Monday, February 08, 2016

Ice shelves in the Antarctic

They are very big, some larger than most countries and they ring the Antarctic glaciers. They act as a brace, holding back the flow of glaciers. Sometimes they break off and sometimes they collapse. It looks as though some of these shelves are close to collapse. When they do, the seas around the world will become higher.

Abating nuisances

Back in the 1970s New York City had a problem in Times Square, which had become the capital of the sex industry in the city. So, it passed a nuisance abatement law which gave it the power to shut down places that were being used for illegal purposes. Its use has grown since then; there are about 1,000 cases a year, half of which claim that residences are nuisances, largely because of drugs. 

One problem with the way the law is administered is that three-quarters of the cases begin with secret court orders that lock residents out until the case is resolved. The police need a judge’s signoff, but residents aren’t notified and thus have no chance to tell their side of the story until they’ve already been locked out for days. And because these are civil actions, residents also have no right to an attorney. To make matters even worse, residents can be permanently barred from their homes without being convicted or even charged with a crime.

It seems that in most of the cases minorities pay the price. In a survey by ProPublica nine of 10 homes subjected to such actions were in minority communities and only five of the 297 people who were barred from homes were white.

Living your life again but as a youth

Courtesy of a Duncaster correspondent

Prisons for juveniles are dangerous

The Justice Department recently released a report of sex abuse allegations against guards and other staff in state juvenile justice facilities. Between 2007 and 2012, the number of allegations doubled, while as the number of children entering those systems has dropped. 

You have to consider that the report is based largely on allegations filed directly by juveniles to the administrators who detain them. Thus, some allegations may be false. However, those in the field recognize that juveniles put themselves at substantial risk by coming forward against alleged abusers. Roughly 45 percent of the allegations were leveled at staff (the majority of whom were women), the rest at other youngsters in the facilities.

The report indicates that when investigations confirm that staff members sexually abused a youngster, the staff members too often receive no punishment beyond losing their jobs, if that. Only 36 percent of staff members found to have abused children were referred to the authorities for possible criminal prosecution. Only 16 percent wound up arrested. And roughly 20 percent actually kept their jobs.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

She came back from the dead

Her husband was told that she was dead. He believed that to be the case, as he had hired some people to kill her and they said they had. So, he had a funeral for her. At the end of the funeral she showed up as the 'killers' decided not to do the job. But to collect their money they told the husband that they had fulfilled the contract.

The husband confessed and is serving nine years in jail.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Count your cards

In Thailand if you have more than 120 playing cards, you are violating the law and can be arrested. I should change 'can' to 'will' as the police recently arrested a number of bridge players because they broke a 1935 law, the Playing Cards Act, which prohibits individuals from possessing more than 120 playing cards. This law is seen as cracking down on corruption even though the players were simply playing for fun, not money. They were released on bail.

US median household income over 40 years

adjusted for inflation

Monday, February 01, 2016

Winter in Connecticut

The temperature reached 62 degrees here today and will likely be in the 50s the rest of the week, which we used to call "the dead of winter". Climate change does have some benefits for a period of time. But what about the long term costs?

Locking people up is a growth industry

In the 21st century private companies do a lot of the work in putting people in jail. Here's what they do when someone is charged with a misdemeanor.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

A fair amount of energy

Becca Pizzi is the mother of an 8-year-old daughter. She also she runs a day-care center in Belmont, MA and manages an ice cream shop. She is 35 and has tons of energy. She is the first American woman to run seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. She ran in Antarctica, Chile, Miami, Spain, Morocco, Dubai and Sydney, Australia.