Linky Friday #151: Crime Against Man & Nature

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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  1. Avatar Brandon Berg
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    E4: Correction: Produced that much on one particularly windy day. I’m more interested in what percent of their energy they’re getting from it on an ongoing basis, a fact which is disappointingly absent from the article.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq
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    C2/C3: This is why it is a very bad idea to treat sex crimes differently from other crimes. The man’s civil liberties are being violated even though he has been acquitted. Your tried, found not guilty or guilty, and if found guilty you do your time and that should be that. There should be no sex offenders registries or anything like that. Its not like we have thief registries for people convicted of larceny and place restrictions on them living close to commercial property.Report

    • Avatar notme in reply to LeeEsq
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      Sure, then let’s go back to old rules of evidence. I believe that sexually based offenses are worse than property crimes due to the very personal nature of the violation.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to notme
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        Then tag a sentencing enhancement to them. But putting people on a list that follows them forever just because their crime had a sexual component to it is nuts.

        Ya know, I could see the value of a registry, if it was limited to people who are truly at risk of re-offending, and getting put on that list would require the approval of at least 2 psychologists who had an opportunity to evaluate the person in question (and not just an opinion formed from reading a file). Then, maybe, such a registry would have value.Report

        • Avatar notme in reply to Oscar Gordon
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          First, I meant do direct comment about the usefulness of a registry. I go back and forth about the usefulness of them. But in general I do think sexually based crimes are worse than property crimes and the punishments should reflect that. Personally, I still think we should execute some rapists. I found this about recidivism rates.

          The 15-year recidivism rate is 13 percent for incest perpetrators, 24 percent for rapists, and 35 percent for child molesters of boy victims.

          http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/misunderstood-crimes/

          Are those high enough to justify a registry, I don’t know?Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to notme
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            I think a person can make the argument that such recidivism, given a lack of ability to get consistent treatment & rehabilitation results for such offenders, justifies a registry.

            What can not be justified is the non-existent bar to entry for that registry. In some cases, a conviction is not even required. Given the realities of our justice system, such as DAs over-charging to force plea deals, inadequate resources for defense counsel, etc., any theoretical bar that might exist is easily cleared.

            Getting put on the registry should be something a DA really wants to work for, not something he gets for free.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon
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              Right. Teenagers are getting slapped on the registry for sending naughty pics to each other — or having sex with a few years age difference. People are getting slapped on for public urination.

              I really think the DA should have to make a case to a jury (or judge in a plea bargain) that this is something that’s going to happen again, rather than people pleading to public urination or texting their GF getting slapped onto a life-time list by default.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to notme
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            Probably using something less than a 15-year span, but for comparison sake this seems notable:

            The percentages rearrested (but not necessarily guilty) for the “same category of offense” for which they were most recently in prison for were:
            13.4% of released robbers
            22.0% of released assaulters
            23.4% of released burglars
            33.9% of released larcenists
            19.0% of released defrauders
            41.2% of released drug offenders
            2.5% of released rapists

            More context:

            Within 3 years following their 1994 state prison release, 5.3 percent of sex offenders (men who had committed rape or sexual assault) were rearrested for another sex crime, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. If all crimes are included, 43 percent of sex offenders were rearrested for various offenses.

            Sex offenders were less likely than non-sex offenders to be rearrested for any offense—43 percent of sex offenders versus 68 percent of non-sex offenders. But sex offenders were about four times more likely than non-sex offenders to be arrested for another sex crime after their discharge from prison—5.3 percent of sex offenders versus 1.3 percent of non-sex offenders.

            Sex offenders with the highest rate of rearrest for another sex offense were those who had a history of prior arrests for various crimes. While 3.3 percent of sex offenders with one prior arrest were arrested for another sex crime after their release, that percentage more than doubled (7.4 percent) for those with 16 or more prior arrests for different types of crimes. Of the released sex offenders who allegedly committed another sex crime, 40 percent perpetrated the new offense within a year or less from their prison discharge.

