Friday, June 08, 2007

What Justice System?

Obviously there is not a single thing happening in the world today than the game of judicial ping-pong being played with Paris Hilton so I'm going to go with it. I don't care much about Paris one way or the other but her case does bring attention to a few points I think are relevant.

If the purpose of our judicial system is, as we usually claim, to protect the safety of the public, protect the rights of individuals, and last but not least...change the behaviour of the offender then I have to ask: WHAT THE HELL ARE WE DOING????

One side screaming "free Paris" and the other side screaming for her blood. Both sides are idiots. Paris is a vacuous, narcissistic little bitch who has been raised by a vacuous, narcissistic bitch. We have a few million of those running around the country, this one just happens to be filthy rich and famous...courtesy of a vacuous and narcissistic public.

Making her stay off of our streets for 45 days certainly increases public safety so I don't have an issue with that regardless of where she spends that time. That covers the public safety aspect.

Protecting her rights doesn't seem to be an issue, there are dozens of people vying to protect every strand of well-bleached hair on her head.

Changing behavior is a bit more problematic though isn't it? Does anyone know a single person who became a better person via an extended incarceration? I don't and I worked in the system. Some got meaner, many got sneakier, a few who were lucky enough to get some help via rehabilitation services did improve their lives and their behavior. I had to conclude that "punishment" does not work, all it does is satisfy our need for retribution. Often it leads to even more tragedy for some innocent person down the road. I can't really lobby for harsher punishment for this idiot than I would for a penniless idiot when I don't believe it would be very productive in either case.

If we're serious about wanting this young woman to change her behaviour I'd suggest we stop screaming for either her release or her blood and sit down and write to the networks requesting no further coverage of her antics. While you're at it please consider adding Donald Trump, Rosie O'Donnell, and a few dozen others to your "do not cover" request. Quit feeding trolls.

If we're serious about improving our so called "justice system" then now is a great time to put our money where our mouths are and start looking at ways we can honestly bring some reason and justice to the system instead of just howling for revenge based upon how much we dislike a particular person.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

9/11: The Ultimate Excuse for Whining

I should know better than to flip on the news at 4 in the morning before I've even had a cup of coffee.

First thing I see is one Mr. Ed Root, president of the Families of Flight 93 whining because a landowner doesn't want to give away 273 acres of his land to the National Park Service to build a memorial.

I'm truly sorry that innocent people died on that flight and I'm sorry for the pain that has caused their friends and families but I have to tell you: innocent people die every single day and we do not confiscate private property from people in order to build them shrines. Mr. Root you can count yourself darned lucky it's Mr. Svonavec's land you're after and not mine because if someone died on mine I'd probably allow the families to visit if they wished but I'd be highly unlikely to sell my land for a public memorial because I consider enshrining a piece of ground an idiotic and wasteful use of land. Mr. Svonavec is willing to sell at a reasonable price, for a purpose as silly as that I'd only sell at a ridiculous price if I were willing to sell at all.

Offer to build 273 homes for families who don't have a prayer of ever owning a square foot of their own as a tribute to your fallen and I'd sell it to you, dirt cheap. Don't ask me to kiss your butts for a shiny monument to feed our national obsession for maudlin sentimentality.

Root claims the families offered Svonavec more than $2,000 an acre for his 273 acres. The group argues that $1,000 to $2,000 an acre is fair market value for the properties in the area.

So far, 60 acres of the 1,300 planned for the memorial have been purchased.

Root said Svonavec rejected the offer, which would amount to more than $546,000, and said he wanted to deal directly with the National Park Service, which is in charge of building the permanent memorial.

"He's holding this project and the American people hostage," said Root, whose cousin, Lorraine Bay, was a flight attendant on Flight 93.

Svonavec said he has maintained from the beginning that he would only negotiate a sale with the park service. He said he is awaiting that offer.

No he is not "holding the American people hostage". You are trying to hold him hostage. It's his land, he can jolly well tell you to jump off a cliff if it suits him. Why on earth would he want to try and negotiate any sort of deal with a whiny windbag like you. You'd probably turn right around and look for some reason to sue him as soon as the deal was closed.

A donation box placed at the Flight 93 Temporary Memorial in Somerset County has revealed a major battle brewing over land that one victim's family member calls the "soul" of the permanent memorial planned to honor those aboard the flight.

Family members said the metal donation box, installed by property owner Mike Svonavec, degrades the memory of their 40 loved ones, who died when hijackers took over the plane on Sept. 11, 2001.

Before Sept. 11, 2001, Svonavec leased the land for surface mining. Since that time, mining operations ceased, and Svonavec claims he's had financial losses amounting to $200,000.

He said he decided to place the donation box at the site on Saturday because his company has been paying $10,000 a month for security since February, when $1 million in federal funding that paid for sheriff's deputies to monitor the crash site ended.

There you go, he's been paying $10,000 a month for security out of his own pocket. I'd just have everyone arrested for trespassing and have done with it. Count yourselves lucky it's him you're dealing with.

If building a billion dollar white elephant on 10,000 acres of land is the only way you can think of to honor your dead then I pity you. I wouldn't pay 1 cent to build anything in remembrance of an act committed by a handful of psychopaths. For certain I do not think you have the right to foist your wishes on a property owner unlucky enough to find himself in the center of all of this.

Grow up Mr. Root. Your relative dying in a terrible act did not suddenly entitle you to trample over the rights of other citizens and building a shrine will not bring them back nor will it do anything to improve the lives of those still living on this earth. For my money I'm more interested in improving life for those still among us than in building temples for the dead.

NY Times

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Blah, Blah, Blah

Politics Plus and Blue Lyon both have decent breakdowns of the Democratic debate. I only have an unreasonable one because I found it neither particularly illuminating or inspiring.

There were some entertaining moments.

Just like CLS at Blue Lyon I did nearly bust a gut laughing when Clinton essentially told Blitzer to stop being an asstard. I had just been fantasizing about breaking a chair over his head.

Gravel is clearly headed for a career as a protest sign waver on a Pahrump streetcorner.

I knew Kucinich wanted to destroy the US economy but he was kind enough to explain how he planned to do it in more detail.

Richardson sucks at public speaking and it's killing him. He is not pretty and that is also killing him.

Edwards is pretty. He and the party "base" both still give me the willies.

Obama and Biden did a good job of looking less stupid than anyone else. Both of them were articulate, probably clean too.

Dodd said something or other. I forget.


1. Looking more and more like I may have to pick a 2nd choice in the not-too-distant future and that is going to be a problem. Or maybe not, it would be either Obama or Clinton so I suppose I could just flip a coin. Economic ruin -vs- permanent bases in Iraq, decisions, decisions.

2. I don't like my party all that much, I just hate Republicans more.

3.The one thing the media did right: picked reasonably normal human beings without a
hardcore party agenda on either side to ask reasonably intelligent questions.

4. If Gravel and Kucinich had a child together it would be a species ending event.

5. Saying that we have the best political system in the world is about like saying we scored 5 points higher on the SAT than a guy with Down's syndrome. Don't get cocky.