Friday, May 16, 2008

Just A Few Thoughts

CALIFORNIA SCHEMIN'

I hear today that the California Supreme Court, or whatever they call them there, has rendered a 4-3 decision allowing for homosexual marriage. This, after they the people, had just a few years ago voted overwhelmingly in support of traditional marriage. Dan Trabue must be hacked big time to see "we the people" ignored and overruled by four unelected people. For the next 30 days, California has no definition for marriage. Only an amendment to their constitution will stop this judicial activism. May God have mercy on California and the four judges who abused their power.

PANDERING?

John McCain has unveiled his plan for dealing with global climate change. Between this and his amnesty plans, I'll really have to pinch my nose closed when I punch his number in November. It's a good thing he insists on keeping taxes low and attacking earmarks. The tax dollars that will be flushed on such stupid legislation have to come from somewhere. He speaks of all those scientists concerned with GW, but doesn't speak at all about all those who know that the Gore version of events is crap.

THIS WOULD BE A CRIME

Of all the wacky things Dan likes to actually say he believes in, and I give him props for sticking with it despite its wackiness, there is one thing I had to think about for a few seconds. That would be his belief that we should be spending money on education opportunities for those in prison. He has some research that claims the recidivism rate is lower for those convicts given training or education while incarcerated. Well, here's my problem with this: They already were given a free education in our fantastic public school system. What did they do with it? So this is how I would tweak Dan's idea. I would charge the con for the schooling. They would pay for the education with their income from the job they get as a result of their training. Non-payment would put their asses back in the slammer for theft of services. Personal responsibility requires this alteration.

ONE MORE TIME

Though I defend him often, mostly because he deserves such defense when I do, George Bush has not been the president I thought he would be. Oh, he was far and away the better choice in both 2000 and 2004. Of that there's no doubt. But for all his good points, he has made some bad moves. Harriet Myers, amnesty for illegals, and stuff like that. But against the three left standing (and I don't count the candidates out there who have no chance of winning anything), I would vote for George in a heartbeat. Without question.

66 comments:

Dan Trabue said...

And how will they pay for the education? Would you propose giving them a bill when they exit prison? That'll help with the recidivism.

What you consider wacky, I consider societally and fiscally responsible.

The majority of inmates will get out of our BIG GOV'T MASSIVE prison system one day. The majority of them with no education will return costing EVEN MORE IN BIG GOV'T TAXATION dollars.

"Give" them an education and fewer return, SAVING money and making for SMALLER, more fiscally responsible gov't.

What is there to even think about in all this if you're truly a fiscally responsible, small gov't Conservative?

Anonymous said...

The judges abused power? Thats a new one. Have you read the 121 page decision? No? I find that amazing. Even the Republican gov. of the state says he is not supporting a ban.

In the end, who cares? Who cares who marries whom? Small government, right.

There has been a mountain moving effort put out to stop this from conservatives. I'm sure if that energy was redirected they could have ended cancer.

4simpsons said...

Generally excellent points, MA. I'd have to study the prison educaton thing more. I agree that things can get out of hand there, but I do think we all benefit if they spend more time studying good things there rather than learning how to be better criminals. One of the guys I've worked with in prison ministry was in jail from age 19 to 35 for a jewelry store robbery. He's given his life to Christ (woo-hoo!) and has learned some PC repair skills. I pray that this will help him stay out of jail.

P.S. I am stealing your "California Schemin'" line in my post for tom'w (I'll give you credit and mail you $0.25 for royalties).

Marshall Art said...

"And how will they pay for the education?"

Little by little, just like everyone else who gets a loan for college or other training. What the heck is your problem? As I said, they were already given the freebie and wasted the opportunity. Done your way, what of those who still revert to crime? Educate them more on our dime? What the heck is your problem? My way, the results are the same with the added benefit of literally repaying their debt to society. Listen up here. They screwed up! You are alleviating their responsibility, even though it's just a bit. You act as if THEY are the victims, when they are the perps. You're giving them training and pleading with them not to revert when you should be saying, "This is the bed you made." I don't care how long it takes the to repay, and I don't care if the ever fully repay, only that a piece of their new job goes toward repaying what they don't deserve to have for free a second time. Jeez Louise, there are poor people busting their asses to excell in life and doing what they have to educate themselves while living their lives and you want to give freebies to the scumbags who least deserve it. And hey, the reason it costs so much to inter these guys is for knee-jerk jerks who feel they need to be comfortable while being incarcerated. Punishment is not supposed to be comfortable. But hey, feel free to donate all the money you don't see fit to earn.

Marshall Art said...

"The judges abused power? Thats a new one. Have you read the 121 page decision? No? I find that amazing."

What more do I need to read? I doubt you read it yourself. The only thing I need to know is that there is no right being denied except the right of the people to determine their own state business. And don't give me that crap about Arnie being a Republican. He's only conservative on like two issues. These justices, like those in Massachusetts, have overstepped their authority and have made what will be an insane mess of our way of life. Our society bases so much on the traditional family, which is the basis of any society. Without a man and woman coming together to begin a family, there is no society. These guys are wrong from any way the issue can be approached, and only the shortsighted can disagree.

Marshall Art said...

Neil,

Feel free to borrow anything from my blog. With your payment, I'll now be up to...let's see...25 cents! (Woo-hoo!)

For that matter, anyone can borrow or reprint from here.

Dan Trabue said...

Done your way, what of those who still revert to crime?

With all the money saved from the ones who don't return?

Listen, you have 100 inmates. Left alone, 80 of them are going to return, costing us the costs of their crimes AND the cost of imprisoning them a second time.

