Monday, April 25, 2011

Comeback America Initiative; Dirty Cops; A Peace "Bond"; Study Commissions Disdained by Obama; What Does "Fair" Mean?

My San Antonio reports: The Comeback America Initiative, a nonpartisan organization that is urging fiscal discipline, estimates that if current trends aren’t changed, projected revenues will cover only the costs of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and interest on the federal debt by 2022. And by 2046, projected revenues will be less than the cost to pay interest on the federal debt, the organization estimates.
Townhall, and John Stossel report: In Maryland, motorcyclist Tony Graber got in trouble for recording a cop who pulled him over for speeding. Graber didn't know it was cop. He was just a guy in plainclothes with a gun. The cop eventually identified himself.  Graber didn't get arrested until he posted that video on YouTube," Balko explained. "Once he posted it ... the state police raided his home -- came into his home early in the morning, guns drawn -- confiscated a bunch of computer equipment, held him and his parents at gunpoint, arrested him. He spent several nights in jail. He had felony charges hanging over his head until the case finally got to court."
Fortunately, a state judge threw out the charges and wrote a strong opinion:
"Those of us who are public officials and are entrusted with the power of the state should not expect our actions to be shielded from public observation."
He ended by asking, "Who watches the watchmen?" -- a question Plato raised in "The Republic." Good for the judge. But Balko points out that no one punished the authorities who abused their power.  [OK - I've seen the shocking video of a man brandishing a gun in a threatening way, telling a motorcyclist to get off his bike.  The car of the man is not a police car.  I would not believe he is a cop, as he states, for he shows no badge.  It is terribly frightening.   In another video on John Stossel's show a cop literally charged the side of a bicycle rider and shoves his bike and the rider to the pavement.  The cop then charges the rider with resisting arrest - until someone else produced video showing the terrible assault, for no reason, of the citizen.  Watch out, out there.  I may have to get a phone with video capabilities....  Is this still America?  It's feeling like Russia, or China.]  ]
The Daily Kos writes: A controversial Florida pastor and his associate were released from jail tonight after being held briefly for refusing to pay a $1 "peace bond" after a jury ruled they would "likely breach the peace" with plans to protest a mosque.
Judge Mark Somers of Dearborn's 19th District Court jailed pastors Terry Jones and Wayne Sapp about 7 p.m. The order came after a six-member jury at 6:30 p.m. sided with prosecutors who argued the Quran-burning minister's demonstration outside the Islamic Center of America could spark a riot.
The pair were tried under a rarely used law originally passed in 1846 that requires those who are likely to breach the peace to post "peace bonds."
Washington Examiner writes: As a candidate for president, Barack Obama called study commissions created by politicians "Washington-speak for we'll get back to you later."
He mocked his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, for suggesting a commission study the Wall Street meltdown, saying, "We don't need a commission to tell us how we got into this mess, we need a president who will lead us out of this mess, and that's the kind of president I intend to be."
But President Obama has already created about two dozen study commissions, blue-ribbon panels and task forces of his own -- roughly one a month since he took office -- to study not only major economic issues but childhood obesity, Hispanics and the middle class.
The UK Telegraph reports:  Policy Exchange – supposedly the Prime Minister's favourite ideas outlet – has done a brave and unusual thing. Rather than polling the public just on policy and voting intention, it has put a far more abstract moral issue before them. It instructed the pollsters at YouGov to find out precisely what the public thought the most powerful term of approbation in the political lexicon – "fair" – actually amounted to.
The quite unequivocal reply that was received (with breathtakingly enormous majorities in some forms) came as no surprise to this column. To most voters, fairness does not mean an equal distribution of resources and wealth, or even a redistribution of these things according to need. It means, as the report's title – "Just Deserts" – implies, that people get what they deserve. And what is deserved, the respondents made clear, refers to that which is achieved by effort, talent or dedication to duty: in other words, earned on merit.

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