Randoms of the weekend

Reason has a big feature on wrongful convictions. In related news, it looks like the sort of person that ends up in prison is better off there by all sorts of measures.

Science is the one area in which we should see progress, if we see it no where else. Oops and oops again.

The WSJ has an op-ed on New Jersey’s Supreme Court passing, what is effectively, an appropriations bill. "[T]he state high court ordered the state to spend an additional $500 million for 31 schools in some of the state’s worst districts." So much for limited government.

Here’s an entry for Alt Right’s "so this is how it ends" series. Seriously, watch the video.

White flight and the breakdown of the family.

The cheap chapulas taste bitter.

Chuck on policing:

It is much more preferable to have our safety come from the virtue of the citizenry. Self-policing through networks of shame, responsibility, and duty to community are preferred to the mercenary efforts of people who erect crappy imitations of the same virtues.

Unfortunately, "shame, responsibility, and duty to community" are out-dated concepts. Safety will have to be provided by an ever-larger state as a result.

The lost art of legislation:

Congress no longer “legislates” (that is, passes binding universal laws) in the way the Founders intended when they wrote the Constitution. Instead, Congress passes general statutes containing policy goals, but delegates the power to write the actual operating laws to executive branch administrators and independent agencies. In practical terms, this means that the executive branch and independent administrative agencies, rather than Congress, actually determine the details—the real law as it will operate on citizens.

The post goes on to argue that agencies legislation is arbitrary. I disagree. Agency legislation is highly predictable – agencies want more funding and they will craft the legislation in a way that will get them more.

China wants to start a special economic zone . . . in Idaho.

Married people tend to be better off than unmarried people, so Matthew Yglesias thinks we should tax married people more heavily. What could possibly go wrong? It’s not like you can get un-married or anything.

There’s been a lot written about why banks aren’t lending. I reviewed some loan files in my day, and I don’t see how it would be possible to make loans in today’s environment. Imagine trying to figure out what your healthcare and energy costs will be in 7 years.

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6 Responses to Randoms of the weekend

  1. Handle says:

    The Reason article is the special-pleading case right out of the “Innocence Project” franchise handbook (there’s one at nearly every major law school). The point can only be “make the minimum standard of evidence for conviction higher notwithstanding the jury’s judgment”. And many states already do exactly that – by requiring DNA tests when it’s feasible to do one.

    At any rate, “exoneration” is not what it’s made out to be – and often can be accomplished on procedural (“technicality”) matters. Is the defendant clearly guilty, but it turned out he only got to talk to his court-appointed counsel for 15 minutes and was “pressured” (advised” into taking the plea? Well then, good enough for the appellate judge – conviction overturned, record expunges, defendant “exonerated”.

    The truth is there is a literal army of law students just frantically scouring the dockets for the chance to uncover a case just like this, and they rarely find one despite millions of people in prison. In fact, when they do find just a single one once every few years (per 50,000 homicides or so), the whole Progressive blogosphere goes into a tizzy. Almost everything they actually find are old rape convictions where the only evidence was the testimony of the victim, which was more common back in the day. But this is a mystery to me because I don’t understand how any woman could say anything in error concerning rape. At any rate, DNA is used 99.9% of the time these days,

    As for the New Jersey Abbot v. Burke case – what the Court has done is, of course, absurd and undemocratic, however, it is in the NJ constitution in the most ridiculous and ambiguous language possible, and inserted at a time when the dangers of loose interpretation were already well understood by common experience. It’s right there in Article VIII, Section IV:

    The Legislature shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of free public schools for the instruction of all the children in the State between the ages of five and eighteen years.

    So, what’s “thorough and efficient” mean then? Well, anything the Supreme Court wants it to mean, of course. A lot of states did the same thing, with words like “adequate” and “sufficient” and it was a bit of a nationwide fad of amendments in the 1960’s. You’re just asking for lawsuits to make the Justices define the terms with language like that, and that’s exactly what happened.

    It’s a stupid law, and it’s a stupid decision, but you can’t say they’re just making it all up, or they had clear guidance that they ignored. When those who write constitutional amendments with vague positive-requirements in them do so vaguely, they might as well just write, “And the Supreme Court shall permanently act as a super-democratic council and supervise the administration of X however they best see fit in accordance with their wisdom, prudent judgment, and political and ideological bias.”

  2. Simon Rierdon says:

    Thank you Foseti for the link. I hope you don’t mind that I added you to both Veritas Aculeus and Apocalypse Cometh blogrolls.

  3. Lester Hunt says:

    The cat girl video is a parody/hoax. Note that in the next video in the series she appears as a simultaneous-talking pair of Siamese twins. But it is funny!

  4. Doug1 says:

    “[T]he state high court ordered the state to spend an additional $500 million for 31 schools in some of the state’s worst districts.”

    I think governor Christie should just refuse to do so.

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