What could go wrong with that?
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Sr. editorial writer and columnist with The Orange County Register
Below is an excerpt of this excellent article:
(To read the full article, click here)
"A California constitutional convention would involve about 400 delegates, including people selected at random (like for jury duty) and perhaps including dozens of elected officials. They would propose ideas, hash them out in committees and create a document that revised the state's enormously long, two-volume constitution. Those changes would then go to the state's voters for approval or rejection.
It sounds like fun, at least for reporters and civics teachers, but this is a nightmare waiting to happen. Other states have done this. Hawaii, for instance, in 1978 created a new constitution that sensibly required term limits and balanced budgets, but it also created an Office of Hawaiian Affairs that has pushed much of the noxious race-based legislation that has plagued that island state for three decades.
That's the problem. We would get good and bad, just like we have now. Given the political complexion of this state, it's hard to imagine that a majority of delegates would yield anything better than we have now, and chances are we would end up with something much worse – such as a new budget process that makes it easier to raise taxes."
Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"
"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night.
But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.
|Death of an innocent.||Death or injury of a police officer.||Death of a nonviolent offender.|
|Raid on an innocent suspect.||Other examples of paramilitary police excess.||Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.|
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