Saturday Late Night News and Open Thread

Things I'm reading:

  • NY Times: States ratcheting up fear of driving while taking prescription medication, and looking for ways to prosecute more cases. "Drug recognition experts" (cops who go to school to learn what a person who is impaired by pharmaceuticals acts like and then claim to be an expert at trial) are all the rage.
  • NY Times: The Supreme Court under Chief Justice Roberts is the most conservative in decades according to an analysis that used four sets of political science data.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    A problem nevertheless (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Lora on Sun Jul 25, 2010 at 10:34:31 AM EST
    From the linked NYT article about driving and prescription drugs:

    "How do we balance between people who legitimately need their prescriptions and protecting the public?" said Mark Neil, senior lawyer at the National Traffic Law Center, which works with prosecutors. "It becomes a very delicate balance."

    I, for one, don't want to be killed by someone who is blotto on meds.  Nor do I want my daughter, husband, family, or other innocent folks killed.

    I do not support emotional draconian laws, but I am looking for that delicate balance.

    If we as a nation invested heavily in mass transportation it would be less of a problem, no?  You could have a public service campaign to leave the car home if you are a user of meds that can make you impaired.

    There are warning lables on a lot of meds that tell patients not to drive while using them.  That could possibly be a basis for a law if doses and times and guidelines are set.

    If you need meds, then you take them.  If the meds impair you, you should not drive.  Can we agree on that much?

    Response to Lora: (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by DocBradd on Sun Jul 25, 2010 at 01:04:47 PM EST
    I don't think that anyone is disagreeing with you that folks taking meds that impair their ability to function shouldn't drive or operate dangerous machinery. I am a psychologist, and except in the most obvious instances, it is very difficult for a professional to determine that someone is impaired because of some drug they are taking. The idea that a policeman will be treated as an expert is frightening. If someone has been in an accident, been shaken up, shows "impairment", how do you decide that the person is impaired because of some prescription drug he/she was taking, or because of the effects of the accident. There is simply no way to make that judgment, but it appears that inadequately trained police are now going to try to make that determination.

    This just increases the power that we give to policemen, it doesn't increase your safety one bit - in fact it may decrease your safety if folks who need medication to function well try to stop taking them when driving.

    Where will defense expert witnesses come from? (none / 0) (#12)
    by Yes2Truth on Sun Jul 25, 2010 at 01:18:24 PM EST

    Remember, "crisis = opportunity".  You may have already won!

    old adage (none / 0) (#14)
    by diogenes on Sun Jul 25, 2010 at 01:40:38 PM EST
    A conservative is a liberal who's been mugged.  If one of you is injured in a crash caused by a stoned person, you might also encourage better ways to identify impaired drivers and get them off the roads.

    "Liberals and Conservatives?" (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by hackenbush on Sun Jul 25, 2010 at 02:35:38 PM EST
    A conservative is a liberal who's been mugged.

    I beg to differ -- you seem to be under the mistaken impression that liberals are "soft on crime" and conservatives are somehow not. Liberals tend to be for rehabilitation programs and against mandatory incarceration and minimum sentences for drug offenders, as those have been shown to be more effective policies in preventing further crime than the "lock them up and throw away the key" method that locks non-violent offenders for substance-abuse offenses.

    I usually go with "a conservative is liberal who decided to become selfish". I know plenty of liberals who have been mugged, and plenty of conservatives who haven't been.

    (You also have to make the distinction between social and fiscal liberals and conservatives. I had a very good friend who was a social liberal but a fiscal conservative...)


    Social liberal/fiscal conservative (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by waldenpond on Sun Jul 25, 2010 at 03:33:46 PM EST
    really doesn't exist.  The liberal goal of equality through access can not be achieved with conservative fiscal policy of tax cuts and de-regulation.  A fiscal liberal uses tax/economic policy to influence the economy (progressive tax policy is a good example) to raise standards of living for all.

    If you are thinking of a conservative that isn't obsessed with other people crotches, in that they support choice and don't want to enact anti-gay legislation, that is merely a conservative with a libertarian streak not a social liberal at all.


    see NY times supreme court article (none / 0) (#20)
    by diogenes on Sun Jul 25, 2010 at 06:31:26 PM EST
    They define "conservative" supreme court decisions as favoring the prosecution--even when prosecution leads to treatment via diversion whereas lack of conviction leads to ongoing drug use.

    Suggested something else (none / 0) (#22)
    by Lora on Mon Jul 26, 2010 at 03:11:14 PM EST
    I would not want policement to be the deciders of prescription drug impairment.

    I'm suggesting that certain meds taken within a certain time frame should make driving prohibitive.

    If you are taking Med X at a minimum dose Y, you must wait Z hours before getting behind the wheel.

    If you refuse, you are breaking the law.

    I don't want people to stop taking meds.  We need better solutions:  mass transportation, substitute meds for daytime use, car pooling, free rides?

    Not cops determining impairment of something they don't know about.  There is the obvious, though.  If they pull a car over and the driver can barely keep his or her eyes open, that ought to count for something!