Give them an education and only 40 return. SAVING taxpayer dollars.

Are you saying you're one of those who'd cut off your nose to spite your face? "I don't care if if costs FIVE TIMES as much, doing it my way. Make 'em pay!!"

Pardon me, but that just seems to be embracing foolishness for foolishness' sake. What if it cost $1 million to do it my way but $100 million to do it your way? Does it matter how big a gov't boondoggle you create just so you can get to feel some vengeance?

It seems a pretty emotion-based reason, low on logic or fiscal responsibility and high on giving certain conservatives a good feeling knowing that they're not getting away with TWO free educations.

Marshall Art said...

So you'll do the wrong thing because it saves money? That's what it sounds like to me. And it's the same thing we hear regarding the war, that it costs so much. Doing the right thing isn't always easy or cheap. But again, why should hard working people who haven't broken the law have to struggle to pay for their own education, but those who've broken the law get the freebiee? Isn't it a possibility that their life of crime might have had poverty and struggle as compelling factors? Don't you think those factors compel many, many more who suck it up and still do things the right way? But again, you don't "over consume" and unless you're hoarding the windfall of a six or seven digit income, you rely on the largesse of the taxpayers, but not yourself specifically to pay for this "good idea". So don't pretend to care about the expense, when you go out of your way to avoid being one of those upper income people who will foot the bill.

blamin said...

I’ve read synopsis of the CA Supreme Court decision. It appears the reasoning behind the overturning of voter’s wishes was because of a perceived lack of benefits and rights for gay couples.

It seems to me that “benefits and rights” are a totally separate issue. The issue before the court was the legal definition of marriage, and that should have been their sole concern. If the CaSuprCot feels that some partnerships should have more legal protections or rights when it comes to benefits and estate rights, then I suggest they rule on more cases that deal with such.

But, it’s a done deal at this point, unless the US Supreme Court decides to hear this case, which I’m not so sure they will do, this being a state issue. I guess the California courts should feel lucky that the US court feels a little more duty bound to stick by the letter and intent of the law.

Les said...

"Without a man and woman coming together to begin a family, there is no society."

And as I've stated repeatedly, just because -

Oh, wait - I promised not to argue about this anymore here. Damn.

Dan Trabue said...

But again, you don't "over consume" and unless you're hoarding the windfall of a six or seven digit income, you rely on the largesse of the taxpayers, but not yourself specifically to pay for this "good idea".

Actually, I'd change our laws so we wouldn't have such a massive prison system - the largest in the world!! - and it wouldn't be quite the issue that it is now.

But then, I'm not the Big Gov't type that you are.

Dan Trabue said...

So you'll do the wrong thing because it saves money?

It's WRONG to take steps to reduce recidivism? It's WRONG to take steps to take prisoners and give them the tools to become productive citizens and taxpayers?

Again, this is a case of you're willing to cut off your nose to spite your face. Hey, run with it. Just don't claim to be a compassionate conservative or even a conservative, as you support ideas that make for the most massive gov't in all of history.

You really can't blame those boogie-liberals for that. Well, actually, you can and do. It's just not based in reality.

Marshall Art said...

Aw shucks, Les. Go for it.

Dan,

You obviously have a problem understanding the meaning of "Big Gov't". Here's one clue: spending more of the people's money to cover the shortcomings and lack of responsibility of others. My tweaking of your idea means that those who should be responsible are paying to turn their lives around. It's help enough to simply have a means by which this can be done, but it is hardly compassionate to those of us who are already living as responsibly as possible to have to pay for those who have never been. So yes, it's wrong to take steps to reduce recidivism without the step I added. Why is it right to allow for the position that says, "I'll reform, but only if I don't have to pay for it."? My addition to your step simply completes the rehabilitation process by having the con walk each and every step as if he was responsible already. Once again, society had already provided all that anyone needs to be successful and responsible before they chose to take another path.

Marshall Art said...

I have to take one point back: With God removed from public discourse, and worse, from the public school system, society no longer provides for moral guidance. If the convict's parents were scumbags, then the con had nothing for guidance in that area. However, that doesn't diminish the level of responsibility that each of us are required as citizens to adopt.

Vinny said...

But against the three left standing (and I don't count the candidates out there who have no chance of winning anything), I would vote for George in a heartbeat. Without question.

Which goes to show that you, like Shrub and the 29% percent who don't think he is doing a lousy job, refuse to learn from the past. Happily, the rest of the country will replace him with someone smarter.

Dan Trabue said...

You obviously have a problem understanding the meaning of "Big Gov't".

Wow. I guess you're right. I thought those were for Big Gov't who advocated the largest-sized gov't! You know, like you do as compared to me.

I guess I just didn't understand.

Marshall Art said...

Dan,

Saying you're for smaller government while supporting that which expands it is goofy. And as far as the size of our prison system, what should we do with all those breaking the law? As the prisons are so often perceived as overcrowded, just how can we reduce the size of the system? You want to give them a second education, which will cost us. I simply want them to repay the education costs just like everyone else does, or is supposed to. Where is your problem with this?

Dan Trabue said...

Saying you're for smaller government while supporting that which expands it is goofy.

I know. That's why I'm not getting how you think you're a small gov't advocate repeatedly advocating for larger gov't.

Listen closely: Investing in education REDUCES recidivism and SAVES money making GOV'T SMALLER. Nearly every study supports this idea.

To oppose prison education is to support a larger prison population and, thus, a larger gov't. Period.

Dan Trabue said...

As the prisons are so often perceived as overcrowded, just how can we reduce the size of the system?

