Morning Reads for Friday, February 27, 2015

Here:
– GA senators blast presidential veto of Keystone.
– Shenanigans in Newton County.
– So… it’s really a tax decrease only if you don’t spend any money.
If you build it, they will come.
– Folks are still wondering about the New Georgia Project.

There:
– Rep. David Scott blames law enforcement for the millions on food stamps. What, wait?
– And the old lady fell down, go boom.
CPAC fun: Carly calls out Hillary.
– Loretta Lynch approved by Senate Judiciary Committee.
A good jobs program won’t turn this jihadi from his life of destruction. He’s already rich.

Random Everywhere:
– If you don’t read anything else today, read this.
An entire house is missing in Oregon.
Doooooooom.
– Don’t you wish all press releases were like this?

61 comments

  1. John Konop says:

    Not just David Scott blaming the legal system for welfare…..The Koch brothers are on the same side of the over policing of personal behavior….a studies have already been done….if we ended this it would at least lower welfare by 20 percent….The system puts an anchor on people….try getting a good job with a criminal record….The system needs change ASAP….Btw one of the biggest voices against the war on drugs was the father of the conservative movement…the late William F Buckley…We must end the over sentencing, fining, some laws…..especially on victimless crimes…

    • saltycracker says:

      Meanwhile, DO.NOT.ENGAGE.IN.CRIMINAL.BEHAVIOR. as defined by the host jurisdiction.
      Be responsible, get educated, get a job, take care of your children, play nice.

      David Scott is an embarrassment for all public servants.

      • benevolus says:

        I feel like I am as smart as 50% of the people, therefore I expect to always be competitive. But what if, through the course of my daily life, I came to the realization that I was in the bottom rung of smarts, that I would probably never really be able to compete, and was destined to always struggle just to get the scraps left by others, and never have a chance to actually succeed short of hitting the lottery or something. Always living in roach infested rentals and working crappy miserable jobs. How do you give someone like this hope? How do you prevent them from just trying to take advantage of the system every chance they get? Can’t afford to get their crappy car fixed but they know someone who can get them an emissions pass so they do that so they can get a tag, etc, etc. Just threatening punishment isn’t much of a deterrent to a lot of people like this because they tend to see it as inevitable, and it’s not much worse than their everyday life anyway. Besides, we already do that and it’s not helping. All that’s happening is that we have the highest incarceration rate in the world.

        I don’t know the answer but we have to have more tools than just a stick.

        • Noway says:

          We already have much more than the stick, B…it’s called well over One Trillion bucks worth of social spending (and growing..) every.single.year. And our country is literally spilling over with examples of rags to riches stories. In the meantime, a sh***y life does not give one the right to commit crimes against others and get away with it.

          • benevolus says:

            So you just want to complain and punish. That attitude indicates to me that you view some people as less than human, no need to be concerned with their welfare at all. Lock them all up. Out of sight out of mind. It’s a movie mentality. Good guy punches bad guy, walks off with the girl, movie ends. But real life doesn’t end there of course.

        • saltycracker says:

          There is no pride in taking charity nor is their shame for being down and out. It’s just a predicament to try to get out of. There is shame in taking charity if it is in your control to do something about. When the majority gets to “you owe me” it’s all downhill.

            • saltycracker says:

              Well my grandmother lived in a big home frequented by hobos. She rarely turned them down for a meal after they did some minor chore on her grounds. Both parties always felt better. I did too helping the hobo and eating with him on the back steps, good stories.

              • benevolus says:

                So you are saying we should send motivational speakers out into the ‘hood and the country woods to encourage the gangstas and the meth freaks to give up the fringe and join the mainstream and be happy picking up trash for $5 a pop?

          • benevolus says:

            Again it’s a nice phrase. No one would disagree with that. But it doesn’t really get us anywhere.
            We already (supposedly) make people look for work in order to draw an unemployment check I think. Do you think we should improve that system somehow?
            Do you think there should be some more intensive restrictions and scrutiny on how welfare money is spent?

        • saltycracker says:

          At the consequence of a fine and community service the first time, but I didn’t get caught. But I never blamed any one else for my decisions.

