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Sifting through the entrails

Nice heading, huh?  Every now and then, I get lazy and come up with a post just by surfing the 'net and finding stuff that might be relevant or interesting to my legions of faithful readers.  Yeah, yeah, I know, you'd rather have pictures of nekkid women.  Maybe next week.

We'll start with a tip of the hat to one of my favorite blogs, Professor Berman's Sentencing Law & Policy, where he cites a recent article in the Columbus Dispatch, detailing an interview with Ohio Parole Board member Peter Davis, who used his retirement after 30 years of service to recount how the truth-in-sentencing laws passed back in 1996 have resulted in a "new breed" of inmate:  since those convicted of the new laws know that they will serve every day of their sentence -- no more, no less -- unless they commmit a new crime while in prison, there's no incentive for them to get education or job training while serving their terms.  Gosh, who could have foreseen something like that happening?

And then you read this story in the New York Times about states which had lowered the age at which juveniles are automatically prosecuted as adults -- in some states, as low as 16 -- only to find that it led to a lot of kids winding up with adult felony records for things like minor drug possession, and you realize that criminal and sentencing policy is apparently being made by people who have virtually no ability to foresee the effects of what they're doing. 

Of course, foolishness isn't limited to decision-making about criminal laws, but extends to economic policy as well.  In light of the recent decision by the City of Cleveland to allow only three taxi-cab companies to operate out of the airport (and to increase the fare for a ride from the airport to downtown from $28 to $44, a hefty 57% hike), I found interesting the decision by Minneapolis to use the opposite approach:  they abolished most of the regulations which had limited the number of cabs and licenses.  The taxi cartels sued, but their claims were rejected.  As for Cleveland's approach, Frank Jackson -- who, rumors persist, was elected mayor back in 2005 -- has announced that the plan will be reviewed and the new fares revised downward. 

Speaking of Cleveland, our Tribe's utter collapse in the American League Championship Series -- being up three games to one, only to be blown out in the next three by a combined score of 30-5 -- was made even more painful by Boston's manhandling of Colorado in the World Series.  Coulda been us.  Then again, if it had been, one of our sportswriters would have had to come up with a metaphor like this one:  "In a contest between Boston lobster and Colorado beef, the shellfish left the meat charred and scarred."  I don't know...  Cleveland kielbasa? 

On the other hand, you gotta give those Boston fans credit:  they know how to party, as indicated by this story, which begins, "A local mom brought her toddler to a hotel room for a Red Sox party where heroin was used and one party-goer died, say police."

See you on Monday.

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