Decriminalize some of our drug laws. I am a tea-totaller, don't touch anything harder than Dr Pepper. Don't smoke, nothing. Never have. I have no use for illicit drugs.

But our failed War on Drugs is Big Gov't in the extreme and a failure to boot. It is an international embarrassment that the "free-est country in the world" has the largest prison population in the world and it's largely due to this failed policy.

It'd be one thing if our Drug War were working but what it's not. It's just not. It costs I don't know how many billions (trillions??) of dollars and things just get worse.

You want a place to focus on personal responsibility? Start with drug abuse. Decriminalize drugs. Tax the wahoo out of them. Make the money from that taxation go to deal with the problems caused by drugs (this goes for alcohol and tobacco, too) so that they pay their own way a bit more than currently.

Imprisoning people because their drug of choice happens to be arbitrarily illegal is just stupid and has resulted in HUGE gov't.

Raise the white flag, that war was lost a long time ago.

Dan Trabue said...

I simply want them to repay the education costs just like everyone else does, or is supposed to. Where is your problem with this?

I don't have a problem with it if it works. That is, show me how it works smartly to reduce recidivism and make gov't smaller and I'll support it.

I expect this is not a research-based idea and would probably result in fewer people taking part in this program and, as a result, larger gov't and more expense than my research-supported way.

Dan Trabue said...

Dan said:

I don't have a problem with it if it works.

And this is the main difference between Obama and faux conservatives who parade around as small gov't advocates. I - and I believe Obama - is for SMART gov't. Smart gov't tends to be small, but it's not small for small's sake.

Yes, we can reduce gov't by taking away any education for prisoner programs. But what happens is that this approach results in MORE costs to society and a larger gov't. So, it's not truly small gov't, fiscally responsible nor compassionate conservatism. It's a superficial approach to small gov't, but it's not SMART gov't.

That's what fiscally, personally and societally responsible "liberals" and "conservatives" and all folk in between should be able to agree upon.

Marshall Art said...

Dan,

Cut the crap. I do not advocate for larger government. I also do not advocate rewarding bad behavior, which is what your "second free education" program does. I also don't need to prove that requiring repayment "works", since the term doesn't apply. They have broken the law. That was a matter of choice. Other people, some in equally dire, if not worse straights, have rejected crime as an alternative and achieved success through diligence and hard work. Basically, what you're demanding, is that they receive, as a prize for their criminal activity, free job/career training that others have spent their own money obtaining. Yeah. Great idea. I'll go out an knock over a liquor store to get my free training. What a crock. I say again, your idea is not full rehabilitation if the repayment for the expense of training them is not a part of the plan. It is a reward for bad behavior, and if you call that smart government, you're an idiot. Here's an even better idea: you freakin' train them at YOUR expense. Either way, I've not once opposed prison education in the least respect. I have merely rejected your demand that I and other law abiding citizens pay for it.

Marshall Art said...

"Decriminalize some of our drug laws."

I've considered this myself. (Well, actually, I've considered decriminalizing the possession and distribution of some drugs. How does one decriminalize a law?) Certainly weed is a good one. But overall, I'm not surprised that your answer is to simply make something wrong, no longer wrong. You've done it with homosex and abortion. It's far easier to do that than to buck up and be responsible.

But worse than that is the fact that you are now simply transferring the problem from the prison system to society in general. Most of the drugs that are illegal are dangerous in a variety of ways and destroy not only the user, but their families and friends. That is a cost upon which it is hard to put a dollar figure. People who allow themselves to be enslaved to their habits to not typically leave their families so as to go be a scumbag in private. No, they tend to further burden their families and drag them down with them. What could be more criminal than that? So what's the answer to that? Of course! Raise taxes to provide the medical and psychological rehab that your decriminalization helped to require. Good idea!

So I don't think that drugs, aside from pot, are "arbitrarily" made illegal considering the physical harm and ease of addiction of some of them. And it's not cut and dried guaranteed that decriminalizing the drugs will eliminate the criminal element involved with their supply and distribution. Do you really believe it would be a good thing to have companies form that manufacture heroin, cocaine, PCP, methamphetamines? You call this "smart government"? No thanks.

BTW, how we doing with that war on crime? You think that'll end soon? Perhaps we should raise the white flag on that as well. What truly responsible people understand is that cost is never a factor in doing the right thing. In fact, doing the right thing in this world is often the more expensive and more difficult thing to do. So if a con refuses to enter a prison training program simply because he must eventually pay back the cost of training, which by the way, would likely be paid within just a few years of employment, then he can rot. If he has any freakin' brains, he'll understand he's still getting a great deal. At least he doesn't have to come up with the scratch up front like the rest of us do.

And finally, smart government doesn't tax the crap out its people in order to provide things it has no business being involved with in the first place.

Vinny said...

Either way, I've not once opposed prison education in the least respect. I have merely rejected your demand that I and other law abiding citizens pay for it.

You are going to pay either way. If you don't educate the convicts, they are much more likely to be recidivists and you are going to have to pay to catch them, convict them, and reincarcerate them. If you pay to educate them, the odds of turning them into tax-paying citizens greatly increases.

hashfanatic said...

You're ALL fools.

Nowhere is it written that a prison is a school. Nor is it a television reading room, or a body-building training gym (where they bulk up so they can mug our asses AGAIN...)

We can put an end to argument by making a prison, a PRISON.

None of these comforts of home are guaranteed rights under the Constitution.

If a prison were actually punishment once again, how many of these "recidivists" would be anxious to go back again?

Marshall Art said...

Vinny,

I almost forgot about you.

Let's look at that 29% for a moment. That leaves 71%. Let's make it an even 70, just to round it out and for illustration purposes, just call it 70 people.