      • Raleigh says:

        Salty, So what I’m hearing is that you believe you can NEVER be rehabilitated so there for ANY and ALL criminal mistakes must be a life sentence and the only way you are ever square with the house is when you die. Is that really what you want? So when do we start executing people for traffic tickets?

        • saltycracker says:

          Guys,

          You guys are reading what you want to. Didn’t say not to be merciful, charitable, risk taking or to be extreme in punishment, but said, example, regardless of how dumb and stupid the 25 mph speed limit thru Woodstock is don’t drive 35 until they come to their senses.

          I am in favor of legalizing, reasonably taxing and controlling marijuana. Don’t smoke it now, did take the risk, probably wouldn’t smoke it when legal. A stupid law doesn’t mean no consequences nor does it mean the enforcement agencies should arrest the black kid and let the white kid get a pass.

          Oh and when you get stopped, see the “be nice” above and you might get a pass.

          • Raleigh says:

            All I’m saying is once they have fulfilled they debt to society imposed by the court system then they should have a chance to better themselves and return to society without that record following them like a scarlet letter. If you don’t drawing the line somewhere then all they could ever be is a Lawyer or a Legislator……. Wait a minute; I’m not sure about that Lawyer thing…. 🙂

            • saltycracker says:

              If a fellow is a convicted embezzler or a tax dodger running for office, I do not want to tempt him with handling my money. Have you even been convicted, is a valid question.
              Are you hetero or other is not unless it is job related. Do you have a medical condition that might prevent you from doing your job is an ok question.

              Would you hire a brokeback rustler with a hay allergy to tend your goats? 🙂

              • Raleigh says:

                Salty all I saying if you have served you time and paid your fine and “square with the House” again then you should be allowed the freedom to go after anything you can get. Taking your money theme just one step further you shouldn’t want anyone who has declared bankruptcy in those positions either. Medical conditions are another questions all together. Typhoid Mary comes to mind….

                Now most important. If I had any goats YES I would hire a brokeback rustler with a hay allergy to tend my goats (I hate goats) I like my bees…. They tend to defend themselves rather well.

            • Noway says:

              Does your idea of ridding themselves of that scarlett letter apply to all convicts? Seems not. Tell that to sex offenders. They shouldbe tagged for life.

              • John Konop says:

                I do not speak for Raleigh, but like me he is talking about low level crimes and victimless crimes i would guess.As far as sex offenders….real sex offenders I have been public about throwing away the key….But the broad brush has been used way to big on this category….teenagers having a fling is not a serial sex offender….not defending the choice….just saying the laws have gone to far in the definition…

                • Raleigh says:

                  Well no John I’m not just talking about low level crimes. If the system said you are rehabilitated then you should not have to continue to be punished. Look some crimes should take longer to get clear other not so much. As I said Wendy Whitaker comes to mind as a total waste and as you say “victimless crimes” however I don’t believe in that concept. Some crimes such as first degree murder likely you should never be free. Others that have paid their debt “to society” should not continue to be punished and should be able to integrate back into society to the best of their abilities. As I told Norway If you don’t like the sentencing requirements for certain crimes by all means work to get it changed. That is the very reason we had the travesty of what happened to Wendy Whitaker.

              • Raleigh says:

                Yes Norway it does, all. One that comes to mind is a girl by the name of Wendy Whitaker you might look her up. If you don’t like what the punishment is for certain crimes then work to change the sentencing requirements. If you want the Death Penalty for all sex offenders by all means work to make it a reality.

  2. gcp says:

    Approximately 11% of Ga. prison population is for drug offenses, approximately 49% is for violent offenses so its not the “war on drugs” causing incarceration in our state prison system.

    Also incarceration does not result in single parent families and food stamps otherwise how are females getting pregnant if all these men are in prison?

    • John Konop says:

      …Also incarceration does not result in single parent families and food stamps otherwise how are females getting pregnant if all these men are in prison?….

      You are missing the stigma of the record hurting job chances….

      • saltycracker says:

        The stigma of a bad choice ? How would it effect your interview decision if a person said:
        A. I got busted for smoking pot – misdemeanor.
        B. I got busted for dealing drugs – felony.

        For me: A. Yawn and B. You got no sense. Let’s see if you learned anything.

