Search this Topic:
Apr 26 06 10:38 AM
Apr 28 06 5:07 PM
May 1 06 11:53 PM
The Voice of Reason
Quote: The Decline And Fall Of EuropeBy Fareed ZakariaTuesday, February 14, 2006; A15Cartoons and riots made the headlines in Europe last week, but a far less fiery event, the publication of an academic study, may shed greater light on the future of the continent. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), headquartered in Paris, released a report, "Going for Growth," that details economic prospects in the industrial world. It is 160 pages long and written in bland, cautious, scholarly prose. But the conclusion is clear: Europe is in deep trouble. These days we all talk about the rise of Asia and the challenge to America, but it may well turn out that the most consequential trend of the next decade will be the economic decline of Europe.It's often noted that the European Union has a combined gross domestic product that is approximately the same as that of the United States. But the E.U. has 170 million more people. Its per capita GDP is 25 percent lower than that of the United States, and, most important, that gap has been widening for 15 years. If present trends continue, the chief economist at the OECD argues, in 20 years the average U.S. citizen will be twice as rich as the average Frenchman or German. (Britain is an exception on most of these measures, lying somewhere between Continental Europe and the United States.)People have argued that Europeans simply value leisure more and, as a result, are poorer but have a better quality of life. That's fine if you're taking a 10 percent pay cut and choosing to have longer lunches and vacations. But if you're only half as well off as the United States, that will translate into poorer health care and education, diminished access to all kinds of goods and services, and a lower quality of life. Two Swedish researchers, Fredrik Bergstrom and Robert Gidehag, note in a monograph published last year that "40 percent of Swedish households would rank as low-income households in the U.S." In many European countries, the percentage would be even greater.In March 2000, E.U. heads of state agreed to make the European Union "the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-driven economy by 2010." Today this looks like a joke. The OECD report goes through the status of reforms country by country, and all the major continental economies get a B-minus. Whenever some politician makes tiny, halting efforts at reform, strikes and protests paralyze the country. In recent months reformers such as Nicolas Sarkozy in France, Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels and Angela Merkel in Germany have been backtracking on their proposals and instead mouthing pious rhetoric about the need to "manage" globalization. E.U. Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson's efforts to liberalize trade have been consistently undercut. As a result of the European Union's unwillingness to reduce its massive farm subsidies, the Doha trade expansion round is dead.Talk to top-level scientists and educators about the future of scientific research and they will rarely even mention Europe. There are areas in which it is world class, but they are fewer than they once were. In the biomedical sciences, for example, Europe is not on the map, and it might well be surpassed by much poorer Asian countries. The chief executive of a large pharmaceutical company told me that in 10 years, the three most important countries for his industry will be the United States, China and India.And I haven't even gotten to the demographics. In 25 years the number of working-age Europeans will decline by 7 percent, while those older than 65 will increase by 50 percent. One solution: Let older people work. But Europe's employment rate for people older than 60 is low: 7 percent in France and 12 percent in Germany (compared with 27 percent in the United States). Modest efforts to allow people to retire later have been met with the usual avalanche of protests. And while economists and the European Commission keep proposing that Europe take in more immigrants to expand its labor force, it won't. The cartoon controversy has powerfully highlighted the difficulties Europe is having with its immigrants.What does all this add up to? Less European influence in the world. Europe's position in such institutions as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund relates to its share of world GDP. Its dwindling defense spending weakens its ability to be a military partner of the United States, or to project military power abroad even for peacekeeping purposes. Its cramped, increasingly protectionist outlook will further sap its vitality.The decline of Europe means a world with a greater diffusion of power and a lessened ability to create international norms and rules of the road. It also means that America's superpower status will linger. Think of the dollar. For years people have argued that it is due for a massive drop as countries around the world diversify their savings. But as people looked at the alternatives, they decided that the chief rivals, the euro and the yen, represented economies that were structurally weak. So they have reluctantly stuck with the dollar. It's a similar dynamic in other arenas. You can't beat something with nothing.
May 2 06 1:58 AM
May 2 06 10:04 AM
Quote:And I haven't even gotten to the demographics. In 25 years the number of working-age Europeans will decline by 7 percent, while those older than 65 will increase by 50 percent. One solution: Let older people work. But Europe's employment rate for people older than 60 is low: 7 percent in France and 12 percent in Germany (compared with 27 percent in the United States). Modest efforts to allow people to retire later have been met with the usual avalanche of protests. And while economists and the European Commission keep proposing that Europe take in more immigrants to expand its labor force, it won't. The cartoon controversy has powerfully highlighted the difficulties Europe is having with its immigrants.