Of those 70 people, about 50 didn't vote for Bush in the first place. Of those fifty, many wouldn't have voted for a Republican if his first name was Moses and his last name was...um...whatever Moses' last name was. Of the rest, they actually thought that Algore and John Effin Kerry were better choices for president. No. Really. They did. I'm not making it up. Stop laughing.

So we can generally ignore those 50 people, and generally, I do.

But what of the remaining 20? That's where the real concern lies. Because what is the actual question they answered in the poll that gave us that result? Was it not something as simple as "Do you approve of the job Bush is doing?" That's a yes/no question and some people will consider only that issue which greatly concerns them at the time. But if any of them, from the left or the right, says there is nothing Bush has done for which they approve, then they are stupid people who aren't paying attention or are too easily swayed by the MSM.

Now if I was asked, "Do you approve of every move George has made?" I would absolutely say "NO!" But based on the things they've said, and the things they've supported, his opponents in 2000 and 2004 were without a doubt unworthy of a vote. And based on the things said and done by the current crop of candidates, George is still the best choice, edging out McCain by more than a nose. (The other nags not even in the contention.)

This 29% of which you denigrate (the few, the proud, the savvy) look at the entire picture and see that despite his missteps, George will be judged by history far better than his contemporaries believe he will.

Vinny said...

George will be judged by history far better than his contemporaries believe he will.

What color is the sky in your world?

Dan Trabue said...

But overall, I'm not surprised that your answer is to simply make something wrong, no longer wrong.

Yeah, like genocide or invading sovereign countries and supporting terrorists. Oh, wait a second! That wasn't me advocating that craziness! That was you!

Again, take a look in the mirror, bro.

I agree that doing drugs can be bad for you. Alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, crack, oxycontin (right, Rush?). All have potential bad effects.

But there are a lot of things that are bad for you that aren't illegal. Almost certainly more people die (and costs society more) from a bad diet than they do from drugs. Shall we outlaw bad diets?

Again, you simply fail to understand how thoroughly MASSIVE a gov't you're advocating for, but that doesn't mean that you're not a big gov't fan. Just that you've deluded yourself.

Les said...

"Go for it."

Ok then.

"Without a man and woman coming together to begin a family, there is no society."

I simply wanted to know, once again, what makes you think men and women would stop coming together to begin families if gays are allowed to wed?

But I've got an altogether different take on the California Supreme Court decision. I'm upset that a wedge issue like gay marriage has yet again made its way into the national spotlight heading into a presidential election. These are the things that motivate "traditional values" voters to hit the polls on election day, and I think patience would have been the better part of valor back in November 2006 when this petition for review was filed. The Democratic party had just crushed the Republicans in the midterm elections, and all early signs pointed to a successful Democratic presidential campaign in 2008. So what did Therese Stewart do? She immediately filed the petition challenging the appellate court's decision supporting Proposition 22. This is silly to me, because no matter how slim the Republicans' chances might seem in 2008, why advance a legal series of events likely to culminate during a critical election season? Wouldn't gay rights activists be better served by the election of a Democratic president? I don't know - it just seems like the left often goes out of its way to sabotage its White House aspirations (see 2008 Democratic primaries).

4simpsons said...

"it just seems like the left often goes out of its way to sabotage its White House aspirations (see 2008 Democratic primaries)."

Yes, and we really appreciate that! CA came through for us again.

Doc said...

"Almost certainly more people die (and costs society more) from a bad diet than they do from drugs."

Actually, no. According to the National Institute of Health. Illicit drugs cast approximately $110 Billion to employers and taxpayers, and Eating related disorders, including Obesity, come in at $107 billion. Interestingly though these are tird and fourth behind Alcohol ($166 billion) and Smoking ($157 billion)

Doc said...

"Why advance a legal series of events likely to culminate during a critical election season?"

The republicans made judicial opinions on flags a successful issue in 2000; this should be a much easier sell for them. Judicial legislation, ugh!

McCain's pandering to the greenies makes absolutely no political sense. Who is he pandering to? California libs? All the man has to say is "I'll promote an energy policy to be environmentally sound and to bring the cost (and dependence) of fossil fuels down." I have no idea why he would even consider sticking his nose into an argument that will only potentially lose him votes.

As to education in prison: This absolutely should be present, as should AA and other substance abuse treatment programs- most of which are run voluntarily. (I know first hand, having worked as a physician in some of our local prisons and jails, there has been a paucity of such programs.) But any proactive training or treatment to reduce recidivism should be encouraged. This includes the death penalty.

As to how to pay for it. Cut out the cable TV, and encourage work-training programs that can contribute some profit back into the system.
Otherwise, perhaps we could just outsource the entire prison system to, say, Russia. I know they know how to run a cost-effective system.

Marshall Art said...

Doc,

I believe that diet holds the key to the prevention of so many ailments not usually associated with it. I was involved with an holistic program some years back and saw first hand (as well as experienced) the benefits of proper nutrition in reversing the effects of a wide variety of illnesses. One holistic expert by the name of Dr. Robert O. Young, puts it this way, that there is only one illness, which is poor nutrition and thus only one cure, good nutrition. Both he, and Dr. Keith Nemec, of the Total Health Institute in Wheaton IL, the clinic I attended, show how simply eating to balance one's PH level can thwart the existence of cancer cells, as well as other nasties, which thrive in an acidic environment. I, personally, got into great physical shape, eliminating a host of nagging aches and discomforts, by adopting his philosophies. The tough part, however, is denying one's self all the tasty things that bring about the wrong internal environment. I have since reverted to the old ways, but am armed with the knowledge of how to combat pretty much every illness known to man. Really, it's that simple. Thus, diet, or rather poor dietary habits, as well as nutrient depleted foods, have been the main cause of society's sorrty health state and the costs associated.