      • gcp says:

        In Ga. many of these records for nonviolent offenses are sealed if you are sentenced under the “First Offender Act”.

        • John Konop says:

          You have no idea of the system…..they take away your license, put you in programs that many cannot afford, need a job with no car and no money,……the bad joke is unless you come from money you just get sucked into the system….

    • DavidTC says:

      Approximately 11% of Ga. prison population is for drug offenses, approximately 49% is for violent offenses so its not the “war on drugs” causing incarceration in our state prison system.

      I have to ask *why* you think David Scott was just talking about GA prisons? Believe it or not, Georgia actually is part of the United States of America, and hence Georgians often go to *Federal prison*. A large percentage of them (In fact, it’s usually right at 50%) go to prison for drug offenses.

      Actually, I’m a little baffled as to why you think he was talking about the war on drugs specifically. As you yourself mention, slightly more than half the people in GA prisons have not committed a violent crime, which *usually* either means a drug offense, or a non-violent theft. I’m rather suspecting we don’t need quite as long jail time for shoplifting, either.

      And even violent crimes punishments are absurd in this state. Thanks to screwy laws, something like 30% of the people in GA prisons are not eligible for parole, in a dumbass attempt to keep them in prison longer. Not only do we not need to keep them in prison that long (10 years is a *really* long mandatory minimum for armed robbery if every single prisoner is going to serve every minute of it), it means we have literally no way to monitor and help them in the transition back to normal society from prison.

      Even if we *did* want to keep them in prison that long, we should have just *given them longer sentences* and had parole work like normal. ‘Without the possibility of parole’ is something that needs to be completely removed from every single punishment (Except possibly life sentences, but those are stupid for other reasons)…parole isn’t some trick criminals use to get out of prison sooner, parole exists so that we can turn people in prison into law-abiding people while watching them closely.

      It is, admittedly, slightly confusing to really really stupid people that ’10 years’ is supposed to mean ‘3 or 4 years of prison, a few years of parole’, but that is *actually* the intent of ’10 years’…until morons showed up and started complaining, and large amounts of punishments because the number written on paper (Which was never the actual intent of that number) and, as judges knew these amounts were stupid and refused to follow them, turning them into mandatory minimums so that judges couldn’t fix the issue. Doubling or even tripling the actual sentences, *and* making us release people after the sentence with no oversight at all.

      • gcp says:

        209000 are incarcerated in federal prison. Given the total population of the US this number is miniscule.

        Yes I do believe violent offenders should serve long prison terms and sometimes without parole. And for other nonviolent career thieves, burglers and fraudsters yes they also should serve long sentences because there are too many alternatives to repeated criminal behavior.

        • DavidTC says:

          209000 are incarcerated in federal prison. Given the total population of the US this number is miniscule.

          That is 6625 people from Georgia, assuming that federal prisons hold the proportional amounts of Georgians (3.17%) vs. other states. (It is actually fairly hard to find this number…they classify prisoners based on location of the prison, not state the person came from.)

          The Georgia prison population has 54,000 people.

          That means 11% of Georgians in prison are in Federal prisons…and, statistically, half are there for drugs. Taking that half, plus the 11% of State prisoners in for drugs, that means that approximately 15%-16% of Georgians in prison are there for drugs, not 11%.

          And this is assuming that people sent to Federal prison *actually* matches* the US population proportionally, aka, that we have 3% of the population, so we have 3% of the Federal prisoners…however, we’re in the top half of the nation in crimes, so I’d actually suspect we’d have maybe 5% of Federal prisoners. Which means the total percentage of people in prison for drug crimes could be close to 20%.

          Yes I do believe violent offenders should serve long prison terms and sometimes without parole. And for other nonviolent career thieves, burglers and fraudsters yes they also should serve long sentences because there are too many alternatives to repeated criminal behavior.

          You can believe that all you want. I was simply taking issue with your odd misrepresentation of David Scott’s remarks.

          Although, as I said, anyone who thinks ‘without parole’ is even *slightly* a useful addition to any prison sentence (besides ‘life’) is an idiot. Parole isn’t to get people out sooner. Parole is to let people out *slowly*, in an supervised manner.

          • gcp says:

            Its an open thread. Never said I was responding only to Scott. I was responding to others that talk of the “war on drugs.”