May 2 06 10:57 AM
May 2 06 10:32 PM
Quote:Willingham was executed by lethal injection in February 2004, maintaining his innocence to the end. While strapped on the gurney in the execution chamber, Willingham declared, "I am an innocent man, convicted of a crime I did not commit."John J. Lentini, the former chairman of the forensic science committee of the National Institute of Arson Investigators who led the review panel, said in an interview that he was convinced that Texas had executed an innocent man."Arson is the only crime for which you can be executed based on the opinion of a man with a high school education," said Lentini, referring to the fact that many arson investigators are qualified by judges as experts even though they lack scientific training.
May 3 06 12:27 PM
Quote:Sure, Europe has its problems, but they're not unsolvable. I think that minor tweaks in the welfare state, a few people working longer as they enjoy longer lifespans, etc.
Quote:Whenever some politician makes tiny, halting efforts at reform, strikes and protests paralyze the country. In recent months reformers such as Nicolas Sarkozy in France, Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels and Angela Merkel in Germany have been backtracking on their proposals and instead mouthing pious rhetoric about the need to "manage" globalization. E.U. Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson's efforts to liberalize trade have been consistently undercut. As a result of the European Union's unwillingness to reduce its massive farm subsidies, the Doha trade expansion round is dead.
May 3 06 12:31 PM
May 4 06 1:51 PM
May 4 06 2:36 PM
May 4 06 10:35 PM
May 5 06 9:59 AM
May 5 06 10:38 AM
May 5 06 10:54 AM
May 5 06 1:53 PM
Quote:Is it fair to demand that public defenders get paid on an "equal pay for equal work" basis in comparison to prosecuters?
Quote:In a system where there is a presumption of innocence, would it serve justice to give PD's no more heavy of a caseload than prosecutors?
Quote:What do you propose to do with a police officer was found to have planted evidence? And don't give me crap about how often it occurs. What I'm asking here is what would you do when it does occur?
Quote:What do you propose to do with a prosecutor who was found to have withheld evidence of innocence?
Quote:If a convict has exhausted ALL LEGAL APPEALS, but new evidence of innocence is subsequently uncovered before the execution, does that convict have the right not to be executed (same question they tried to get Alito to answer)?
Quote:Should the state compensate people who have been found innocent, but have already wasted a significant portion of their lives in jail? If so, how much?
Quote:What is your proposed punishment for non-violent drug possession?
May 5 06 4:34 PM
Quote:Witness to gang slaying shot dead in S.F. shopVictim, who was in a protection program, had been warned against returning to cityJaxon Van Derbeken, Chronicle Staff WritersFriday, May 5, 2006 The main witness in a San Francisco gang murder case was shot to death by masked men Thursday in what authorities and family members fear was an execution prompted by his cooperation with prosecutors.The victim, identified by relatives as Terrell Rollins, 22, was shot in the head at 10:15 a.m. at the City Auto Tech repair shop at 269 Bayshore Blvd. in the Bayview district.The district attorney's office put Rollins in a witness protection program and moved him outside San Francisco after he testified before a grand jury that indicted two men on murder charges in March, authorities said. Prosecutors and police told him not to come into the city.On Thursday, however, he apparently took his Chevrolet van to the shop in San Francisco for repairs, police said. Investigators believe someone spotted him on the busy thoroughfare and had him killed."That is why people don't come forward," said Michelle Daniels-Kyer, the mother of Rollins' half-sister. "Why would you come forward if you are going to die?"District Attorney Kamala Harris called the slaying "just horrific" but declined to speculate on a motive.However, Harris said, "I can't understand why (Rollins) would want to come back to a place were we all knew -- that he knew -- was a place where he would expect this type of outcome."The first and last rule in witness protection is, don't go back to your danger zone," Harris said.Rollins had just dropped off his van when three men wearing ski masks and hooded jackets confronted him and another man outside the shop, said Capt. Al Pardini of the Bayview police station.The two ran inside. Witnesses reported hearing as many as 10 shots in quick succession, possibly fired from two weapons.Rollins was shot in the head and died at the scene. The second man, whose name was not released, was wounded in the leg and was being treated at San Francisco General Hospital.The assailants fled in a white Cadillac with no rear license plate. The car was last seen heading north on Bayshore Boulevard.Community leaders expressed frustration at the level of violence and the possible targeting of someone who was willing to testify in a murder case."This is really crazy," said Joe Marshall, a city police commissioner and co-founder of the Omega Boys and Girls Club in the Bayview. "Of course this makes it more difficult for people thinking about coming forward. The question is, why will people come forward if this is going to happen to them?"He said the Police Commission would look at the city's efforts to protect witnesses at all levels. "We're going to see if the program is as tight as it can be, as tight as it needs to be," he said.Rollins grew up in the Bayview and had lived there for much of his life, and authorities said he had no gang connections or criminal record. He had, however, already survived one shooting, which started a string of events that authorities fear led to his death.Rollins was standing on the corner of Third Street and Kirkwood Avenue on Sept. 19 when two men drove up and sprayed 20-year-old gang member Arkelylius Collins with gunfire. One of the 30 bullets the two men fired hit