Marshall Art said...

Doc,

Good points all in your last comment.

Marshall Art said...

Les,

"I simply wanted to know, once again, what makes you think men and women would stop coming together to begin families if gays are allowed to wed?"

This question misses the point of the statement that precedes it, that being, that the natural and obvious distinction of the procreative aspects of traditional marriage, there is nothing that makes this or any union unique and special enough to warrant any societal recognition. Put another way, if we eliminate all of mankind except for a single same-sex couple, the earth could never hope to re-populate. It seems that this single factor should be enough to recognize the value of societal sanctioning and encouragement of traditional marriage over any other possible arrangement. Indeed, this is THE factor that justifies it, warts and all.

Cameron said...

"You want a place to focus on personal responsibility? Start with drug abuse. Decriminalize drugs. Tax the wahoo out of them. Make the money from that taxation go to deal with the problems caused by drugs"

Dan, sorry for coming in mid-discussion and pulling this out, but I saw this comment of yours and thought of a question.

If illegal drugs became legal, but highly taxed, what would prevent them from being illegally sold anyway, just as they are now? Wouldn't it still be cheaper for addicts to buy them on a black market rather than from a store? For example, I remember a news story a while ago spotlighting people that would buy cartons of cigarettes from a neighboring state and smuggle them into New York to sell - all because New York had a really high tax. What would prevent something akin to this from happening?

Or for that matter, what would prevent backyard marijuana farms from popping up all over, thereby circumventing the tax?

Cameron said...

Also, Dan, I apologize if you've posted this somewhere else, but can you give me the links to the info you use as a basis for your prison stances?

Cameron said...

"The queering of the social calls into question the normativity and naturalness of both heterosexuality and heterorelationality."

"Marriage ‘in the traditional sense’ is disappearing. It is the gays who are the pioneers in this respect—the prime everyday experimenters."

Both are quotes from Stanley Kurtz's "Zombie Killers", which answers the question of why homosexual marriage affects heterosexual marriage.

Dan Trabue said...

If illegal drugs became legal, but highly taxed, what would prevent them from being illegally sold anyway, just as they are now?

The same thing that keeps cigarettes and alcohol, which are taxed - sometimes quite heavily - from being on the black market. Which is to say, nothing. But it would decriminalize it and with that, shrink our gov't and free up resources to deal with the still remaining bad effects of drug abuse; whether that drug is alcohol, pot, crack or tobacco.

Keeping in mind that I am quite opposed to illicit drug abuse (whatever the drug, legal or not), the thing is, prohibition didn't work for alcohol, nor has it worked for these other drugs.

We need to focus on reducing the negative effects of drug abuse, not picking out 1 or 2 to be legal and then randomly criminalizing the others. As Doc noted, the two legal drugs have the greatest cost to society.

And while I think prohibition has never worked, with the costs associated with tobacco and alcohol consumption, neither has NON-Prohibition worked. But I think the lack of prohibition makes the most sense, get the criminal element mostly out of drugs, tax it so that the users and abusers can pay some of their own way rather than relying upon society to pay their expenses (which is what criminalization does).

Dan Trabue said...

can you give me the links to the info you use as a basis for your prison stances?

As I have stated, there are multiple studies on this topic. It's one reason I use it as an illustration as to the difference between faux conservatism "small gov't" and practical small gov't. Smart, progressive gov't that ends up being smaller in reality.

You can google "prison education recidivism study" or words to that effect and find all manner of studies along these lines.

Here are some sources here, here, here and here, for starters.

And I will repeat, to be clear, I'm not opposed to finding a way to make inmates pay, if it works. If it doesn't work, why do it?

That's the difference between those like Obama who are for smart gov't and those like Marshall, who are knee jerk "small gov't-even-if-it-means-BIGGER-gov't" advocates. My way is a research-based, outcome-oriented approach. Show me how to make it work and I'll support it.

If you have no proof that it doesn't work (ie - in this case - doesn't reduce recidivism, save taxpayer dollars and make for a better society with less crime and more responsible citizens), then I won't support it.

The myth of "liberals" as Big Gov't and "neo-conservatives" as Small gov't is just that - a myth. Marshall is proving that with his position on this topic.

Dan Trabue said...

I meant to say, "if you have no proof that it works," not "doesn't work" in that next-to-last paragraph. whoops.

Marshall Art said...

"You're ALL fools."

Lighten up Hash. The rest of the comment marks an unusual situation, as I am more in line with your sentiments on this issue than on any other debate in which we've ever engaged. I agree with taking away all the pleasures that have been granted particularly porn and body building equipment (I say hose 'em down if they do jumping jacks!). But I agree that for those who wish to turn over a new leaf, that training be made available. This would certainly follow through on the notion of rehabilitation. But it would not follow up the notion of paying one's debt to society if people like Dan insist that society's money is used. In that case, society is paying the debt to society for the con. Bad idea. Bad precedent. But yeah, altogether I agree. Prison is supposed to be punishment.

Marshall Art said...

Cameron,

Thanks so much for the Kurtz link. It's so gratifying to see one use the opposition's arguments against them. Hey, Les! Check it out.

Marshall Art said...

Well Dan, there's smart and then there's smart.

"We need to focus on reducing the negative effects of drug abuse, not picking out 1 or 2 to be legal and then randomly criminalizing the others. As Doc noted, the two legal drugs have the greatest cost to society."

