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|Friday, April 4th, 2008|
Massachusetts sex offender registry
I've recently got into a friendly argument with someone over the MA sex offender registry. She argues basically 1) You've paid for your crime and its unfair (its an illegal additional punishment) 2) It prevents someone from finding work after they are released 3) It encourages vigilante justice. I strongly disagree with all 3 arguments.
1) The Supreme Court in Smith vs. Doe
in 2003 upheld Alaska's sex offender registry as Constitutional because it is fundamentally a civil
and not a criminal
action. It is not an additional criminal punishment.
2) This is a myth. Only level 3 sex offender information is available to everyone, and if an employer is accessing your CORI, you must give them permission when you apply for a job. Very few employers actually ask you to agree to be subject to a CORI report. You have to provide them with your social security number and mothers maiden name and explicitly agree to have them check your past criminal records. They also have to tell you exactly while they are turning you down in terms of the job that you will be required to perform. The fact is that people with criminal backgrounds do find work and sex offenders are no different than other criminals with regard to CORI access.
3) There are very few cases of this occurring. When you access the information you agree to specified terms and conditions on how you use that information. In Massachusetts, only level 3 sex offenders (those deemed highly dangerous and most likely to re-offend) have their picture and address available to the public.
In a society, rights
are often in conflict. When you are a level 3 sex offender you have given up certain rights to privacy. People who live in your neighborhood have a right to know that there are sex offenders nearby and they can take action to avoid certain areas. If you are a parent of a child, don't you have a right to know that there is a habitual child molester living on your street? If you are a woman who lives alone, don't you have a right to know that a rapist with 3 past convictions lives in your apartment building?
|Monday, March 31st, 2008|
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Once again, we have simple answers to complex problems
that have been repeatedly tried over and over again. Has more money ever magically solved a social problem? In the abstract, people think money magically fixes things, but they don't realize that money isn't a limitless resource that we can keep tapping into whenever we think something deserves it.
In the State of Massachusetts, the FY 2008 budget dramatically increased youth violence prevention programs (way beyond simple cost of inflation). Now, once again, we have a proposal to once again exponentially increase the amount of money being spent in FY 2009. Has more money made a real difference? Has the violence gone down?
Youth violence is not
the result of lack of money. Violence is a learned behavior that is a function of enculturation and life experience. These programs are the equivalent of putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound: You may think you did good by at least doing something, but it certainly isn't going to stop the bleeding.
The only real way to make a dent in youth violence is with social capital
. We have to link communities as real
communities - not simply neighborhoods. Ferdinand Toennies made this distinction in social groups over 120 years ago in his book Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft
. This is not a new concept, but people keep going back to simple (yet incorrect) solutions.
We need civic engagement and we need parents to actively participate within their religious and social environments. We have to replace negative networks with positive networks. This is not a function of money - it is a function of desire to change. Change comes from within, not from without, we can not toss money at something and think that fixes it.
People don't want to hear that the problems of inner city society can't change without people in those areas changing them, but it is true. We need strong community leaders and even stronger parents.
More money and more programs without a changed cultural context will do absolutely nothing.
|Tuesday, November 20th, 2007|
What I'm not thankful for....
I'm not thankful that we live in a city that anally rapes taxpayers so we can pay police officers to wave traffic by during contruction
I'm all for paying police officers a good salary, they put their life on the line for public safety and it is a noble profession, but "detail work" is a waste of money.
*Yes, I know detail work is paid by the construction companies, but that cost is coming out of our pockets in terms of good and services and utility costs.
|Tuesday, September 25th, 2007|
update on a snark
If you haven't been following this Lulz
, you have missed out on some good times. The OP failed to mention their hilarious website
that makes a claim they are "incorporated as a non-profit". Basically, they convinced a shop owner to give them 10% of the sales during the 4 hour period as well as soliciting money from the customers.