Rollins, who authorities said had simply been a bystander.Collins died, and two suspected rival gang members, Daniel Dennard and Deonte Bennett, both 21, were indicted in March on murder charges. Both men are being held on $1 million bail.Rollins testified before the grand jury in the case, identifying Dennard and Bennett as the attackers. He said he had just come out of a convenience store when he saw a car roll up and the two men get out and open fire with rifles.Authorities said Rollins was the only witness to come forward. Police say witnesses are commonly afraid to help them solve gang-related killings, and authorities looked upon the indictments as a victory that could help them battle the rising homicide rate in the southeast part of the city.Harris called a press conference to announce the charges, and Police Chief Heather Fong called it "a great day."Harris would not speculate Thursday on whether the case would survive Rollins' killing. His grand jury testimony cannot be used against either defendant because the accused would be denied the right of cross-examination.A law enforcement source close to the case called the attack "a coordinated effort to kill this guy." The source, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, said authorities feared Rollins had been killed to keep him from testifying and as "retribution for his cooperating with authorities."Bennett's attorney, Joe O'Sullivan, said the shooting had nothing to do with his client."Mr. Bennett is entirely innocent," O'Sullivan said. "We would have loved to go to trial because he would have been acquitted."Dennard's attorney, Floyd Andrews, could not be reached for comment.Rollins was an avid basketball player. The injuries he suffered in the September shooting left him barely able to walk, though he had shown improvement recently, family members said.Prosecutors put him up in a residence in an undisclosed Bay Area city and provided him an armed escort so he could return to San Francisco once a week for medical treatment, authorities said. Otherwise, he was told not to come back to town.Harris said the location was "far, far away.""We have been taking him to doctor's appointments, we have been taking him everywhere he needed to go," she said. "The investigator involved is personally grieving -- he spent so much time with him."Rollins had a young son, relatives said, and he was having difficulty caring for the boy while living outside the Bayview.Members of his family came to the crime scene Thursday, many of them in tears. They recalled Rollins as quiet, loving man. His brother, they said, was slain the month after the shooting that left Rollins wounded and Collins dead."There should be more protection for people," said Daniels-Kyer, his half-sister's mother. "It shouldn't be like this."Police said authorities had done what they could to protect Rollins."He was just a good kid who unfortunately was a witness to a horrible crime," said Sgt. Mikail Ali of the gang task force. "He was taken care of. He was relocated. He was advised not to come back."We did our part to protect witnesses," Ali said.Fong expressed dismay upon learning that Rollins had been killed and acknowledged that protecting witnesses with strong ties to the city can be difficult. "That's the challenge," she said.Rollins' death was one of several attacks on witnesses in San Francisco cases who have cooperated with local and federal authorities since 2000.In 2002, a witness who had just made a sealed plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Ray Jimmerson Jr., 25, was killed on the street in the Western Addition in apparent retaliation for his testimony against gang members. A suspect in that case now faces federal charges of killing a witness.That same year, Gerald White, 37, was shot to death three days after San Francisco prosecutors summoned him to appear before a grand jury looking into the Jan. 18, 2002, killing of 37-year-old Perry Michael Bradstreet. Authorities fear that someone saw him going to testify before the grand jury.Dustin Thomas was shot to death in San Francisco on Jan. 4, 2001, six days after he testified in the slaying of his best friend. Thomas had refused offers to enter the witness protection program.In November 2000, Amir Anderson, 48, was shot to death in San Francisco after he encouraged his stepdaughter to testify against Montrell Vines, a gang member accused of attempted murder. The woman took the stand, and Vines was convicted.The slayings prompted San Francisco police to work with prosecutors to strengthen witness protection efforts.
May 5 06 5:28 PM
May 5 06 6:30 PM
Quote:Your answer to the Alito question reminds me a lot of Sam Alito's answer. He hemmed and hawed and shuffled, but in the end he would not commit to a straight up answer that an innocent person has the constitutional right not to be executed. Consider yourself in good company, my man.
Quote:And you'd only fire a DA who intentionally withheld evidence of innocence? That DA is a criminal. Where's your "tough on crime" attitude? Me, I'd release the defendant and put the DA in their jail cell for the exact length of time that the defendant would have been jailed for (after a fair trial where they'd get the fine services of the public defendant pool, of course).
Quote:But I do want to point out that for people who use public defenders, it IS their only option. Nobody chooses to use a public defender when they have the money to hire a lawyer. Under your system, a rich person being accused of a crime gets to hire the big guns. But a poor person is stuck with a vastly outgunned public defender. That's not justice.
Quote:As for the gangsters... when they find them, or considering the SFPD's 22% rate of solving homicides, I should say if they find them, they should get jail time. What else? I never once said anywhere that I favor alternatives for murderers. In fact, the great thing about taking the focus off victimless crimes is that it allows the cops to focus on important things, like raising that 22% figure a little higher.
May 5 06 9:55 PM
© 2017 Yuku. All rights reserved.