrated your circle, tapped your phones, and locked you up.
    The first scenario seems much more simple, and less expensive.

  14. #14 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    As someone who once depended on sudafed to keep serious sinus headaches under control, I think the Legislators who proposed and voted for all those cold med laws should be struck briskly across THEIR sinuses with a nine-iron. The laws seem to have had about the effect on Meth that I expected they would (not enough to tell), and the news that we are ‘retreating’ in that war comes as no surprise to me. I knew perfectly well that this latest round of budget ‘cutbacks’ would result in a spate of stories about how we were going to lose essential police (and fire and school) services – Gods forbid that budget cuts ever result in cuts to legislator salaries or staff!

  15. #15 |  damaged justice | 

    I predict that the $20 million will come out of our pockets rather than those of the people who actually murdered Jose Guerena.

  16. #16 |  JS | 

    #15, of course if will. Cops aren’t help personally accountable no matter how many people they murder.

  17. #17 |  Irving Washington | 

    That Coen brothers piece was terrible.

  18. #18 |  Sinchy | 

    Why not charge the people running the meth lab, if possible, for the cost of cleaning it up?
    28 years seems right if only to make a point to other judges that justice for profit doesn’t pay.

  19. #19 |  Deoxy | 

    Not directly related to any of these, but I thought you should see this link about NOT sending in the SWAT team for once:

    http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/126211/

    It was child porn, and the guy was using open wifi. It should not be remarkable that they DIDN’T send in SWAT, but it is, so I’m remarking on it.

  20. #20 |  Comrade Dread | 

    So, would it be fraud or unethical to start a company that offered the unemployed a ‘job title’ and some unimportant volunteer busywork for the duration of their unemployment, with the purpose of giving them something to put on their resumes, in exchange for a percentile of their future salary when they get hired on?

  21. #21 |  EH | 

    Comrade: Congratulations, you have just invented indentured servitude.

  22. #22 |  PeeDub | 

    @Irving

    I’d like to see the Coens try to make (I do not say remake) an adaptation of Catch-22. I think they could make it fly.

  23. #23 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    Kid Handsome, I’m playing the world’s saddest song on the world’s smallest violin, just for your judge. In this case, this IS an appropriate use of incarceration. The guy committed violent crimes, and used the mechanisms of the state to fucking kidnap people, ffs.

  24. #24 |  Sebastian | 

    The article on the Guerena case made me crazy. The police chief kept talking about investigating the homicide. It took me a few lines to realize that he *wasn’t* talking about the person the police killed. He doesn’t give a crap about that homicide.

    Other sickening lines in the article: “The lead detective in the investigation wrote that during the six months of constant surveillance, none of the suspects was seen handling or even in the proximity of narcotics, but that ‘these individuals operate a mid-level drug-trafficking organization in the Tucson area.'”

  25. #25 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    Cutbacks force retreat in war on meth…
    Not like you guys were winning anyway. The small time shops went to P2P cooks and aminative reduction (As Chuchundra has mentioned, this is the same method Walter White uses on Breaking Bad). The big time shops (cartels) started setting up molasses fermenters with benzaldehyde bubblers to make their own pseudo.

    I wonder when one of the drug warriors is going to come up with the brilliant idea to schedule raw molasses…

  26. #26 |  celticdragonchick | 

    Sorry, but I am going to have to support efforts to stop the fucking ridiculous trend by companies to insist only on considering applicants who are working at the time. This is nothing more then laziness mixed with prejudice on the part of HR departments across the country, and it is starting to have actual social consequences.

  27. #27 |  Radley Balko | 

    Sorry, but I am going to have to support efforts to stop the fucking ridiculous trend by companies to insist only on considering applicants who are working at the time.

    Who else should they be forced to hire? Hell, why not just turn all private sector hiring decisions over to the federal government?

  28. #28 |  Kid Handsome | 

    paranoiastrksdp | August 15th, 2011 at 12:03 pm
    “Kid Handsome, I’m playing the world’s saddest song on the world’s smallest violin, just for your judge. In this case, this IS an appropriate use of incarceration. The guy committed violent crimes, and used the mechanisms of the state to fucking kidnap people, ffs.”

    OK, as I said, you’re free to disagree. I just don’t see the point in a 28 year sentence other than just as punishment. I just personally don’t need that much punishment to feel better about the state of justice in the world.

    The Judge will have been punished (I said a year, even two wouldn’t offend me) and won’t be in a position to repeat his actions. Therefore, I say let him go (go after the bribes civilly). I’m not any better off or safer for wont of an additonal 26 or 27 years. The victims aren’t any better off, etc.

    I agree the guy is a bad actor – and I did say that I thought this was a violent crime (though not what we’d traditionally consider a violent crime) – so punishment is warranted. I am just tired of excessive sentencing that serves little purpose and burdens our already idiotically run prison scheme. I don’t see any benefit to keeping him in jail for over 20 years, and I don’t buy the notion that any law or sentence serves as a “deterrent.”

    Just to draw a distinction here, I don’t feel sorry for the Judge (maybe his family) by any stretch. I just think that these types of sentences are stupid and inhumane generally, and I think the cost of incarceration in this case far exceeds any “benefits” to society.

    Feel free to disagree. There’s certainly nothing provable I can point towards to say that you are wrong. It’s just my opinion.

  29. #29 |  Just Plain Brian | 

    It was child porn, and the guy was using open wifi. It should not be remarkable that they DIDN’T send in SWAT, but it is, so I’m remarking on it.

    “Investigators say a former Kingsport police officer accessed child pornography over wireless networks belonging to neighbors, businesses and a church.” [Emphasis mine]

    I have a guess why they didn’t send in SWAT this time.

