July 25 roundup


  • ?Scotland: Thief wants victim prosecuted for keeping gun in her house?

    Well, he is being charged with possession, and would not have been in possession if she had not had one he could steal.

    Sadly, no matter where the information comes from law enforcement is pretty much required to follow up. One can only hope that prosecutors and justices agree on a minimal sentence, or perhaps even refuse prosecution.

  • Ribstein’s criticism of the NYT piece on Congressman Mike Thompson misrepresents it. The article is actually quite even-handed and is by no means a smear-job on Thompson. It quotes both critics and defenders and goes into some detail about both his business and his political activity regarding the wine business. It is simply not true that the NYT claims that it is unethical for a congressman to be in business. The questions raised have to do with the extent to which he has involved himself in matters from which he personally stands to benefit (my take: maybe a little, but nothing serious) and his ties to the industry, which are worthy of discussion but not in violation of current ethical standards (e.g. he has received $1.2 million in contributions from industry sources over 7 terms). It looks to me to be quite a reasonable article that does not deserve to be written off as anti-business.

  • The article on gerrymandered school districts raises the questions which never seems to be asked: why do you have school districts in the first place? The logical approach would be for the government to place schools roughly according to the density of child population in the areas, but that parents can elect to send their children to any public school they wish.

  • All parents will want their kids to go to the magnet schools. Now what?


  • “The department ignores the very next sentence of the Voting Rights Act, which cautions “that nothing in this section establishes a right to have members of a protected class elected in numbers equal to their proportion in the population.” ”

    The problem is that that’s EXACTLY what’s sought. It’s like saying “we want affirmative action, but not quotas.” Right — same difference. Laws and policies that try to achieve opposite ends at the same time are going to have weird results.