The Prison Problem – David Brooks, The New York Times

David Brooks concludes: Finally, recategorizing a problem doesn’t solve it. In the 1970s, we let a lot of people out of mental institutions. Over the next decades we put a lot of people into prisons. But the share of people kept out of circulation has been strangely continuous. In the real world, crime, lack of education, mental health issues, family breakdown and economic hopelessness are all intertwined.Changing prosecutor behavior might be a start. Lifting the spirits of inmates, as described in the outstanding Atlantic online video “Angola for Life,” can also help. But the fundamental situation won’t be altered without a comprehensive surge, unless we flood the zone with economic, familial, psychological and social repair.’

Source: The Prison Problem – The New York Times

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Planned Parenthood Chief Faces G.O.P. Critics at Congressional Hearing – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — The embattled president of Planned Parenthood on Tuesday angrily disputed what she called “outrageous accusations” by Republicans that her organization profits from the sale of fetal tissue, telling Congress that the charges are “offensive and categorically untrue.” ”

Source: Planned Parenthood Chief Faces G.O.P. Critics at Congressional Hearing – The New York Times

Black anti-crime activism in the ’60s and ’70s helped pave the way for our current system of draconian drug laws and mass incarceration. nytimes.com|By Michael Javen Fortner

There were many good comments after this piece, including: John Graubard New York 5 hours ago

“The history of “law enforcement” in Black neighborhoods has gone through several iterations, none of them good.

Up until about 1960 the policy was basically for the police to (a) close their eyes to low-level criminal activity there, (b) act as an enforcement arm for white-controlled organized crime by preventing local competition, and (c) strictly enforce the laws when a Black man committed a crime outside the Ghetto. (For those of us who can remember, it was as if a wall existed on East 96th Street, white to the south, Black to the north.)

Then we had the Rockefeller Drug Laws. The first was for civil commitment, but when that did not work we had the punitive laws that basically put everyone involved away for a long, long time.

Then came the “broken windows policy” and stop-and-frisk, which did get some career criminals off the street, but also fed into the perception, whether or not true, of a New Jim Crow through the unequal enforcement of the laws.

What we need is something simple – fair, reasonable and equal enforcement of the law, along with decriminalization of simple drug possession. Of course, unfortunately, that has never been tried.”

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Black anti-crime activism in the ’60s and ’70s helped pave the way for our current system of draconian drug laws and mass incarceration.
nytimes.com|By Michael Javen Fortner

The Blackmail Caucus, a.k.a. the Republican Party The Republican Party in the Boehner era has had little understanding of economic or political facts, and it will probably get worse. nytimes.com|By Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman: “For me, Mr. Boehner’s defining moment remains what he said and did as House minority leader in early 2009, when a newly inaugurated President Obama was trying to cope with the disastrous recession that began under his predecessor.

There was and is a strong consensus among economists that a temporary period of deficit spending can help mitigate an economic slump. In 2008 a stimulus plan passed Congress with bipartisan support, and the case for a further stimulus in 2009 was overwhelming. But with a Democrat in the White House, Mr. Boehner demanded that policy go in the opposite direction, declaring that “American families are tightening their belts. But they don’t see government tightening its belt.” And he called for government to “go on a diet.” ”

The Republican Party in the Boehner era has had little understanding of economic or political facts, and it will probably get worse.
nytimes.com|By Paul Krugman

A Francis Effect for a Broken System At its core, the pope’s message in Congress was how to live a life and share a planet. Simple. He didn’t scold, and he didn’t lecture. nytimes.com|By Timothy Egan

At its core, the pope’s message in Congress was how to live a life and share a planet. Simple. He didn’t scold, and he didn’t lecture.
nytimes.com|By Timothy Egan

The Connection Between Cleaner Air and Longer Lives – Michael Greenstone, The New York Times

“Back in 1970, Los Angeles was known as the smog capital of the world — a notorious example of industrialization largely unfettered by regard for health or the environment. Heavy pollution drove up respiratory and heart problems and shortened lives.But 1970 was also the year the environmental movement held the first Earth Day and when, 45 years ago this month, Congress passed a powerful update of the Clean Air Act. (Soon after, it was signed by President Richard Nixon, and it was followed by the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency and passage of the Clean Water Act, making him one of the most important, though underappreciated, environmentalists in American history.)”

Source: The Connection Between Cleaner Air and Longer Lives – The New York Times

Dewey, Cheatem & Howe Recent cases of disturbing business practices underscore the need for good regulation, which is at stake in next year’s election. nytimes.com|By Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman: “No doubt I, like anyone who points out ethical lapses on the part of some companies, will be accused of demonizing business. But I’m not claiming that all businesspeople are demons, just that some of them aren’t angels.

There are, it turns out, people in the corporate world who will do whatever it takes, including fraud that kills people, in order to make a buck. And we need effective regulation to police that kind of bad behavior, not least so that ethical businesspeople aren’t at a disadvantage when competing with less scrupulous types. But we knew that, right?”

Recent cases of disturbing business practices underscore the need for good regulation, which is at stake in next year’s election.
nytimes.com|By Paul Krugman

After Volkswagen Revelation, Auto Emissions Tests Come Under Global Scrutiny – The New York Times

“In the United States, as attorneys general across the country opened investigations, Dan Becker, director of the safe climate campaign at the Center for Auto Safety, said the country also needed to rethink how emissions were tested. Independent testing has shown a widening gap between results in laboratories and the real world, raising suspicion.“The automakers have proven that they’re not trustworthy,” Mr. Becker said. “The government has to overhaul the testing to make sure that independent parties ensure that the cars that are put on the road pollute less and are safe.” ”

Source: After Volkswagen Revelation, Auto Emissions Tests Come Under Global Scrutiny – The New York Times

Volkswagen Test Rigging Follows a Long Auto Industry Pattern – The New York Times. Time for criminal penalties

“In the United States, automakers’ lobbying has ensured that the statute giving powers to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “has no specific criminal penalty for selling defective or noncompliant vehicles,” says Joan Claybrook, a former administrator of the agency and longtime auto safety advocate. There are no criminal penalties under laws applying to the E.P.A. for violations of motor vehicle clean air rules, though there is a division of the Justice Department devoted to violations of environmental law.”

Surely, it is time for criminal penallites.

Source: Volkswagen Test Rigging Follows a Long Auto Industry Pattern – The New York Times

Trump and Fiorina’s Snake Oil Sales – Joe Nocera, The New York Times

“Business wonk that I am, my favorite moment in last week’s Republican debate came when Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump got into a spat over which of them had the lousier track record as business leaders. “The company is a disaster,” scoffed Trump, referring to Hewlett-Packard, the iconic technology company Fiorina ran from 1999 to 2005. Trump continued: “When Carly says the revenues went up that’s because she bought Compaq. It was a terrible deal, and it really led to the destruction of the company.” Fiorina responded by focusing on how Trump ran his three Atlantic City casinos into the ground. “You ran up mountains of debt, as well as losses,” she said, “using other people’s money, and you were forced to file for bankruptcy not once, not twice [but] four times, a record four times.” They’re both right. Fiorina’s tenure at HP was indeed a disaster, and Trump’s casino interests did indeed file for bankruptcy multiple times. Now that Trump and Fiorina are number one and number two in a recent poll — oy! — it’s worth taking a closer look at their business records.”

Source: Trump and Fiorina’s Snake Oil Sales – The New York Times