Roberts: Don’t Leave Home with Two Phones on Your Person; Dems and White Males; Executions, Prison, and Sentencing Costs; and WS Quotes

– I have my own personal phone and also a business phone. I am also a straight up guy, former Marine Sergeant, Scout Leader, VP on a Planning Commission for the Township, etc. etc. etc. I travel a lot and I do get out and walk the streets of the cities I visit for exercise and out of sheer boredom from being cooped-up. More than likely I will carry both of my phones as someone could call me from overseas and my family may want to get a hold of me urgently. I separate business from family as the company already knows too much about my life. For a person to carry two phones on your belt, in your purse, or in your brief case; here is an interesting take on carrying them:

Two Phones

Police suggest those who carry two phones can be suspected of selling drugs. Chief Justice John Roberts, the pillar of court activism, says there may be reasonable cause for police officers to believe that people carrying two phones are also engaged in the sale of drugs. Huh? So, don’t leave your home with two phones on your person as Roberts just (almost) made it legal for the police to stop and question you while you are walking to the nearby Chop House or Ruth Cris’s restaurant to meet clients for dinner.

It is worth the read at Crooks and Liars:”The Supreme Court’s Real Technology Problem: It Thinks Carrying 2 Phones Means You’re A Drug Dealer” Originated at: parker higgins dot net; The Supreme Court’s real technology problem

– Do Dems really need White Males when there exists a growing Hispanic population? Digsby writes a snippet of her Salon article on Hullabaloo exploring the Democrats efforts to bring back the Southern White Male into the fold.

[I]f those conservative, white Southern male voters ever wake up to the fact that their enemies aren’t feminazis, African-Americans or Latinos and figure out just who it is who’s really keeping them down, I’m quite sure the Democrats would be proud to have them back in the fold. Until then Bubba’s going to be the heart and soul of the GOP. He’s their problem now.

HT: Can the Democrats finally stop chasing their (Southern male) white whale? and GOP’s white Southern men problem: Why they can’t hold Democrats down any longer

– From my literary dungeons or a little bit of Gonzo: “Your procedure would be prohibited if applied to cats and dogs,” Justice John Paul Stevens told a lawyer arguing for Florida. John Paul Stevens comment was made when this drug-induced-death procedure was in place for the execution of prisoners:

1. Barbiturates are injected into the person to anesthetize them. This in itself could be the delivering blow to life if delivered in a massive dose. Prison officials do not want to subject the witnesses and executioner to 30 minutes of waiting for death.
2. Pancuronium bromide is injected as a paralytic agent to keep the prisoner from twitching. It is not needed to cause death. It also makes it harder to tell if the prisoner is sufficiently anesthetized and in pain from the final dose.
3. Potassium Chloride is administered which causes a painful cardiac arrest if the prisoner is not sufficiently anesthetized. Dogs are no longer put to sleep using this method as it is painful. No precautions are taken to assure a prisoner is sufficiently anesthetized and much is done to prevent knowing such.

Since then many drug companies will not sell to the state governments as they get a bad rap for supplying drugs for execution. I can personally vouch for the potassium drip as twice I tolerated them in 2012 a week at a time. It burns as it goes up your arm. There is more to this argument against the death penalty.

And if they are innocent? From 1973 through 2003, 125 prisoners have been released from death row due to wrongful convictions. In 2003 alone, 10 prisoners were released. In 2000, Illinois Governor Ryan commuted the sentences for 167 inmates on death roll to natural life in prison. His reasoning was he could not be sure of whether the convictions were legitimate after releasing the 13th inmate from death roll due to wrongful conviction. 13 of 180 or ~7% error rate in Illinois. ~3800 inmates were on death row in 2000 and up till that point, 125 were released and exonerated for a percentage of ~3.2%. While not exact (it is probably higher), the 3.2% stands in defiance of Louisiana State Prosecutor Marquis and Supreme Court Justice Scalia’s claim of less than 1% being innocent and sentenced to death.

And what about the cost of housing them? Execution could be cheaper if we were to subvert the rights of prisoners during trial and on appeal to state and federal courts. A 2003 legislative audit in Kansas revealed total costs for the death penalty at 70% more than non-death sentence cases with a median cost of $1.26 million as opposed to $.74 million. Since 1995 when the death sentence was reinstated in NY, the cost for each of 5 people condemned, not executed yet, was ~$23 million per person for a total of $165 million. The Comptroller for the state of Tennessee audit revealed that death sentences cases increased costs by 48%. These are costs associated with the trial up till and including sentencing and not taking into account appeals.

