29 May 2010

random sequences

A list of laws or propositions that I'd support or oppose
1) Toll congestion pricing for controlled access roads like highways: great idea. Gets traffic moving to save time for commutes, saves energy, helps pay for the construction and maintenance of roads (and of course: can be privatized)
2) Hate crime laws: useless. Violent crimes (or really any sort of criminal act, fraud for example) with broad and impersonal motives like "I hate black people" can and should be considered as though these motives are serious enough to potentially incarcerate people for long stretches of prison time, on the basis that such motivations mean they are thus likely to commit such acts again with or without minimal provocation. I'm just not sure we need a law in order to tell us that people with very broad and particularly aggressive biases and bigotries and who act upon them by brutally murdering someone are like any other form of psychopathic murderer and need to be detained for doing it. If a crime is committed against another person, I don't particularly care that the reason for doing it was racially or religiously motivated (though establishing a motive is certainly useful, and such motivations should obviously be admissible in court as the formal legal argument for juries and judges to consider). What I care about is getting them convicted for the violation of another person's life and liberties.
3) Strict regulation of sex offender housing: bad idea (just don't let out dangerous sex offenders and don't charge everyone with a sex related offense as though they're a dangerous sex offender.
4) I'm still not sure about some of this:
15-1 leverage limits, and also the Volcker Rule, both of which seem a little too much like Glass Steagall to me to make a whole lot of systematic necessity, but seem like they'd at least contain things in the absence of getting rid of the federal guarantees for creditors and so on (ie, future bailouts).
5) Kill Frannie and Freddie (this I'm sure of, I just wish it had happened a while ago, like during the Vietnam War era)

Also: a list of topics about which people tend to get immediately hostile and emotional and being parsing very very small facts rather than asking meta-level questions first in order to disagree about...everything relating to that topic. The meta level disagreements would establish that these very, very small factual arguments will be totally pointless and fruitless and save the rest of us the trouble of watching people scream over them as though their yelling makes the actual facts clearer to us. And these are policy experts or field experts (ie, academics or policy wonks) who are arguing. Not mere simpletons.
1) Israel and Palestine
2) Global Warming potential policy solutions (not global warming itself, which has arguments, but they seem contained and meta-level by comparison to the bleating over prospective environmental policy interventions)
3) Abortion
4) International Terrorism and Torture
5) Definitions of socialism or libertarianism, ie, radical political philosophies which almost nobody actually adheres to but which everybody else immediately says are nuts
6) Immigration and the activities of immigrants.

I would include the Drug War here, except I'm not sure there are still policy experts who disagree with each other about it. Just the people running the policies and still supporting them from the general public versus...everybody else.
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