            The 5.3 vs 1.3 may not be as significant as it sounds, as it compares people who committed Crime X and people convicted of Crimes A-W and Y and Z and whether or not they committed X… so you’d expect people who committed Crime X to be more likely to commit Crime X.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon
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          Like so many other things, expanding these lists to include any and everything even remotely related makes them less effective. The guy who ducks behind a dumpster to piss doesn’t belong on the same list as the guy who violently rapes or the woman who sexually abuses her children*. Learning that my neighbor is on the list tells me nothing because that could mean so many things. Reserve it for violent offenders who are at high risk to offend again.

          * I’d argue the dumpster pisser doesn’t belong on ANY list but even conceding he does belong on some list, it is certainly a very different list.Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to LeeEsq
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      Sex crime registries isn’t obviously illegitimate program in theory, and the loss of liberty involved isn’t out of proportion to what’s at stake when offenders are convicted serious crimes (years or even decades in prison). The actual implementations, on the other hand, are routinely awful, for many of the same reasons that our justice system as a whole is routinely awful.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to LeeEsq
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      Well…

      We treat all crimes similarly in some respects. High burden of proof, presumption of innocence, right to counsel and other facets of due process.

      We treat different kinds of crimes differently, within that rubric, for a variety of reasons related to the way in which those crimes are committed, the harm that results from them, and the emphasis desired from the constellation of various possible reasons for punishment.

      E.g., we send drug offenders to classes in the hopes that they learn how to not take drugs, because we believe that whatever it is that makes someone use drugs illegally can be diverted to some extent and in some cases through attending such a class. (FTR I don’t think available data backs this theory up, but this seems to be the theory anyway.) But we don’t do that with murderers or rapists, because we see very little possibility that whatever it was that drove someone to murder or rape is something that going to a class can remediate. Similarly, it’s easy to quantify monetary harm for a property crime and impose an award of restitution, but it’s quite hard to quantify monetary harm for a sex crime (in most cases) so restitution orders are either inappropriate or arbitrary (and to the extent that they are arbitrary, they seem questionable from an Eighth Amendment perspective).

      Megan’s Law lists are justified on the claim that they are not punishment for a crime, but rather preventative measures against future crimes. Which doesn’t explain why failing to comply with sex offender registry laws are separate crimes, nor does it really acknowledge the fact that this person who has completed service of a punishment for a past crime and has committed no other crime must endure a substantial minimization of liberty (restriction on choice of places in which he might live, intrusion on privacy imposed unequally on former offender as compared to other kinds of people) and whether those things are narrowly-tailored to prevent crimes from happening. Again, I suspect that recidivism data doesn’t back up the idea that a Megan’s Law registry is narrowly-tailored to realize the objective of preventing future crimes as opposed to other available and plausible means, even if we concede that preventing future crimes constitutes a compelling interest (and yes, it probably is a compelling interest, I’m just saying let’s not take that for granted).Report

  3. Avatar notme
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    48.9% of Union Members Worked for Government in 2015

    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/489-union-members-worked-government-2015

    As if most gov’t workers really need a union.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to notme
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      Amusingly, nowhere in there as the obvious statement of “Most were teachers”.

      In fact, proportionally — most were Texas and California teachers. And in Texas, the Teacher’s Union is a non-entity. It exists primarily to futilely try to prevent the Legislature from raiding the pension fund. (Teacher’s don’t get SS here).

      There’s no tenure, there’s no union reps, the benefits of awful, there’s not even a vaguely effective lobbying wing (note the aforementioned “pension” issue – -or perhaps note the national fun our State School Board gets up to yearly). But hey, you get year-long contracts. Some people even get three year ones, if the district really likes you and wants to keep you.

      Aww, details. I guess “Most of public union employees teachers, useful for attacking in political ads but generally neutered — it’s those police unions you want to watch out for” is so boring and hard to use to grind an axe.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Morat20
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        Or as Jon Stewart once noted, the conservative lineup of Enemies Of The State looks like a kindergarten primer on Our Community- teachers, firemen, cops and nurses.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Chip Daniels
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          Since when have conservatives ever put cops in their line up of hate worthy figures? It’d be a useful development if they did.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to North
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            Oops!
            I thought when they complain about unionized public employees they meant public employees who are unionized.