“New Jersey taxpayers over the last 23 years have paid more than a quarter billion dollars on a capital punishment system that has executed no one.” 197 capital cases, 60 convictions, 50 overturned, and no executions carried out since 1983. Average cost = ~$25 million/conviction.

And then we have the botched executions. “technician looked at Lockett’s arms, legs, feet and neck before ultimately placing the IV in Lockett’s groin area five minutes before the blinds were lifted, Patton wrote in a timeline sent to the governor. The area with the IV was covered by a sheet so that witnesses couldn’t see his groin, blocking their view of the vein where the needle was inserted.

After Lockett said he had no last words, the execution began. They administered the drug midazolam, which is meant to induce unconsciousness. Ten minutes later, they announced that he was unconscious. “This is the first execution I’ve covered that they’ve made a point of pronouncing someone unconscious before they pronounce him dead,’ Branstetter said.

Three minutes later, ‘he violent reaction’ began, she said. First, she saw his foot kick. Then his body bucked, he clenched his jaw and he began rolling his head from side to side, trying to lift his head up, grimacing and clenching his teeth. ‘He mumbled some things we didn’t understand,’ Branstetter said. ‘The only thing I could make out was when he said ‘man.’

It looked like he was trying to get up, she said.

‘He looked like he was in pain to me,’ Branstetter said. ‘How much pain, nobody knows but him.'” What it was like watching the botched Oklahoma execution

There is no living hell like being confined for the rest of your natural life in a level 4 prison with 4-8 hours out and the rest of your time in a cell. In a level 5 prison, the shower comes to you and you have 1 hour out by yourself.

Were they Wrong?

“Both give rise to a systematic aversion to government regulation of private economic activity. For him, recognition that the workings of such markets sometimes destroy asset values, jobs, or even entire industries is still not ground for interference in the economy in the aggregate, or with individual transactions to which two or more private parties voluntarily agree.”

In a “state of shocked disbelief,” the maestro of the US economy testified to Congress that he also “contributed” to the economy’s recent downfall; but, but, he did not cause it. He testified that “he made a mistake in believing that banks operating in their own self interest would also protect their shareholder and depositor’s interests.”

Waxman (soon to Retire) “My Question for you is simple. Were you wrong?; “Well partially,” the former Fed Chairman answered. Even as billions of dollars are pumped into the economy to maintain liquidity and prevent the nation and the world from plunging into a depression, Greenspan will not admit his turning a blind eye to Derivatives, telling the world to look elsewhere to invest, and keeping Fed interest rates at 1% for too long as he led the largest economy of the world off a cliff. Hard to belief this testimony and his philosophy, it is ok to have these types of recessions as long as there is no regulation to prevent them from occurring as a result of this market.

Some Comments from some of the characters who helped bring about this crisis:

Greenspan shot back that CFTC regulation was superfluous; existing laws were enough.’Regulation of derivatives transactions that are privately negotiated by professionals is unnecessary,’ he said. ‘Regulation that serves no useful purpose hinders the efficiency of markets to enlarge standards of living.'”

Senator Gramm opened a June 21, 2000 hearing calling for ‘regulatory relief:’ “ ‘I think we would do well to remember the Lincoln adage that to ask a society to live under old and outmoded laws — and I think you could say the same about regulation — is like asking a man to wear the same clothes he wore when he was a boy.'”

Levitt’s thoughts: ‘In fairness, while Summers and Rubin and I certainly gave in to this, we were not in the same camp as the Fed,’ he said.’The Fed was really adamantly opposed to any form of regulation whatsoever. I guess if I had to do it over again, I certainly would have pushed for some way to give greater transparency to products which turned out to be injurious to our markets.'”

Goldschmid, the former SEC commissioner and the agency’s general counsel under Levitt: ‘In hindsight, there’s no question that we would have been better off if we had been regulating derivatives — and had a clearinghouse for it.'”

“On Sept. 26, 2008 SEC Chairman Christopher Cox shut down the program. Cox, a longtime champion of deregulation, said in a statement posted on the SEC’s Web site, ‘the last six months have made it abundantly clear that voluntary regulation does not work.’”

“cast the shadow of regulatory uncertainty over an otherwise thriving market, raising risks for the stability and competitiveness of American derivative trading.” Summers testifying in front of Congress on the memo coming from the Cassandra of the coming crisis Brooksley Born. Congress placed a 6 month moratorium on the CFTC’s powers to regulate derivatives. Brooksley resigned June 1999.

More at another time.