  30. #30 |  Kid Handsome | 

    Let me just add that if we viewed all sentences of any length as last resorts instead of as practical necessities, perhaps he wouldn’t have been able to send kids to juvenile prison at six months a clip without someone questioning his sanity or capacity to be a sitting judge.

  31. #31 |  New York Cynic | 

    I hope the Guerena family gets that and more. The state murders are going to go all out to either portray the Guerena family as illegals or dig up bogus evidence that he was a drug dealer.

  32. #32 |  Mattocracy | 

    @ celticdragonchick,

    How exactly does one enforce this law? How can you prove that an employer is discriminating against people based on employment status and not on the basis of work experience or education?

  33. #33 |  James J.B. | 

    #4

    Sorry, I lost my outrage for the unjust sentence for the ex-judge. Effective life sentence or not – good – the agents of the state should face the harshest sanctions – not the lightest. Hope it is as harsh and hard for him as any other defendant. No, I hope it is worse.

    Also, I don’t think he deserves the chance to be productive again. One year – for accepting bribes and sending KIDS, yes KIDS, to detention for times longer than deserved (this is the PA Supreme Court’s view, BTW). He profitted by putting children in detention. He deserves every day – I hope he lives long enough to serve the entire sentence.

  34. #34 |  celticdragonchick | 

    Who else should they be forced to hire? Hell, why not just turn all private sector hiring decisions over to the federal government?

    I wasn’t aware that “giving equal consideration” and “forced to hire” were the same thing.

    Amazing.

    What else can we redefine today?

    For the record, I have no problem letting the “free market” (whatever the fuck that is, since it seems as elusive as the “perfect socialist state”) take a back seat to social exisgency. We tried the free market thing with respect to people with brown skins, people in wheelchairs (like my spouse who has cerebral palsey) and people with unpopular religious beliefs.

    The free market sure as hell didn’t help them out. Anything that gives more people an opportunity to work and be productive is more important to me then “free market” fundamentalism.

  35. #35 |  JS | 

    What that judge did was no better than some ancient selling children into slavery. When you’re opressed under color of law its way worse. If someone who doesn’t work for the state tries to hurt you you can always fight back but the coward judges and cops and others who hurt people while hiding behind their official government positions deserve far worse punishment because they only opress people because they know people can’t fight back against the state.

  36. #36 |  celticdragonchick | 

    Damn it. I have tried twice to answer Mattocracy and my reply has vanished both times because of my screwed up computer. I give up on it for now.

  37. #37 |  doomboy | 

    In the comments to the article about the Ranger who killed himself ahead of his 9th tour, one person says he is the 5th infantry soldier in that unit that has killed themselves since May. Three of them were in a 3 day stretch at the end of July. Extremely sad, but also suspicious of there being a bit more to this story, why so many in one place over a short period of time.

  38. #38 |  Don't comment much | 

    #5 marco73:

    ’m not sure what could pay for him ruining and ending young lives just for a few bucks.

    I think it would be proper, fitting and just to give each of his victims a chainsaw, 10 minutes alone with the judge, and complete immunity for anything they chose to do during their 10 minutes.

    One at a time.

  39. #39 |  2nd of 3 | 

    “I wasn’t aware that “giving equal consideration” and “forced to hire” were the same thing.”

    They aren’t.

  40. #40 |  Mattocracy | 

    It just seems very difficult to thought police the hiring practices of an HR department.

  41. #41 |  Anonymous | 

    Not really. Most states have a fairly well-settled procedure for anti-discrimination lawsuits by now, it’s simply a matter of tweaking the classes you want to protect.

    If anything this law is slightly self-defeating because an unemployed applicant probably can’t afford an attorney.

  42. #42 |  Dr. T | 

    Police forces across the nation each year confiscate billions of dollars of cash, vehicles, and real estate from suspected drug dealers or drug makers. But, they claim they don’t have the money ($2500 to $5000) to remove hazardous wastes from the methamphetamine labs they bust. I find it hard to believe that a busted meth lab and the people caught operating it don’t have a few thousand dollars in cash or auctionable property. I suspect that they aren’t busting real labs. They’re busting kitchen sink setups for making a few amphetamine pills from pseudoephedrine. They remind me of the feds who busted dinky homemade stills during prohibition and acted like they shut down an illegal distillery.

  43. #43 |  Comrade Dread | 

    @EH

    No, I didn’t.

    Giving you a token title so you can put it on your resume and look like you were actually working a real job and providing a reference to prospective employers in exchange for the promise of part of your future wealth is a bit different than signing you up for seven years and not paying you and giving you a hearty kick in the keister when you’re done.

    I just thought offering an essentially fake job title and reference would be a bit dicey if the person didn’t do any work. So sending and having them complete a few token assignments seemed like a decent way of getting around fraud.

  44. #44 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Kid Judge: I’ll believe it when I see it. Let’s look at the prison he serves his time and see if he doesn’t come up for parole in 18 months or get pardoned by Gov/Pres. Gotta protect yer own kind after all.

  45. #45 |  TC | 

    Cops ignore Meth Labs in favor of shooting pot smokers.

  46. #46 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    Pot smokers don’t shoot back.

  47. #47 |  croaker | 

    @4 The 28 year sentence was actually to save his life. We’re talking Pocono Hillbillies that were going to see justice served if this idiot got off light. He pissed off way too many families that fly the Gadsden Flag, if you get my drift.

  48. #48 |  John C. Randolph | 

    >I actually don’t see the point in such a long sentence for the “Kids for Cash” judge.

    I concur. His sentence should be very short indeed, and involve a sudden stop at the end of an eight-foot drop. Sentencing him to prison is wholly inadequate.

    -jcr

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