Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mass transit: when liberalism meets reality

Despite the mountains of subsidies they receive, buses account for a mere 3% of passenger-miles traveled.  They get those subsidies because Democrats love the idea of mass transit.  The reality is something else.  In the (Toronto) National Post, for example, one liberal discusses his awakening:
“I used to be a big supporter of the streetcar until I started riding it every day,” said Steve Tartaglia, who regularly rides the streetcar from Liberty Village to King and Adelaide.  He called his commute an “absolute circus.”
Illustrating the problems, other riders quoted in the article mentioned "rude drivers, overcrowding, frequent short turns, breakdowns, blockages, bunching and extra-long wait times" as well as human feces in the seats.

No amount of government funding will make this system work well.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

US Judge decides that California's death penalty serves no "purpose"

Judge Carney
US District Judge Cormac J. Carney has ruled that California's death penalty is unconstitutionally in violation of "the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment." In his opinion [PDF], he writes:
Since 1978, when the current death penalty system was adopted by California voters, over 900 people have been sentenced to death for their crimes. Of them, only 13 have been executed. For the rest, the dysfunctional administration of California's death penalty system has resulted, and will continue to result, in an inordinate and unpredictable period of delay preceding their actual execution. Indeed, for most, systemic delay has made their execution so unlikely that the death sentence carefully and deliberately imposed by the jury has been quietly transformed into one no rational jury or legislature could ever impose: life in prison, with the remote possibility of death. As for the random few for whom execution does become a reality, they will have languished for so long on Death Row that their execution will serve no retributive or deterrent purpose and will be arbitrary.
While judges should rule on the basis of law, he veers far away from that when he decides that California's death penalty serves "no retributive or deterrent purpose." Deciding what is retributive and what is deterrent are policies issues, and policies issues are for the legislature, not the judiciary, to decide.

Notice also that the judge is declaring that the results of the judicial process are "unpredictable" and "random."  He seems unaware that his decision could be considered an example of just that.

So far, Carney's decision applies to just to the case of one Ernest Dewayne Jones who raped and murdered his girlfriend's mother.  One can expect, however, that death penalty opponents will attempt to apply the same reasoning to the cases of the rest of the state's convicted murderers.

Judge Carney, like Chief Justice Roberts who approved Obamacare, was appointed by Pres. Geo. W. Bush. Bush may have been strong on the war on terror but he wasn't strong on much else.

Compare and contrast

Pres. Obama speaks on the attack on the Malaysian airliner flying over Ukraine:

Pres. Reagan speaks on the Soviet attack on Korean Airliner KAL 007:

We celebrate Reagan for having  won the Cold War.  Obama has no idea that he is blundering into a new one.

Hat tip: Greg.
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