Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Quote of the day

"Let's start with a premise that I don't think a lot of Americans are aware of. We have five percent of the world's population; we have 25 percent of the world's known prison population. There are only two possibilities here: either we have the most evil people on earth living in the United States; or we are doing something dramatically wrong in terms of how we approach the issue of criminal justice." -- Senator Jim Webb, D(Va)

If only we had more politicians with courage...

-- Badtux the Wistful Penguin


  1. "or we are doing something dramatically wrong in terms of how we approach the issue of criminal justice."

    Once again, the excluded middle fallacy.. Either this or that. Well, no, there are other options. Altho it is criminal how the U.S. does handle its 'criminal justice', the problem is actually that laws are set to make criminals of people doing no harm to anything other than the pocket books of the ruling wealthy. _That_ is what must change. I forsee this senator simply looking for more 'profitable' ways to punish people who have essentially done no (real) harm. Past actions are the best indicators of future actions.. More of what has already been done (privatization of prisons, etc..) is the likely outcome. No-one really expects the laws we exist under (I don't call this living) to become more fair, do they?

    bobby - the cynical, eyes wide open homo sapiens sapiens.

  2. His books are very readable also. I couldn't put "A Time to Fight" down.

  3. Hmmm... we use about 25% of the world's resources as well (which is where I expcted this post to be going). Must be those damned criminals.

  4. My Dad told me at a young age
    " You can't legislate morality " . A great number of incarcerated people seem to agree . Maybe it's time to try something new ?

  5. I like that guy, after he snubbed that asshole Bush at that dinner when GW made a snide remark about his kid, who is serving, his stock went way up in my book.
    The man has a set and he will show them to you.

  6. Don't forget, prisons are profitable, as long as you're running/working at one. Remember the case in Pennsylvania recently where two local judges were convicted of convicting kids on trumped-up charges so they'd be thrown in a privately run prison that was bribing the judges for fresh meat? And how about California, where the prison guards' union is a powerful political force? Wen I used to do agency work as a prison nurse, it was good money for not a lot of work too.

    Prisoners -- America's human cash cows!

  7. It's the American way, Bukko. Ignore the lives destroyed, by golly, there's a profit to be made!

    w3ski, you are absolutely correct. Victimless crimes, crimes where the only victim is the person who is hurting himself, are all about enforcing morality rather than about protecting society. I am not harmed if some idiot wants to snort enough cocaine to cover a mountain peak in snow. I am not harmed if someone wants to smoke some whacky tobaccy. I am not harmed if someone buys sex from someone else. I am not harmed if a poker game between willing participants turns high stake. Yet all of those acts have been made illegal because our society insists upon trying to enforce morality at gunpoint.

    Durnik: Please explain. And you do not appear to be familiar with Jim Webb. Jim is a straight shooter. If he says he believes that far too many people are incarcerated, you can bet your retirement that he isn't fronting for the prison industry trying to get bigger profits by locking up more people. I don't know how long he's going to be able to stay in the Senate because he is stepping on some mighty wealthy toes when he attacks the prison-industrial complex, who can bankroll an opponent in the next election that might be able to steamroller him if able to buy enough votes, but I think we're all better off for him being in the Senate now. We need at least one truth-teller to tell it like it is, otherwise all we got is bullshit.

    - Badtux the Thinking Penguin

  8. Or the possibility that both premises are right. We do have the most evil people on earth (or at least the most evil people with the power to enact that evil) and our prison/criminal justice system is whacko.


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