The purpose of this fundraiser for this "non-profit" is to promote literacy. How might you ask? The obvious answer is by having free tarot card readings!There is no better way to promote literacy than having some scientifically invalid and meaningless interpretation of some funny looking cards.
Once we found out exactly how they eventually plan to promote literacy
, more lulz takes place.
The update on all of this is that I called the IRS and they are most definitely not
a tax exempt non-profit. The woman at the IRS suggested I run a search for all 1.7 million incorporated non-profits (not just tax exempt ones) here
. It turns out that they are flat out lying they are a non-profit because "hercules invictus" does not show up
The best case scenario is they are simply lying about being a non-profit but are still going to use the money to spend on some sort of activity (whether that activity will help literacy is another story completely). The worst case scenario is that they are a complete scam.
If they would like to explain themselves or provide information they they are incorporated under another name, I'd be happy to hear it.EDIT:
As it was mentioned below, they do have non-profit status as registered only in State of PA. They are not a national organization. Operating in MA as a non-profit is extremely misleading, and actually is a violation of MA law.
|Monday, September 17th, 2007|
Deval Patrick is set to announce his support for 3 new casinos in MA
. He alone cannot do anything without legislative approval and there is a very strong anti-gambling lobby in this State.
I personally wouldn't put odds on actually getting legal gambling here.
This is one of the very few times I'm actually going to agree with Patrick. The consensus of the economic impact studies has shown legalized casino gambling overall has a positive effect on the economy. The "crime and social ills" argument doesn't really hold up when doing a case by case comparison of other urban centers that brought in casinos.
Therefore, this only leaves the but it is going to cause gambling addiction
argument. This is like saying opening up a new restaurant is going to cause obesity. It is not the purpose of government to limit the benefits to the majority because a small subset of the population will abuse it. There is nothing wrong with gambling and it is enjoyed in moderation by millions of people every year (millions who are going to other places and not spending the money in MA).
|Friday, August 10th, 2007|
Detail money train
Shit like this
really piss me off. First off, I never really understood why the fuck uniformed police officers have to stand watch over construction sites. Is directing traffic really worth a $37 an hour bonus onto your regular salary? Indirectly, we are all paying for this shit. Construction companies are passing on the costs for this into in their bidding for projects or else it is being paid by consumers (such as when Verizon needs a "detail cop").
It is all a huge fucking gravy train. I wish I so lucky to be able to have a deal like that. In every other State, construction companies do this themselves. It doesn't take a huge skill set to wave a flag telling people they can pass or holding up your hand to tell them to stop.
Now it turns out that these money-grubbing detail work cops are sitting around in their cars or chatting on the phone.
|Tuesday, July 17th, 2007|
is an issue that I hope gets resolved very soon. The State of Massachusetts loses millions of dollars every year from residents traveling out of State to go to Mohegan Sun or other casinos. Why do we not build a casino here? I'd love to see a full scale casino including slot machines and table games built at Suffolk Downs.
The research on the impact of casinos on society is very mixed. However, meta-analytic analysis (a way of combining several studies together to show an overall finding) does support positive long term economic impacts. A specific class of studies, such as this
, called "economic impact analysis" have shown consistent positive findings.
Any negative consequences are overwhelmingly offset by the positives.
|Monday, July 16th, 2007|
update to the "benefit" concert
Thanks to ron_newman
is an account of what happened to the lesbian couple. People are free to make up their own minds after reading the story.
To me, it certainly seems like the cops arrived in the middle of a drunken domestic dispute.
|Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007|
Beaten and sexually humiliated
I've been following this benefit event
that was posted in b0st0n
. The initial post uses the verbiage a same sex female couple were unjustly beaten among other forms of humiliation, including sexual, by the Somerville, MA Police Department
. I'll leave out the fact that I don't know what a just
beating and sexual humiliation would entail, but that is a moot point. This is a very serious charge to level against the police department without any backup information. ( read more hereCollapse )
|Thursday, June 14th, 2007|
way to go MA!