            I could be wrong though.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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              That’s the Libertarians you’re thinking of.

              They hate public sector unions.

              This is where one would write an essay about how Libertarians hate the very concept of law enforcement, the very concept of education, and the very concept of fire departments even though they hypocritically pay taxes.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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              Conservative love police and fire unions.

              Or perhaps they fear them just enough…Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                B-But, wasn’t it Rush Limbaugh, the very model of a modern conservative, who in the late 90’s called the police, and I quote, “Jack Booted Thugs”, when the EPA arrested that farmer?

                And surely, when people talk about lazy public employees, they mean cops and prison guards, who accrue obscene amounts of overtime pay at the public expense?

                I admit to being confused about the politically correct way for a conservative to feel towards those OTHER federal employees, the ones in the Department of Defense.
                Are the troops dull and stupid like road workers, or venal and brutal like cops?

                Maybe what some enterprising conservative can do is make a scorecard of all public employees, and sort them out by those who are to be hated, and those who are to be embraced.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                Fear it is.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Chip Daniels
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                A soldier’s union, now that would be fished up. I suspect illegal and possibly unconstitutional too.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to North
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                The Dutch do it, apparently, and I thought the Swedes did too.

                In practice, in the US, the professionalization of the cadre of non-commissioned officers sorta serves the function as ‘shop stewards’, especially in the billet served by the senior NCO of a unit. Granted, that person is not selected in anything remotely like a democratic process, but their main job is balancing the needs of the unit with the needs of the enlisted service member, and acting as their advocate in the the command when necessary.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Chip Daniels
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                Conservatives like federal employees that are subject to the UCMJ[1], don’t like GS DoD employees, but like contract employees who make all their money from DoD work.

                [1] and within this group there’s a hierarchy. “Combat” gets props, “Combat Support” not as much.

                eta: except for (some) chaplains, who are the supportiest of combat support, but get props, and reflexive defense when they foul up.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Kolohe
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                [1] and within this group there’s a hierarchy. “Combat” gets props, “Combat Support” not as much.

                Which is stupid. The pointy end of the stick still needs the stick to be effective.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                For sure, but the social dynamics between remfs/pogs and the ‘real’ military is still a thing that is probably unavoidable.

                The one nice thing about the so-called disconnect between civilians and the military is that no one on the stage last night really gets that distinction (and Donald thinks his time at military school counts) – and contrast with, say, Jim Webb, who does – so it isn’t a big thing as it used to be, except for Bill Whittle types.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                My own personal scorecard for Public Sector Service Unions:

                Are we all in agreement that the job in question is part of a jobs program that isn’t really supposed to do much more than put a butt in a seat?

                Okay, I’m down with the union.

                Is the person doing a job that ought to be actually providing some serious benefit to the community at large? Then it should be fairly easy to fire obvious bad actors.

                If we reach the point where unions protect cops who destroy their own dash cams, say, we’ve got a problem worse than the problems created by police not having unions.

                There are similarly horrid stories to tell about surely non-representative excesses to be found in education.

                The point of, say, law enforcement and, say, teaching is *NOT* to provide 40 years employment and a pension.

                The DMV? Sure. That can be the point of the DMV.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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                Jobs program???? Ummm wha??Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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                You know. Any time that the argument is made that we shouldn’t fire a particularly crappy example of a this or a that profession that ostensibly is there to provide a particular valuable service to the public (e.g., the “rubber rooms” that always get brought up for teachers when this topic comes up), the point seems to be that the purpose of, for example, a teacher is not to teach children this or that subject, but to provide a middle class job with a middle class pension to a middle class person.

                When the point of being a teacher is not to teach but to have a job, being a teacher in a union is a jobs program. Not an educational one.

                See also: police.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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                Really??? The point of gov jobs is to provide jobs for people. I’m sure someone has made that argument because every argument has been made on the Internet. But is that the reason for gov jobs…ummm no. It seems more like you are picking a weak argument that you want to rail against then anything else. Gov jobs are not meant to be a jobs program unless that is put up front as part of the mission statement, which you know, they aren’t.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to greginak
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                But when government workers are granted job protections that make dismissal extremely difficult, even for serious offenses, and those protections are defended as necessary to protect the workers, one has to wonder what exactly is being protected?