            As for your stats on inmates from Ga. in federal prison, some of those are illegals that will be deported upon completion of sentence.

            Also assuming your figures are correct, 60625 Georgians are incarcerated out of a total population of 10.1 million which is not a significent portion.

            As for life without parole should an individual such as Brian Nichols be elible for parole?

            • DavidTC says:

              As for life without parole should an individual such as Brian Nichols be elible for parole?

              You have literally managed to miss the point three times on this.

              I have no problem with *life without parole*. That sentence makes sense. They are sentenced to spend the entire rest of their life in prison. They should never get out.

              I have a problem with *anything else without parole*. If, at any point, we plan to release people, we *need to have them on parole for a few years* when we do so.

              But we had lackwits in the government who noticed that people sentenced to 10 years in prison for armed robbery often resulted in people getting out after 4 years and being on parole for two years. And these morons decided they were getting out ‘too early’…when, in actuality, they were getting out *exactly* when we wanted them to get out, because we actually only wanted them to serve 4 years.

              The sentence specified for various crimes is *supposed* to be more than twice as long as it really is. This allows flexibility in letting people out earlier for good behavior, it allows us to put them on parole, it allows all sorts of things. We’re *supposed* to be sentencing people to ten years and letting them out after four, or sentencing to five and letting them out after two and bit, then they get on probation for a few more years where we can watch them. That is how the system works.

              These complete lackwits, with their dumbass ‘law and order’ nonsense…’fixed’ this. They went and got rid of parole. And, then because judges are not idiots and would have started sentencing people to 4 years, made the minimums mandatory so the judges *had* to give ten years. We did this without any actual debate on whether we *wanted* to effectively double those prison sentences.

              And, of course, if we *had* actually wanted to double them, we should have just *doubled* them and left parole in, so at least *that part* still worked. Or, hell, we could have sentenced them to X years in prison, with Y years that can be removed from that for good behavior, and then Z years probation, that would be less flexible, but been more clear what we actually were doing.

              Instead, we did it in a completely idiotic way of just…making all sentences be longer, removing flexibility, and, oh, let’s not make sure that released prisoners have to get jobs and stay away from other felons and whatnot for a few years upon release. There’s surely no way they would immediately fall back into a life of crime, is there?

              Also assuming your figures are correct, 60625 Georgians are incarcerated out of a total population of 10.1 million which is not a significent portion.

              Actually, something like 100,000 Georgians are incarcerated. 60000 is just the amount in *prisons*. But I’m not sure why you’re comparing to the population at large. The claim was that it is relevant to the number of people on *government assistance*.

              Before the recession, only about 200,000 households in Georgia received food stamps. (Since then, the number has gone up, but hopefully the number will eventually get back down to near what it was before.)

              Now, obviously, not every single person locked up is going to have left behind a household that is now on food stamps. Some of them had no family to start with, some of them left behind families with enough money, some of them were already on food stamps.

              But even if only one out of five people locked up make the difference between their household having an income high enough to live on, vs. not, locking them up increased food stamps by about 10%.

              Except that’s a bit too low. There might be 100,000 people imprisoned right now, but the actual problem is not the people currently locked up, it’s the people released who lost years of income and now have a criminal record. (Let’s assume the system worked and those people actually went straight.) Those people *themselves* are often on food stamps, or their family is, because they have no real job prospects at all. It’s not insane to guess this could be causing something like another 20%-30% of food stamps.

              • gcp says:

                Most of your sentencing comments are just opinion so I will move to food stamps.
                You say pre-recession we had 200,ooo on food stamps. Today we probably have 1.4 to 1.5 million food stampers but during this period our prison population has pretty much stayed the same. I could understand if we saw a sharp increase in prison population but we have not seen such an increase yet we have this huge increase in food stamps. The correlation between food stamps and prison is very weak.

                As for 40,000 you say are in local jails you understand many of those are just there until they make bond. Also those sentenced to county jail are only there for a relatively short time.

                • DavidTC says:

                  You say pre-recession we had 200,ooo on food stamps. Today we probably have 1.4 to 1.5 million food stampers but during this period our prison population has pretty much stayed the same.