This quote shows the contraditions of your position. If the two legal drugs hae the greatest cost to society, how would making more available the rest of the drugs not make things worse? As suggested by Cameron, legalizing or decriminalizing won't necessarily put the gang-bangers and other scumbags out of work. They generally get kinda hacked off when their biz gets interference. And you focus too much on the financial costs without regard to the human costs, particularly, the families, friends and even employers of those for whom the addictions developed are too much to handle. You claim to work in the 'hoods and see first hand their world, yet you've missed the devastation that a single abuser can cause within a family. I've seen it. It ain't pretty. Keeping the drugs illegal means that many will abstain simply to remain within the law. It's makes the curious think twice by adding another element of danger besides the physical risks.

But back to your juvenile charge that I'm talking bigger gov't, enforcing the law is not a matter of expanding gov't, but maintaining order and protecting the civilian population. As Hash has suggested, returning prisons to the punishment they are meant to be will have a deterent effect that will reduce crime. Too many see going to prison as a badge of honor because of the lack of suffering. We can also tighten up the rules that allow for the multi-decade length of the appeals process.

Now I can't really support my position about prisoner pay if it's never been tried, now can I? But who is taking these training courses anyway? The creeps looking to return to the thug life? I don't think so. My guess is that it would be those who wish to leave such a life or avoid being further sucked into it. I have a hard time believing that if they are willing to take the steps necessary to develop viable employment skills, it's a far smaller step to convince them that they should pay for it upon being hired. The hard part is the studying and staying away from the bad influences. The money part is always the easiest, as you welfare statists should know.

And keep in mind also, you're expecting others to pay for these programs, not yourself, Mr. Spartan Existence.

In addition, tell me how exactly, providing more temptations by allowing free access to any formerly illegal recreational drug will result in MORE personal responsibility?

Les said...

"...the Kurtz link."

The article doesn't really bring anything new to the table, Art. In fact, it basically rehashes the same arguments you use in our discussions about gay marriage. They're simply worded differently. At the end of the day, it still all boils down to this:

"Shifting to a broad 'menu' of experimental family forms may feel liberating to some, but it is really a recipe for thinning out society’s commitment to children."

Tell you what - when you start leading the charge against engaged straight folks who are too old to have kids, are voluntarily sterilized via vasectomy or tubal ligation, are sexually impotent, have undergone a hysterectomy, have already had kids with a deceased spouse, or simply don't want any kids of their own, then maybe we can talk about this honestly. Until then, it's pointless, because you yourself have said gay marriage would have no affect on your marriage, so I wonder what it is that makes you think anyone else's marriage, present or future, would be any different? Don't worry - the dynamic of the traditional family will always exist, and society won't ultimately stampede like buffalo into the oceans.

Les said...

Totally irrelevant sidenote:

As I write this and the above comment, TBS is playing the gay marriage episode of "Family Guy".

Funny.

Marshall Art said...

How cumbersome you would make marriage laws if you made specific changes to accomodate every little exception. Even with all those caveats you've mentioned, the male/female combo still forms the basis of that which the state finds to be most advantageous to society. The state has not found that to be so with any other combo. But what you missed in that link, was the point I've always attempted to make which is that the institution, NOT MY MARRIAGE is negatively affected by other combos. It went further by making the case about the effect on kids. Your refusal to accept the distinction between the institution and a particular marriage is what keeps us buttin heads, and needlessly so. It serves only to impede our progress in this particular discussion. Why cling to it?

Dan Trabue said...

legalizing or decriminalizing won't necessarily put the gang-bangers and other scumbags out of work.

How bad a problem is the black market of cigarettes and alcohol these days?

Minor, so far as I know.

Do we have any reason to suspect that other decriminalized drugs will be any different?

I don't think so.

As to the Big Gov't question, you can spin that any way you wish, all I'm saying is that the folk like me who are for an actually smaller gov't (less taxpayer dollars going to more and more ever-expanding programs that don't pay for themselves) ARE the ones who are for smaller gov't.

Those who are for programs and policies that actually result in a larger gov't, ARE for a larger gov't.

It's just the way words work. To suggest otherwise is to toy with the meaning of words.

"1984" wasn't a "How-To" manual, you know. "Big" really does mean "Big," even if you'd like to call it "small."

Cameron said...

I wonder about the addictive nature of illegal drugs. Would that make it a different thing than alcohol and cigarettes, as far as a black market is concerned?

I know there is a strong black market for legal prescription drugs.

Cameron said...

Dan, thanks for the links btw.

Les said...

Ugh. More tire-spinning. I should have stayed away from this absurd discussion.

"Your refusal to accept the distinction between the institution and a particular marriage is what keeps us buttin heads, and needlessly so."

And your continued dismissal of my point that YOUR marriage is a part of the INSTITUTION of marriage as a whole is what makes this argument with you completely pointless. If PARTICULAR marriages - like yours - aren't changed by whatever perceived changes YOU see in the INSTITUTION of marriage as a whole, then what exactly is your problem? The traditional marriage model will ALWAYS exist.

Wait for it. Wait for it...

END OF STORY!

Marshall Art said...

Les,

You could say that my marriage, or any given marriage, is an example of the institution, that is, how it looks, what it is, but that doesn't make it THE institution. THE institution is defined a particular way which would be changed should such short sighted judicial decisions become law. Any change would be in the uniqueness as evidenced in state sanctioning. As my Kurtz link suggested, the logical extension of such decisions would eliminate the uniqueness of the institution and in fact make it pointless. So as I've said over and over again, my "problem" isn't what such changes do to MY marriage, but what impact it will have on society by altering and diluting the institution with every conceivable variation. What I'm doing here is looking well beyond my own situation and any potential effect such changes may have on it, which I concede are negligible if they exist at all. It is how I try to look at any new proposal no matter the issue. It ain't about me or you, it's about us and our descendants.