                For instance, the 6 officers Cleveland PD fired for hosing down a car with bullets and killing 2 unarmed people. It took 3+ years to fire them and the Union is appealing it still?

                No job should get that much protection, especially when harmful acts are involved.Report

            • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Chip Daniels
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              That’s assuming a considerable amount of consistency of thought in the face of cognitive dissonance.

              Cops are good
              Unionized employees are bad
              Unionized cops are DANGER DANGER NUANCE ALERT DIVE DIVE DIVE TALK ABOUT TAXATION

              (Yes, of course there are plenty of conservatives who hold nuanced thought, but I don’t get the impression they’re the ones with the talking points about nasty public sector unionses)Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to dragonfrog
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                I will admit that this is one place where there is some BSDI.
                That people generally don’t hold ideologically correct versions of the government- no one consistently likes or dislikes the government.

                Mostly people like the parts that do things they like, when they want them done, and hate the parts that don’t.

                So the FBI is either a courageous bastion of justice or group of jackbooted thugs when it arrests abortion clinic bombers, or environmental activists, depending on which publication you happen to be reading.

                And road crews are lazy bums who ignore potholes, and also stupid jerks for blocking off the road to fix the pothole.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                “no one consistently likes or dislikes the government.”

                Libertarian and anarchists do.Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to Morat20
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        Aww, details. I guess “Most of public union employees teachers, useful for attacking in political ads but generally neutered — it’s those police unions you want to watch out for” is so boring and hard to use to grind an axe.

        Well, looks like someone is watching the watchmen.Report

  4. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    T4 is what you see if you look up “the epitome of a first-world problem”.Report

  5. Avatar Richard Hershberger
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    T5: Unless I am reading that article wrong, it isn’t about the demise of DSL, but about the shortage of it. Some areas have more demand than supply and, mirabile dictu, Adam Smith is not coming to the rescue.Report

    • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Richard Hershberger
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      Comcast’s Law in actionReport

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Richard Hershberger
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      You are correct, but I think this is one of those weird cases where its not simply a free market thing, but a hybrid of market forces providing dis-incentives for upgrading (i.e. cost) but govt forces providing cover for the lack of upgrades (i.e. compliance).

      I’m in a slightly different situation that has caused me to do some research on our county contract with our “High Speed” internet providers. The short version is that the County negotiates coverage and infrastructure support in return for a protected market. The breakdown (for us, at least) is that the county (being small and simple) relies on the provider to demonstrate that it has fulfilled it’s coverage requirements per the contract.

      So, if you look at the county’s coverage map that they use for planning and negotiations, large swaths of Green show us well within the High Speed coverage… but the reality is that many individual consumers are not actually covered, owing mostly to geographical quirks (train tracks, bends in roads, development in new areas, etc.). There’s really no incentive to clean-up the last 2%-4% of unserved or underserved customers.

      And, just to add to the frustration, this happens the most at the edges of the county, where ironically the next county over has a different provider who doesn’t have an agreement to move into your county… so just down the road, someone has 50MB fiber, but we have 1.5MB DSL (that hasn’t been upgraded in the 10-yrs we’ve been here).

      So honestly, I don’t blame AT&T or Century Link or other providers specifically, I’m more disappointed in the contracts the county negotiates and their inability to use the collective value of the denser parts of the county to make sure the further parts are not ignored for decades on end. Reading the public minutes of the lawyer re-negotiating the cartel rights of the cable providers shows some very poor negotiation skills, and illustrates a lack of sophistication in requiring compliance reports for coverage from their vendors.

      The situation in Georgia is even worse than what I’ve experienced in our county… the article ends with pie-in-the-sky talk about AT&T’s new WLL wireless internet that they’ve promised in exchange for the DirectTV merger… but how can that be a negotiation? Will they unmerge the companies once they fail to deliver WLL? I doubt it.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Marchmaine
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        The situation in Georgia is even worse than what I’ve experienced in our county… the article ends with pie-in-the-sky talk about AT&T’s new WLL wireless internet that they’ve promised in exchange for the DirectTV merger… but how can that be a negotiation? Will they unmerge the companies once they fail to deliver WLL? I doubt it.

