June 26, 2008
Re: Death Penalty Ruling
Posted by Daren Bakst at 6:17 PM
I agree and disagree.
I agree with your policy
conclusion. One of my college professors asked my class what
problems could we envision if getting a parking ticket meant the death
penalty. Nobody, including me I hate to admit, knew the "best"
response he was looking for: If a parking attendant was about to
give a ticket, the driver would have significant incentive to kill the
I disagree with your legal argument. It is the Supreme
Court's role to determine whether a punishment qualifies as "cruel and
unusual" punishment. For it it be a state issue only, one also
would have to believe that the Eighth Amendment shouldn't apply to the
states (maybe you do believe this).
Here's an interesting Policy Review article
that I just ran across regarding the Court's jurisprudence on the
meaning of cruel and unusual punishment. It is worth reading for
anyone interested in this issue.
The Supreme Court death penalty ruling--an economics perspective
Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 5:25 PM
Before I give the wrong impression with this post, I want to point out that I think yesterday's ruling striking down Louisiana's law which allowed for the death penalty in cases of child rape, was a bad decision. This was clearly a state issue and the Supremes should have just butted out. That said, from an economist's perspective, I think the La. law itself was probably not a good idea. A law like this could actually lead to the murder of child rape victims, when they otherwise would only have been raped. This is because it makes the penalty for the rape equal to the penalty for rape plus murder. In economics lingo, the law eliminates the opportunity cost to the rapist of committing the additional crime. In fact, it actually creates a net benefit to the rapist, that is, an incentive for the rapist to murder his victim. That's because by murdering the child the rapist eliminates the most important witness, again, with no fear of additional penalty if caught and convicted. My fear is that laws like this, while satisfying my sense of vengeance for such a terrible act, could create more harm than good.
McCain Targeting the Video Game Crowd
Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 3:03 PM
Check out Presidential nominee John McCain's video game on pork spending in Congress. It's called Pork Invaders, and is modeled after Galactica.
Those wasteful TV spots
Posted by John Hood at 2:53 PM
I don't agree with everything Boston Phoenix writer Steve Stark argues in a recent piece questioning the value of campaign ads on TV, but I think the gist of it is correct:
To the extent that TV ads have ever had an impact in a general election, that influence has been sharply diminished by the Internet and TiVo Ages. Viewers now receive their information in ways that minimize their contact with commercials. Sure, advertisers still flock to television. But effective product commercials these days run far more often and strategically than do political ads, and production-value-wise, they are light years ahead of anything the candidates ever put out.
Posted by Geoff Lawrence at 2:45 PM
Sustainability advocates in North Carolina claim that market economies are out of date. I found this definition of sustainability today:
The basic concept of sustainability is a simple one—let’s find ways of doing things that will maintain the long term health of the natural and social systems we all depend upon for life, while providing sound economic returns.
So far, the definition sounds reasonable. Myself and my colleagues at the John Locke Foundation would certainly agree that this is a good definition for a sustainable economy. However, this definition continues:
The challenge lies in that our current economic and industrial models are based on out-of-date premises about inexhaustible natural resources and humankind’s ability to impact global systems. Just as the mere idea that the Earth revolves around the Sun required a fundamental shift in how humans saw themselves in relation to the universe in Galileo’s time, sustainability requires that we rethink our relationship to nature and to each other today.
That's right, these "sustainability" advocates are saying that "our current economic and industrial models (markets) are based on out of date premises." The free enterprise model, therefore, must be replaced by a "fundamental shift." This is how one advocates a Marxist revolution without using the name Marx.
British Health Care
Posted by Geoff Lawrence at 1:13 PM
The British government-run health care system is getting worse for citizens economically. Some patients are even being denied treatment and medication.
The Heartland Institute comments on a recent study conducted by the NCPA here.
According to a report by the National Center for Policy Analysis, Great Britain lost $208 billion in the overall economy to illness and treatment, including $127 billion in potential earnings based on productivity, $81 billion in paid mental health leave, and $50 billion in direct costs to friends and family members tasked with caring for the ill.