                  200,000 is a total of households, 1.4 million a total of people.

                  Almost every household on food stamps has at least two people on it (Because most of the households on food stamps have children.) They actually tend to have even more than that.

                  Food stamps are actually distributed based on household income, to heads of households, so I often find myself confused by why 90% of the places giving stats talk about the ‘number of people’ on them. ‘People’ are not, strictly speaking, *on* food stamps. Households are.

                  It took me forever to find that pre-recession stat, and I still haven’t found any information about how many households *currently* are on them.

                  The amount of food stamps has gone up in the recession, but that amount is closer to 150%-175%, so there are presumably about 350,000 households now on food stamps in Georgia. (Although I can find no information on this.)

                  This distinction of households vs. people is especially important when asking the question ‘Why are people on food stamps?’. If you try to ask ask that while looking at ‘people’ you end up with the idiotic answer ‘Because the vast majority of people on food stamps are minors that are unable to work. Duh.’. The actual useful question is why the adults in their *house* are not making enough money. (Which, in this example, is because some of the adults are missing due to imprisonment.)

                  As for 40,000 you say are in local jails you understand many of those are just there until they make bond. Also those sentenced to county jail are only there for a relatively short time.

                  At which point they are *replaced* by other people.

                  Cycling ten people through a month in a jail is probably more disruptive to lives, in total, than sending one person to jail for ten months. Poor households have no buffer to tide them without an income, and people rarely can walk back into their job, especially if it’s a low wage job.

                  • gcp says:

                    Per USDA fy 2013 total households receiving stamps in Ga. was 907,896 and total persons 1,948,189 which means we went from 200,000 households (your figure) to 907,896 households. We have a relatively stable prison population but we have this huge increase in stamps. I just don’t see the correlation.

                    Also does your 40,000 figure include county correctional institutes or is that jails only?

                    • Harry says:

                      So 20% of the state population is on SNAP? And another 20% work for the government? And 4% are otherwise liberals? It’s no wonder Democrats get 44% of the vote.

                    • Harry says:

                      But it could be worse. In California – despite crude being under $50 – currently the average gas price is $3.23 per gallon due to recent gas tax increases. Can’t happen here, right?

                    • gcp says:

                      Per USDA 2013 was the most recent info I could find but yes because we got 10.1 folks in Ga its about 19% or so.

      • gcp says:

        “something like 30% of the people in Ga prisons are not eligible for parole”
        May want to check your facts on that one. DOC website shows just under 2% of Ga. inmates sentenced to life without parole.

        • John Konop says:

          You are way discounted the issue…..

          ……..Charles Koch: Overcriminalization in America adds to poverty, strains race relations…….

          ……It began with well-intentioned lawmakers who went overboard trying to solve perceived or actual problems. Congress creates, on average, more than 50 criminal laws each year. Over time, this has translated into more than 4,500 federal criminal laws spread across 27,000 pages of the United States federal code. (This number does not include the thousands of criminal penalties in federal regulations.) As a result, the United States is the world’s largest jailer – first in the world for total number imprisoned and first among industrialized nations in the rate of incarceration. The United States represents about 5 percent of the world’s population but houses about 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.

          We have paid a heavy price for mass incarceration and could benefit by reversing this trend. Estimates show that at least 53 percent of those entering prison were living at or below the U.S. poverty line when their sentences began. Incarceration leads to a 40 percent decrease in annual earnings, reduced job tenure and higher unemployment. A Pew Charitable Trust study revealed that two-thirds of former inmates with earnings in the bottom fifth upon release in 1986 remained at or below that level 20 years later. A Villanova University study concluded that “had mass incarceration not occurred, poverty would have decreased by more than 20 percent, or about 2.8 percentage points” and “several million fewer people would have been in poverty in recent years.”……

          Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2015/01/24/4499273/charles-koch-overcriminalization.html#storylink=cpy

        • DavidTC says:

          I didn’t say *life* without parole.

          A lot of people are sentenced to their *full sentence* without parole. Ten years or whatever.

          Which, like I said, causes two problems. 1) those ‘full sentences’ are often way way too long, the amount of time being decided when people were assumed to serve 1/3-1/2 of their sentence, and 2) this causes them to be just…released, at the end, with no supervision or help getting their lives back on track.

