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Quants, Assumptions and Unexamined Actions November 23, 2008

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Economics, The Big Crash of 2008, What is Justice?.
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If you combine these articles with my previous post about the article from Scientific American don’t you have to wonder about every analysis concerning finance and credit?

Steve Lohr in the New York Times

Lee Gomes in Forbes

Citigroup Saw No Red Flags Even as It Made Bolder Bet

Aren’t these largely the same processes that credit bureaus use in determining how to create “credit scores” for the rest of us? Don’t you wonder about their ability to figure out a darn thing? Don’t you think that just maybe they ignore the human factor entirely in their analyses of people’s ability and willingness to pay back their debt? Should people be cut some slack in times like these as the companies that extend them credit prove that they in fact don’t have a clue when it comes to risk analysis? Questions, questions.


Laws? We don’t follow no steenking laws! August 9, 2008

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Does Not Compute, Terrorism, The Bush Administration, What is Justice?, WoT.
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So the Bush Administration and the Pentagon got what they wanted in the arrangements for the “trial” of Salim Hamdan. They just didn’t get the verdicts they wanted. And now, like a version of the child who decides to change the rules when they lose but with far greater stakes they are debating completely ignoring the results of what they expected to be a show trial and keep Hamdan in detention indefinitely after his sentence is up.

Apparently some people realize there just might be a problem with that idea.

Defense Department officials said there are concerns about the public perception of holding Hamdan after his prison term runs out, because it could label the military commissions a “show process” with no meaning to its sentences.

Gee, ya think?

Yes, the War on Drugs is Insane August 1, 2008

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Barbarity, Corruption, Does Not Compute, The War on Drugs, Too Stupid to Live, What is Justice?.
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The Washington Post reports on how Prince George’s County police and Sheriff’s officers, including a full SWAT team, broke into the home of the mayor of Berwyn Heights, shot his two dogs and handcuffed he and his mother-in-law and interrogated them. Why? In Arizona a drug sniffing dog identified a package addressed to Calvo’s wife as containing marijuana. The Prince George authorities disguised themselves as delivery people and with SWAT team and other officers in place delivered the package. Wasn’t the fact that an older woman (the mother-in-law) told them to just leave it on the porch a good first clue that something was a bit odd? So the mayor comes home from walking the dogs, sees the package addressed to his wife and takes it in and puts it on the table, just as most of us would do.

A few minutes later the door bursts open as the SWAT team invades and they immediately shoot one dog and then kill the other when it comes running into the room. Why would they do this? Why were there no Federal officials there when this shipment made in a crime crossing multiple state lines? Why didn’t the county cops contact the local police? Simple. Money. I have no doubt the county officials will deny it but anyone familiar with what goes on with drug busts now knows that whatever agency makes the arrest can take any money and property the drug dealer has. Even if the suspect is found innocent the property is often never returned. If you involve the Feds or any other law enforcement agency you have to split the money with them. Apparently in their rush to bust the wealthy drug dealer receiving 32 pounds of pot and seize their property it never occurred to them to investigate who lived at the house and consider that just maybe a violent assault on the part time mayor whose day job is running a national non-profit organization called SEED wasn’t the brightest move they could make.

Petty Concerns July 3, 2007

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Government, Politics, The Bush Administration, What is Justice?.
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I won’t bother providing a link to any one story. Anyone who follows the news at all knows that President Bush has announced that he believes that a sentence 6 months under the maximum allowed for by federal sentencing guidelines is just too harsh for Scooter Libby. So his sentence has been commuted so he won’t serve a single day in prison. Bush couldn’t wait and maybe let him serve a month for perjury in an important investigation. No, no. Far too harsh for such an upstanding citizen. Well, maybe a week just to show that the Bush administration doesn’t consider itself above the law. Nope. How could someone of such delicate sensibilities as an aide to Dick Cheney survive that interminable sentence? Maybe he could report in for a day? Just one little overnight visit to a nice minimum security place near Washington, where a well-paying job with a conservative think tank or lobbying firm awaits on his release from a grueling incarceration? Just to make it look good? No, the wisdom of American conservatism, that bastion of hard core belief in law and order is that a Republican who committed perjury called for a pardon but even GWB wouldn’t go that far just now and pardon Libby. But he did make certain that not one day would be spent in jail by such a loyal apparatchik. But these are petty concerns, meaningless in the greater scheme of American political life.

Let’s move on to something much more important. Who’s starting the betting pools on how soon after the November 2008 election that complete pardon will be announced?

You Say Tomato I Say… July 2, 2007

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Government, Politics, The Bush Administration, What is Justice?.
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In the New York Times Adam Liptak notes that Bush only commuted Libby’s sentence. He didn’t pardon him. Does anyone really doubt that the pardon is just waiting in the wings for about 18 months?

I just wonder… June 18, 2007

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Government, Politics, What is Justice?.
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…how some of the Constitutional “originalists” among us who don’t believe that Griswold or Roe were proper decisions feel about Loving. Andrew Sullivan posts something by Mildred Loving 40 years after the Supreme Court decision that said she and her husband had the right to marry.