Marshall Art said...

Dan,

Big Gov't more often refers to what gov't's job is, more than how big it's justified operation is. I agree with you 100% with this: "(less taxpayer dollars going to more and more ever-expanding programs that don't pay for themselves)" particularly when the program is beyond the purpose of the federal gov't. (Of course the idea of any gov't program paying for itself is totally naive and pie-in-the-sky---which ones are set up as profit producing programs---we always pay through taxes.) But to protect the public from the criminal element IS a duty of government and size is relative to the amount of crime. In this situation, you're looking to make wrong legal in order to shrink the size of the prison system. I prefer to maintain standards of right/wrong and punish those who transgress. Should the number of those be large, then we must have a system that accomodates that number. You merely transfer the costs and pretend you've shrunk something. Moving it from here to there doesn't do that.

Doc said...

"How bad a problem is the black market of cigarettes and alcohol these days?"

In California alone, the loss of Tax revenue for black market tobacco alone is over $200 million annually. (Per the state of California) This does not include the cost on law enforcement, etc.

"Do we have any reason to suspect that other decriminalized drugs will be any different?"

Sadly, I fear this would be even more expensive on law enforcement, treatment programs, and the direct cost to the society for impairment-related damages.

Many suggest taxing these products and then paying for the problems caused by these drugs with the tax revenue. The lost tax revenue due to the black market in California more than tripled in 2001 after a tax hike on Tobacco (Prop 10). The increase in tax was to pay for tobacco related education (and other health related agenda) but has caused a shortfall from the projected budget. There is no reason to think that illicit drug taxation would fall under any different economics--quite possibly worse, given the expense involved. (Not to mention the eventual class- action lawsuits, vis a vis Florida and tobacco)

Furthermore, the goal of such programs include reduction of the usage of the product. I do not follow the logic of encouraging decreased usage of a product by increasing taxes, and then hoping for greater windfall.

California clearly wishes to make tobacco illegal, yet seems to also want to make Marijuana legal. This is the kind of logic that waving the white flag on the war on drugs will give us.

So we're "losing" the war on drugs? Really? Where? In the prosecution? I hear excessive complaints about the number of prisoners in jail on drug charges, so clearly some jurisprudence is occurring.
In Usage? Rates of illicit drug usage other than THC in upperclassmen in high school have shrunk from around 17 percent in 1980 to 7 to 10 percent since 1995. Marijuana usage has declined over the past decade for the same cohort. (Sources: NIH and U of Michigan Data- U of M keeps fairly reliable data, which has been replicated in many other analyses)

That all being said, there is still a significant economic gain for drug trafficking. I do not think the US has been remotely serious about fighting the "war." And I think it is because the people who make these laws do not wish to truly fight it. That is, some powerful (predominantly white) men are getting rich here. Until we address the economics and get truly punitive at that level, in my opinion, we have not begun to seriously fight. I notice Singapore does not seem to have this trafficking problem with their current war on drugs.

Perhaps decriminalization or reclassification of THC (as in the UK) may need to be part of this discussion; I do understand that there is a disproportion to the impairment and the legality, here. But, we are not even serious yet with underage drinking or DUI's, and I'd just a soon get those issues in order first. (It feels sort of like talking up amnesty for illegal aliens while having absolutely no border security)

Dan Trabue said...

So we're "losing" the war on drugs? Really? Where? In the prosecution? I hear excessive complaints about the number of prisoners in jail on drug charges, so clearly some jurisprudence is occurring.

In our urban and minority communities, for one place, where a young man is as likely to end up in prison as not, for a variety of reasons, including (I'd have to research, but it's probably safe bet) the selling and use of drugs.

This has devastated our urban communities. These young men then grow up unable to get meaningful jobs, support their families and otherwise contribute to society (and are also less able to vote - and don't think our urban communities don't note that there may be an ulterior motive in republican desire to keep drugs illegal).

All because they wanted to smoke a joint, which is probably causing less damage than cigarettes.

"Just say no," as solution? Hasn't worked. I'm interested in what works and works to produce a better society. A culture that jails at the rate we do is sick. And when it's minorities and the poor who disproportionately serve the time, it's also unjust.

Doc said...

I agree that drugs are serious contributors to the Urban plight. I believe it is due to the direct effects of such substance abuse, and due to the economics involved. This is especially true for so-called "hard" drugs. I do not agree that legalization will solve any of this problem by allowing drug users legal access. Drug users will continue to use and screw up their life, eventually turning to criminal paths to fund their habit. Current drug dealers will likely find other criminal pursuits, such as the black market production of these drugs, to sell them cheaper in these same areas.

This is an argument for the continued (and improved) war.

You seem to suggest that there is a significant percentage of urban and minority citizens incarcerated for choosing to smoke a joint. I would recommend you check the numbers here. The Bureau of Justice statistics do not bear this out. In fact, it is very unlikely that a person is incarcerated (at state and federal levels) for only possession of THC. The numbers trend around the 0.7 percent of inmates for possession as the only charge (up to 100 lbs.) and 0.3 percent of first timers.
In 2001 the total number of of drug offenders sentenced in Federal was 24,299. The number of people who served time for simple marijuana possession? 63.

Dan Trabue said...

Fair enough, pot's not the drug that sends folk to prison, mostly.