Supremes uphold gun ownership
Posted by David N. Bass at 12:30 AM
The U.S. Supreme Court today struck down the District of Columbia's ban on handgun ownership, upholding the right of Americans to bear arms under the Second Amendment.
As the AP reports:
The basic issue for the justices was whether the amendment protects an individual's right to own guns no matter what, or whether that right is somehow tied to service in a state militia.
Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said that an individual right to bear arms is supported by "the historical narrative" both before and after the Second Amendment was adopted.
The Constitution does not permit "the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home," Scalia said. The court also struck down Washington's requirement that firearms be equipped with trigger locks or kept disassembled, but left intact the licensing of guns.
Read the complete opinion here.
Posted by Daren Bakst at 10:24 AM
In a shocking turn of events, one of the amendments to the
annexation moratorium bill that was passed in the House Judiciary II
meeting makes the moratorium bill completely pointless.
The amendment actually was introduced by Goforth and Luebke, who
are the sponsors of the bill. It was "sold" to the committee as
an amendment that would allow cities to continue planning during the
In fact, the amendment would allow municipalities to do
everything it normally could do if there were no moratorium. It
can pass whatever resolutions it wants, pass ordinances, etc. The
only thing it may do is delay some of the effective dates of some
Qualification: I just learned about this disgraceful action just
minutes ago, so I'm still trying to come to terms with it and analyze
The House is about to take up this bill at 11:00.
Here is version 1 of the bill:
Here is the amended version of the bill. Note that the original section 1 ( i.e. "the teeth") of the bill have been taken out.
Latest dispatches from the political trail
Posted by John Hood at 09:15 AM
• Pat McCrory speaks and drums at the “Take Back Our State” rally sponsored by Americans for Prosperity-NC. Bob Dole, Robert Pittenger, and other politicians and conservative leaders also speak on issues ranging from taxes and annexation to same-sex marriage and cultural concerns.
• Beverly Perdue promises to enforce a prohibition against state government discriminating against prospective workers on the basis of sexual orientation. Tied up with a scheduling conflict, Perdue misses the capital press corps' annual skit night, but McCrory attends. Both candidates are lampooned during the evening event.
• In a shift of position, Elizabeth Dole endorses a move to give North Carolina and other states the power to approve offshore drilling for oil and natural gas. A Bloomberg News profile of the race notes that Dole is distancing herself from President Bush and emphasizing her bipartisan credentials. At the recent Atlantic Beach debate, Kay Hagan challenges Dole on the point.
"Take Back Our State" rally television coverage
Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 08:27 AM
As you may know, I am a connoisseur of local television news. I admit to being partial to News 14 Carolina because, among other things, they are able to satisfy my appetite for local news 24 hours a day.
So, I want to weigh in on coverage of the Take Back the State rally yesterday in Raleigh.
Comments: A fair but short report by capable newscaster Dan Bowens.
News 14 Carolina
Comments: The delightful Amy Thorpe conflates Republicans and conservatives, but she is the only local newscaster to report in front of the giant pig.
Comments: Former college professor Steve Sbraccia claimed that it was a "thinly veiled political rally for Republican gubernatorial hopeful Pat McCrory." Were we at the same rally, Steve? While anchor Bill Fitzgerald billed Sbraccia's report as an objective look at the rally, his report was actually a thinly veiled attack on Republicans and conservatives.
Comments: I believe the incomparable Rebecca Hall reported from the rally, but the clip is not posted on the ABC 11 website.
ABC 11 Update
Comments: The video is too hard to find, but it did include the 3 Ps - People, Principles and the Pig.
Today's Carolina Journal Online features
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:32 AM
Today's Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Karen McMahan's report on a documentary comparing American public school student performance to the performance of students in China and India.
John Hood's Daily Journal compares this week's legislative rallies from state employees and conservative activists.
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