After Bribes, intimidation, and overwhelming pressure, it looks like the legislature has succeeded in preventing the people of Massachusetts from having their voice heard
We get a 5-4 SJC decision to create a new meaning of marriage and find a "right" that never existed before, and now people use the buzz phrase "taking rights away". Ugh.
The Governor has done everything possible including outright bribes to get people to switch votes to block the people of MA from voting on this issue.
|Tuesday, June 12th, 2007|
breaking the law
I hope everyone realizes that these teachers are breaking the law
by going on strike. If they want to put the kids first, they would be in the classroom.
|Friday, June 1st, 2007|
Brookline Approves Trans-Fat Ban
Not a New Issue, But...
It's not as controversial as, say, a smoking ban. Or a vote on civil unions. But it's disturbing for a few reasons:
1. According to the Harvard School of Public Health's own research
, when the FDA mandated the inclusion of saturated fats onto nutrition labels of foods, it gave manufacturers good incentive to increase the amount of trans-fat used in their products. Trans-fats have not, until recently, had to be listed, but the effects of trans-fat and saturated fat on cholesterol levels are nearly identical.
Since the FDA required food manufacturers to begin listing trans-fats, no long term studies have been done (and indeed, they haven't been on the label long enough to conduct any) to conclude whether or not the listing of this type of fat has had any impact on consumer activity or public health.
There is a quote in the Globe article that I believe is spot on. Paraphrased, it says that consumers may get the impression that they can now come and eat as many fries, as much ice cream, pizza or other fatty foods in Brookline as they like. While on the surface it may sound condescending toward the consumer, think about it. People are so up in arms over trans-fats that it's the ONLY fat under the gun. Media coverage is so misleading as to practically tout that food without trans-fat (no mention of saturated fat) is as good as health food. More and more people are buying into this, as is evidenced by the exclusive bans.
2. There has been no conclusive evidence showing that reducing or eliminating trans-fats alone in one's diet will significantly contribute to the eradication of cholestorol problems or heart disease. Both of these are caused by many factors: genetics, smoking, drinking, bad diet all around, weight, lack of exercise. With saturated fat still on the menu in Brookline, what difference will it really make?
3. Many restaraunts have already reduced or eliminated trans-fats from their menus voluntarily...just like many offer(ed) South Beach or Atkins-friendly menus. The food industry responds to popular hype. To force private business into doing something with dubious effects on the overall public health is simply another example of the government playing nanny to all of us.
It's rather like saying, "We've heard that this is bad for you and there are studies that say so. So, we won't let you make your own nutrition decisions because you're far too stupid to comprehend the notion of better health in general. Therefore, we shall tell you what may and may not be served to you in restataunts, even though we haven't yet figured out a way to ensure that your personal choices in the grocery store are limited only to that which we deem fit for your consumption, ignorant fool."
Meanwhile, the fact that saturated fat is still on the menu, the fact that many Americans don't exercise or eat healthy to begin with and the fact that restaraunt portioning has grown exponentially over the last decade are wholly overlooked and another town rife with supposedly educated individuals is going to jump on one craze and make it law.
What's next? Forced calisthenics every morning on town commons? (I get that with the Army and believe me, it's not all that it's cracked up to be.) The food police rummaging your pantry to ensure that nothing other than purely organic goods that spoil quickly are in your fridge and pantry? Mandatory fat camps for anyone meeting the general guidelines for obesity?
Shit. I should probably stop now before someone gets an idea... Current Mood: amused
|Monday, May 21st, 2007|
Did anyone doubt that proposed laws such as this
would piss me off? What gives these politicians the right to tell parents how to be parents?
What a waste of legislative time. Do something useful rather than trying to tell people you know what is best for them.
