Posts Tagged ‘New York Post’

Waiting Period for Laws

January 28, 2013

In his New York Post column, Glenn Harlan Reynolds suggests a waiting period for laws.

After every tragedy, legislation gets rushed through that’s typically just a bunch of stuff that various folks had long wanted all along, but couldn’t pass before. Then it’s hustled through as a “solution” to the tragedy, even though close inspection usually reveals that the changes wouldn’t have prevented the tragedy, and don’t even have much to do with it.

The goal, thus, is to prevent close inspection through a combination of heavy-handed legislative techniques and bullying rhetoric: If you don’t want to pass our bill without reading it, you must hate the children.

Over the years, we’ve gotten a lot of lousy legislation this way — the Patriot Act, for example, about which I wrote a column something like this one back in 2001. We’ve gotten it because politicians like to manipulate voters and avoid scrutiny.

But why let them?

I’d like to propose a “waiting period” for legislation. No bill should be voted on without hearings, debate and a final text that’s available online for at least a week. (A month would be better. How many bills really couldn’t wait a month?)

And if the bill is advertised as addressing a “tragedy” or named after a dead child, this period should double.

After all, people want waiting periods for guns. Yet, statistically, the percentage of guns involved in crimes is much lower than the percentage of politicians involved in crimes.

Seriously, legislation is supposed to be a deliberative process. When they don’t want to deliberate, it’s because they’re hiding something. And they’re hiding it because they don’t want you to know about it.

The founding fathers did not intend for laws to be passed easily or quickly, for them gridlock was a good thing. There are a couple of other reforms I would suggest. One might be that if the Supreme Court rules that a law is unconstitutional, than every legislator who voted for it be subject to a heavy fine. Repeat offenders would be forced to resign and barred from public office for life. No bill named after a dead child should be permitted and all such laws currently on the books should be automatically repealed. I would also suggest that no bill under consideration be permitted to have irrelevant riders attached to it. A rider is an additional provision attached to a bill that it has no obvious or relevant connection to the main subject of the bill. A rider is often used to enact policies that could never pass on their own. Other democratic countries manage to limit or prohibit the practice of adding riders to bills, as did the Confederate constitution. I don’t see why we should not do likewise. Maybe there should also be a mandatory sunset provision for all laws passed. Term limits for everyone in office couldn’t hurt.

 

 

 

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NYPD Clears OWS

November 15, 2011

And it’s about time too. Here is the story in the New York Post.

The NYPD arrested 200 protesters as they moved in on Zuccotti Park early this morning and cleared out the thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters who had taken over the space for nearly two months.

Mayor Bloomberg, who called the decision to boot the protesters “mine and mine alone,” said protesters would be allowed back into the Lower Manhattan park but not with their tents and sleeping bags.

I don’t have any problem with protests. I supported the Tea Party protests. But, there is a problem when people start camping out in parks for weeks on end and annoy the people who live in the area. There is a real problem when the camps become havens for criminal activity and a public health hazard.

I don’t think that Mayor Bloomberg comes off at all well in his dealings with these people. The first duty of any public official is to maintain order and the rule of law. By failing to properly handle the protesters when they started to become unruly, he and too many other sympathetic mayors effectively abdicated their duty, and, they allowed the problem to become that much harder to deal with.

By the way, I think the OWS protesters should be forced to clean up their mess. At the very least, they should pay the costs.

Citizen’s Arrest!!

October 30, 2011

I always liked this scene from the Andy Griffith Show.

 

The reason I bring this up is because of this story I saw in the New York Post. It would seem that in New York there are indeed two sets of laws, as Gomer Pyle says, one for the citizens and one for the police and their friends and families.

Hundreds of NYPD cops rallied in front of the Bronx County Courthouse yesterday to support 16 colleagues who were indicted in a long-simmering ticket-fixing scandal.

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association was out in force, passing out various signs to the off-duty protesters.

One sign asserted the supposed mild nature of fixing tickets: “It’s a courtesy, not a crime.” Another called it “NYPD Culture.”

Well, PBA culture, anyway.

When the trials get under way, it will be interesting to pull back the covers of these “courtesies” — and the underlying culture.

Apart from the blatant criminal charges against Jose Ramos, the police officer whose ties to a drug dealer first sparked the investigation in 2009, the “courtesy” in ticket-fixing seems pretty much an insiders’ game.

Call it cops’ “Friends-and-Family” plan — with union officials cutting breaks for the rank-and-file’s relatives and pals.

But over the course of the investigation, wiretaps revealed widespread fixing that extended beyond parking-violation favors to potential cover-ups of DWI and domestic-disturbance incidents.

In short, it’s serious stuff — and it sure doesn’t seem like a “courtesy” that’s ever been extended to the general public.

Another sign at the courthouse read, “Collective prosecution is unfair.”

Yeah, and so is “selective enforcement.”

Fact is, the best way to cultivate contempt for the law is to create the impression that the rules apply only to some.

It’s ultimately for a court to determine whether crimes were committed.

But if it comes out during the process that PBA officers plotted to help out friends, family and those in a position to help the organization, then the union itself needs to be prosecuted as a criminal conspiracy.

“A courtesy, not a crime”?

These police officers who are rallying in support of this practice fail to understand that if people begin to feel that there are two sets of laws, or that the police are to be considered above the law, that will, in the long run, make their jobs a whole lot more difficult.

Where is Sheriff Taylor, when we need him?

And thanks once again to Instapundit.


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