My point is that I find, for many reasons, the War on Drugs and our nat'l prison rate to be a failure and an embarrassment, respectively. Prohibition didn't work with alcohol, I don't think it would work well with tobacco and I don't think it works well with other drugs.

Having said that, I don't think (as noted earlier) NON-Prohibition of alcohol has been especially successful either, with all the costs to society as a result of the drink. But of the two, the non-prohibition seems to be the least offensive.

I'd suggest tweaking how we deal with alcohol and tobacco and using the same approach with currently illegal drugs. I'm very much in favor of PAYGO solutions.

With any activity that has significantly negative side effects, I'd suggest that costs to remediate the problem be built into the cost of the product. Pay as you go, rather than push the expenses off on future generations, the innocent, the environment, etc, etc. That's true whether we're talking illegal drugs, legal drugs or our other most favored, costliest addiction: Oil.

Pay as you go. As much as possible.

And you can't do that with drugs if they're criminalized.

A question: Has the decriminalization of drugs in other nations (Denmark, Sweden?) led to a breakdown of society and an out of control culture?

I don't know the answer, but doubt it costs them what our drug war has cost us (especially if you include the hidden costs of parentless children, the damage done to urban areas, etc).

Marshall Art said...

Apparently you do know the answer, Dan. It's there in the parenthesis of your last comment. How do you guage the extent to which one drug addict has affected his family and friends? There may be no way to tie a monetary figure to that, but it's a cost nonetheless. Strangely, for one who speaks so much about the greedy rich, all your points revolve around money, with no attention paid to these other, arguably more important, costs.

But I think you also err in how you look at drug usage. You seem to be pointing to it as a cause of problems, when in fact, it's a symptom. People engage in drug use, generally, in response to challenges in their lives that seem overwhelming or unchangable. As standards and values have plummeted since the 1950's, the claim to victimhood status has risen and such is met with way too much, "It's society's fault" and other such enabling attitudes, crime and drug use have escalated at the same time. Add to that the stripping of all things religious from the schools and public square, which removed the sense of there being something greater than ourselves as a cultural notion, and you get drug abuse and all the nastiness that goes along with it as a symptom of this malaise.

How this all relates to your free prison education remarks is that fewer would be there in the first place were they to have been raised with the values of our previous generations (when fewer would put up with it) and the expectations that went along with it. The cons didn't have to make the choices they made. Even considering the extreme pressures to do so, they still made those choices and to not expect full restitution for those choices, which includes the cost of job training, you help to perpetuate the attitude. It's like Reagan having given amnesty and now we have 20 million more illegals in the country. Frankly, I'd think they'd cherish their training more if they paid for it. Few respect that which didn't cost.

Les said...

Art, here's why your position makes no sense to me. As I illustrated earlier, the pursuit of offspring cannot be the sole determining factor behind the institution, otherwise millions of people wouldn't even bother. So why do it? Here's why - at its core, marriage is nothing more than a legal and public acknowledgment of fidelity. And that's it. A marriage license ain't required to procreate, and it ain't even required to be faithful. All it is is a legal recognition. If gay marriage were really the threat to the institution you make it out to be, then we shouldn't already have such monstrous divorce rates. There's plenty of blame to go around as to why the image AND health of the institution in general is suffering, and it's not cuz the Dutch started letting their gays get hitched. Gays ain't the threat to marriage - HUMAN IMPERFECTION is the threat to marriage. Sexual preference got nuthin' to do with it. And don't worry about the future, because there will always be couples like you and Mrs. Marshall Art who are devoted to each other through thick and thin and wish to express such devotion at the altar - even if there's a gay couple doing the same thing right down the block.

Marshall Art said...

Human imperfection. Hmm. Can't argue with that. Unfortunately for your argument, one manifestation of human imperfection is lusting after the wrong sex. The traditional marital model conforms far more closely with human perfection in terms of the intent of nature's design. You wish to elevate imperfection to the same level. You look to human flaws as a reason to sanction even more flawed representations of the human condition. I entreat people to aspire to perfection, to transcend base desires, in short, to deny the demands of their crotch for the sake of themselves, their loved ones and their communities. You scrape the barrel to make your case.

Les said...

No. YOU scrape the barrel in your efforts to avoid the fact that marriage is nothing more than a declaration of fidelity. Again, it's got nothing to do with sexual preference.

But you go right ahead and keep beatin' that drum, Art. I'd expect nothing less.

Marshall Art said...

Les,

They are free to declare their fidelity any time they want without the need for state sanctions or license.

I'll keep beating that drum, Les. It has just the right rhythm for our culture. The more people who dance to it, the better off future generations will be.

Les said...

So I think we're finally done with this one, yes?

Cameron said...

I thought it interesting that this was in my local paper today:

72 prison inmates graduate

The program, conducted in facilities at the prison while using instructors and professors from the college, requires students to pay their own tuition, at a reduced rate of $88 per semester, as well as meet the same requirements as students at other SLCC campuses.

"The road to upward mobility goes right through education," said Joe Peterson, SLCC's vice president of instruction. He said the college covers a lot of the cost of providing inmate education, along with funding from various sources, because of what it can do for the community.

Marshall Art said...

Les,

I thought we already were. But sometimes others wish to opine on the subject. You don't have to join in if you don't want to.

Cameron,

I think the article does show that the cons are willing to pay if there's a way to do so. Thus, I don't see that they'd necessarily bail on the idea if they had to reimburse once a gig is found. Getting the cash is part of what kept them from getting educated in the first place. One of the commenters there had the gall to refer to them as victims. That is not the case of course, as they are the victimizers. Ultimately, they are obliged to pay. Handouts merely increase their debt to society.

Keyanna said...

Well written article.