        LOL.

        The situation in Georgia for AT&T‘s customers is sunshine and puppies compared to the situation in Georgia for Windstream‘s customers.

        There, we get the *third* problem. Yes, I’m sure there are people here also on waiting lists because not enough ports, and I’m sure there are people who are too far away to get DSL,but here we have a nice fun *third* problem.

        First, to set the stage, I live *in a town*. In an actual town, the county seat, with 5000 people. My property is less than 40 feet from a major road, in a large-ish neighborhood. I am not entirely certain where our DSLAM is, but we are literally less than a mile from the *central phone switching area* of the entire county, right in the middle of town.

        We have…3 megs a second DSL. That’s all we can get. For large sections of the town, that’s all people can get. (Some areas do get 6 megs, but I suspect that’s because Windstream had to put in new equipment, and literally could not buy the older stuff anymore.)

        It’s not due to distance, and it’s not due to too many people. It’s due the fact that Windstream has absolutely no competition whatsoever(1) and thus has absolutely no incentive to upgrade *anything*. At all. Ever.

        1) Nor can it ever have, considering that, for some inexplicable reason, it also owns the sole cable company.Report

  6. Avatar notme
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    A1: I’m not sure why the reporter calls the NFL a “con.” I don’t see in the article where the Rams used trickery, deception or fraud to get the deal. The cities involved may be engaging in a poor financial analysis regarding the benefits of the deal but that’s on them.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to notme
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      Nor will Inglewood residents get a vote on the deal, because the City Council blocked that, too. How come? It’s possible that the council members were swayed by the more than $118,000 in campaign contributions made since 2006 by the development firm building the stadium and an associated retail and residential complex. Political corruption, by the way, is also a taxpayer cost.

      Report

  7. Avatar Lyle
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    Re Number E5, it just shows that the old western adage that a mine is a hole in the ground you throw money into still holds. Lots of scams in mining at least since the time of the Comstock lode. The desire to get rich quick still rules, but then Ca and Nv were founded on get rich quick schemes (called gold rushes)Report

  8. Avatar Michael Cain
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    E1: Interestingly, I spent a good chunk of the day in Fort Collins visiting my granddaughter. One of the first thing my daughter asked while the three of us were out running errands was, “Do you want to see the city’s new solar farm? It’s huge!” On the drive north on I-25, I noticed two new drilling pads going in. They’re easy to spot because the first thing that gets built is the visually impressive but largely ineffective sound barriers. I’ll probably be in trouble with my daughter by tomorrow. One of the things the granddaughter has always enjoyed is watching me attempt to juggle. Today she announced, “I juggle now,” and began trying to throw the balls straight up. One of them got high enough that the ceiling fan gave it a good smack and it went bouncing all around the room. She was pleased by that, and never forgets anything, so I expect that she’ll be sneaking off to her room this evening or tomorrow to work on reproducing that throw.

    E4: @brandon-berg ‘s comment is on point. From a policy perspective, one of the important things to notice is that the few places that have gotten wind output to provide >50% of demand for at least an hour — Denmark, Scotland (I think but am not sure), Spain, and Xcel Energy in Colorado — all have rules that allow/require renewable power to be dispatched before other sources. In Europe it happens by law. In Colorado it happens despite federal rules, because the Front Range is so geographically isolated from other demand centers that we get an exemption from the usual regulations.Report

  9. Avatar notme
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    So the Cal pier shooting was an accident? That explains it all. He was just a poor illegal in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/san-francisco-pier-shooting-suspects-seeks-cases-dismissal-36591466Report

  10. Avatar notme
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    When i say in the wrong time and place, I mean he was in the wrong place to find that gun and it accidentally went off. I feel so bad for him.Report

  11. Avatar notme
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    So Obama emailed Clinton on her private account but told us he didn’t know about it? I’m shocked that he lied.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/30/us/politics/22-clinton-emails-deemed-too-classified-to-be-made-public.htmlReport

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