See this post
? Notice how she said she checked the memories and found nothing? That's because the memories function is useless. People should really use something like LJ seek
instead. However, don't try to suggest that perhaps the b0st0n userinfo
should be updated to be more helpful or to reflect actual policies. And definitely don't suggest a policy change. Doing so
makes people really fucking defensive
Another example I neglected to mention in the b0st0n post: I've read b0st0n for over 3 years now, and I don't recall ever seeing a post from any of the people listed as mods in the b0st0n userinfo, and the one person I know is a current mod isn't listed. Is it too much to ask that the mods at least update the userinfo to let us know who wields the mod truncheon? I've been told 7 thousand times now that "livejournal is not a democracy"
, but can it at least be some kind of government that knows how to update its web page?
I know most people find talking about stuff like this boring as hell, but I can't believe what I thought were, for the most part, uncontroversial suggestions were met with such vitriol. So tell me b0st0n_debaters, where did I go wrong?
|Thursday, May 17th, 2007|
, I'm shocked you haven't mentioned this
one yet! A law to protect short & fat people?
|Wednesday, May 16th, 2007|
fraud isn't rape?
In the same general theme of bad SJC decisions, I give you the deceit isn't rape
Not that I expect there to be debate
on this, as I don't know anyone who feels like these cases are not
rape. One case is a man sneaking into the bed of his brother's wife in the middle of the night and impersonating his brother to have sex. The woman actually believes she is having sex with her husband (both men are bald and she was just woken up in the middle of the night). That clearly has to be rape, the woman is completely helpless at that particular moment and, although sex is consensual, she is incapacitated.
I don't totally fault the SJC for this decision, the blame lies more with the legislature for not changing the law. Although, I can clearly see a case to be made that this kind of fraud is a type of "force" and should meet the legal definition of rape anyway.
|Thursday, May 10th, 2007|
Democracy? My Ass
What happened to let the people decide
? Gov Patrick is bribing those lawmakers who disagree with him on this issue with lucrative administration jobs. That is a sickening perversion of the legislative process. Whether you agree or disagree with legalized gay marriage, you should support an honest and fair process. Let the vote happen and if it goes to the people, let it go to the people!
EDIT: Here is an excellent article by the best columinist in Boston, Howie Carr
|Thursday, May 3rd, 2007|
Pit Bull ban
In another stupid move in a long line of government knows what is best for you
stupid moves, the State is pondering the banning of Pit Bulls
My friend cottonmanifesto
posted that story on her LJ and it really pissed me off. Any animal has the propensity to attack if it is mistreated or untrained. I know many people who own pit bulls who are in no way aggressive. Banning pit pulls or placing further restrictions and hurdles to dog ownership ends up hurting responsible pet owners.
|Thursday, March 29th, 2007|
Mark this day
I'm honestly saying something very positive about Devel Patrick. He actually is saying something that Bill Cosby said, namely kids need to pull up their damn pants already
. As I have mentioned in another thread
, culture influences crime.
This is similar to broken windows theory
. If you want to change the culture of crime and violence, you need to change the small items first.
Culture is a major influence on behavior, and if there is to be lasting change to the violence in urban black neighborhoods the culture has to change that reinforces those violent behaviors.
|Tuesday, March 20th, 2007|
this hits close to home
File this one in the if I don't know the problems I won't have to deal with it
bin. The Governor seems to think that understanding school performance is going to be too sticky issue with the teachers union, so we shouldn't rock the boat and not look at what the data actually says.
I study school performance in Massachusetts and I work closely with the EQA. I've published many reports in co-operation with EQA. They are fine people who do quality work and are a service to the Commonwealth. It is sad to think the Governor would rather do away with any school oversight and accountability in an effort to win favor with the teachers union.
The House understands the important role that EQA plays in school reform and I highly doubt EQA will be closed. It is a political move that he knows he cannot win. Deval and the teachers union would rather close their eyes to under-performing schools and districts rather than dealing with the problem.
They don't care about the kids, they care about their job security and keeping the status quo.