          • gcp says:

            Where do you get your 30% figure? According to DOC, 60% are paroled or released early. Some of the others are denied parole due to prison behavior or because the parole board feels they are not ready to be released.

            “This causes them to be released with no supervision.” Not true because the vast majority released after serving the entire sentence (no parole) are placed on probation. Only about 6.5% of total inmates that serve their entire sentence are released without probation or formal supervision.

            • DavidTC says:

              Where do you get your 30% figure? According to DOC, 60% are paroled or released early.

              In *actuality*, almost everyone is supposed to be released ‘early’ from prison, because that is how prison sentences work…they are overly long and designed to be cut short.

              So, the math in Georgia is ~30% disallowed by their sentence from parole or early release, ~60% paroled or early released, and apparently ~10% complete idiots or monsters that the system could have let out early but decided not to.

              That works out mathematically perfect, and I’m confused as to why you’re confused by it.

              “This causes them to be released with no supervision.” Not true because the vast majority released after serving the entire sentence (no parole) are placed on probation.

              No.

              People cannot be ‘placed’ on probation. Probation is actually part of the sentence, decided at sentencing. If someone is sentenced to ten years in prison, that can’t later become ten years in prison *and* two years probation. Sentences can’t get *longer*. (They can, however, become eight years in prison and two years parole. Or five years in prison and two years parole. Of course, the prisoner can *refuse* parole and just serve out their actual literal sentence.)

              To get probation, the guy would have had to be sentenced to ten years in prison and two years probation. However, as the mandatory minimums are already *extremely* long for the ‘without parole’ offenses we’re talking about, judges are reluctant to add probation on there.

              The ‘vast majority’ of people who serve their entire sentence may also have probation on their sentence, but that’s probably because the ‘vast majority’ of people who ‘serve their entire sentence’ are the people in fairly short amounts of time (Like one year, plus a year probation) and thus can’t ever *try* for parole. (IIRC, you have to be in prison for at least a year before you can even put in for parole.)

              The people I’m talking about, the ones subject to 10 years mandatory minimums for armed robbery ‘without parole’, are probably not also getting probation on top of that sentence. If they are, well, that’s great. But I’d like some evidence of that. (And they’re still being sentenced for way too long.)

              • gcp says:

                “In *actuality*, almost everyone is supposed to be released ‘early’ from prison, because that is how prison sentences work…they are overly long and designed to be cut short.”
                No not “almost everyone”. Thats why we have a parole board to determine who gets released early and who does not.

                “So, the math in Georgia is ~30% disallowed by their sentence from parole or early release, ~60% paroled or early released, and apparently ~10% complete idiots or monsters that the system could have let out early but decided not to.”
                Per the DOC 9.13% (your 10%) are life, life w/o parole, or death.
                Approximately 30% max out but that does not mean “disallowed” It means many were denied parole. Also some sentenced to mandatory minimum for a serious violent are eligible for early work release or release to transitional program during final year. So I ask again where does your 30% not eligible for parole come from?

                “placed on probation”
                Yes you can be placed on probation by the judge and it is part of your sentence, sometimes with prison time, sometimes without prison time.

                “mandatory minimum”
                For some crimes judges don’t have to follow mandatory minimums but it requires agreement between DA and defense.

              • gcp says:

                You may want to also read ocga 17-10-6.1 (c) (4), (d), (e), (f). While these sections speak of no-parole, they do allow for transitional center or work release during final year of incarceration.

                Section (e) is particularly interesting because it allows a judge to depart from the mandatory minimum. Much of our system is based on plea-bargaining so this section probably gets used quite a bit.

  3. Will Durant says:

    The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Something is wrong with that picture no matter how you slice it.

      • DavidTC says:

        Fixing *poverty* will ‘fix’ the food stamp program. (Not that it actually needs ‘fixing’. I’m assuming the actual premise here is *reducing* it.)

        Reducing the incarceration rate will, indeed, reduce poverty.

        That is, of course, not the *only* way to reduce poverty.

        • saltycracker says:

          The *fixes* in place are enablers, increasing and benefiting welfare and 1%’ers.
          And going after the 1% to fix welfare will only increase the welfare side.

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