Friday, June 8, 2012

Republican solutions

Here's another one from Indecision Forever:
For people who claim skepticism about the efficacy of government, many conservative Republicans are strangely optimistic about the effects legislation can have on the real world.

Concerned about the effects of climate? North Carolina will put those liberal oceans in their place by requiring scientists to change the way they report sea level projections. Worried about the decaying moral fabric of civilization? Tennessee has the answer with its "don't say gay" initiative. There's almost no issue that can't be solved by aggressively ignoring it.

One of Florida's problems appears to be the stunning regularity with which innocent people are convicted of capital crimes. Since 1973, 23 death row inmates have been exonerated in the state. Governor Rick Scott has a novel solution: Eliminate the judicially imposed Innocence Commission that has been active since 2009.

The Commission costs $200,000 to operate, an appropriation that Scott recently vetoed
It's a puzzling decision from the governor, a favorite among Tea Party activists and limited government advocates. In a state with a $70 billion budget, the commission's funding is minuscule. Even if Scott is unconcerned about his state's history of imprisoning innocent people, his veto could cost Florida taxpayers in the long run. A 2011 study of 85 wrongful convictions in Illinois found that convicting and imprisoning the wrong person cost taxpayers $214 million. The actual perpetrators of those crimes went on to commit dozens of additional felonies, including 14 murders. Assuming the costs are similar in Florida, if the commission prevents just one wrongful conviction, it would fund itself for 12.5 years.

"There's almost no issue that can't be solved by aggressively ignoring it." But Republicans find it easier to ignore these things when they're in charge. Note how well they ignored the growing deficit when George W. Bush was president.


Jeff said...

Off topic, but something for your consideration:

WCG said...

I don't know, Jeff. Obviously, the Ten Commandments comes with a lot of baggage.

Of course, I realize that he's just trying to make a point. But re. that killing stuff, it's going to happen, one way or another.

The question is, do we wage war the old way, like George W. Bush, invading nations in order to kill or capture one guy (and failing at that, but ending up with hundreds of thousands of people dead)? Or do we kill just the people who threaten us?

Admittedly, innocents die in either case, but far, far, far fewer with targeted attacks. If these people could be captured and put on trial, then that's absolutely what we should do. But in most cases, they can't - certainly not without putting our own people at unacceptable risk.

"Thou Shalt Not Kill" is simple, and it's attractive for that reason. But in the real world, I'd say that it's simplistic. Then again, it's easy to think that way when I don't like those religious fanatics who throw acid in little girl's faces and fly passenger planes into buildings.

The implications might be troubling. But what's the alternative? We can capture terrorists in America and put them on trial. We can't in Pakistan. This is war, but it's war while trying to keep the casualties low. That's not such a bad thing.

Of course, no war at all would be best. But is that an option? It was an option after 9/11, when we could have considered the attacks a crime (like we did when Timothy McVeigh bombed that Oklahoma City federal building), a matter for the police, using existing international agreements. But Bush wanted to play war, so war it is.

It's too late to change that now.

Jeff said...

I still believe George Carlin hit it on the button when he re-worked the Ten Commandments, especially the "Thou Shalt Not Kill" part.

Religion has never had a problem with killing people. The more devout they are, the more they see killing as being negotiable. It depends on who's DOING the killing and who's BEING killed.

WCG said...

Yeah, George Carlin is always worth a listen, Jeff. Thanks.