    Gov Brewers Advisors: Private Prison Lobbyists (none / 0) (#1)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 25, 2010 at 01:48:33 AM EST
    ... a CBS 5 investigation revealed that there is one business that could gain from the implementation of SB 1070 and similar immigration measures. The private prison industry houses illegal immigrant detainees for the federal government. Those companies could gain contracts with state and local agencies to house illegal immigrants arrested for state violations.

    Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA, holds the federal contract to house detainees in Arizona. The company bills $11 million per month. CBS 5 Investigates has learned that two of Brewer's top advisers have connections to CCA.

    Paul Senseman is the governor's deputy chief of staff. He is also a former lobbyist for CCA. His wife is listed as a current lobbyist for the company.

    Chuck Coughlin is one of the governor's policy advisers and her campaign chairman. Coughlin's company, HighGround Public Affairs Consultants, currently lobbies for CCA.


    Human harvesting for big bucks, is the ugly underbelly of AZ law

    Good find... (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by kdog on Sun Jul 25, 2010 at 09:50:46 AM EST
    so CCA is the big winner...go figure!

    I thought part of the beef of the citizenry was welfare queening...if somebody could point out a bigger welfare queen than CCA I'd love to see it.


    There's a simple way to stop this (none / 0) (#2)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jul 25, 2010 at 07:12:38 AM EST
    Close the border.

    Heh (none / 0) (#3)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Jul 25, 2010 at 08:13:00 AM EST
    Yah, simple.

    No (none / 0) (#7)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 25, 2010 at 10:55:37 AM EST
    Way too complex, as immigrants are not the problem. The simple solution is to void the law, and jail Brewer and her ring on a RICO type indictment.

    Squeaky (none / 0) (#8)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jul 25, 2010 at 12:03:08 PM EST
    you are delusional. Take away the illegals and there is no problems.

    And if you can' recognize that, what can you recognize..

    Of course down town NYC is a rad different that southern Arizona.


    There is no problems.. (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by jondee on Sun Jul 25, 2010 at 03:36:04 PM EST
    and pay no attention to those jobs going to China, India and Mexico behind the curtain..

    The tribulations of American workers is all them greaser's - and their liberal allies - fault.

    Nice when all the worlds problems can be addressed and solved through a few key ideas contained in the sound bites found on right wing talk radio.



    Take away the employers (none / 0) (#9)
    by Lora on Sun Jul 25, 2010 at 12:40:03 PM EST
    who hire "illegals" and there is no problem.  I say, go to the source!

    (I'm not really sure that this is the answer either as I think it would negatively impact our floundering economy as well as hurt people who are trying to buy basic food and clothing.  Plus, there is the human element of severly impacting the livelihoods and families of those very same "illegals."  Especially punishing for the children and their mothers.  Ya know???)


    OK, also get the employers. (none / 0) (#13)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jul 25, 2010 at 01:30:03 PM EST
    And there is surely a human element in the American citizens and those here legally losing their jobs to illegals.

    Ya know?


    Ok.. (none / 0) (#18)
    by jondee on Sun Jul 25, 2010 at 03:44:38 PM EST
    as an after thought..maybe those who cling to the idea of completely unregulated markets the way jihadists cling to a their fundamentalism, MIGHT have something to do with all this..It's something we'll have to look into later; after we give our all to get Bush/Palin (or the newest Tea Party version of David Duke) elected.

    And what jobs would those be (none / 0) (#21)
    by nycstray on Sun Jul 25, 2010 at 07:01:32 PM EST
    that Americans are losing?

    O could instruct H C that henceforth, US foreign.. (none / 0) (#19)
    by Yes2Truth on Sun Jul 25, 2010 at 04:51:35 PM EST

    policy for Latin America will include some direct aid plus pressure for their oligarchs to raise the minimum wage and begin an aggressive "full employment" policy, combined with a required passport to enter the U.S. ---sort of like our own pre-9/11 offer to the Afghans:  "accept a carpet of gold or a carpet of bombs".  

    I'm not recommending that we actually threaten to literally destroy Latin America, just that it's time for their governments to take immediate measures to drastically reduce their dependency on illegals in this country who send a huge amount of money back home, and THEREBY protecting the rich from having to pay taxes to fund their government.

    Then, we'd start to see MSM crowing about how nice it is to NOT have to force middle America to bear the burdens of OVERpopulation costs.


    so me calling raygun-falwell (none / 0) (#4)
    by seabos84 on Sun Jul 25, 2010 at 09:18:29 AM EST
    Christo-FASCISTS since, at least, I was 20 in 1980, since I had a 2400? baud modem in 1991 -

    YAWN - the fascists can find it? AND, attach it to my name? (Robert Murphy) and put me on a list for their concentration camps? Like Oh My Gawd!

    So people could find all the statements I've mad about Democratic "Leaders" being politically pathetic sacks of crap on a good day, and sell outs on most days - those statements could be used against me by lying fascists!? Like Oh My Gawd!

    In fact, if your political sophistication is moderately above 'Mayberry RFD' with Sheriff Andy & Barney Fife, shouldn't you expect that lying fascists would lie?

    Maybe you'd want to take the next step and STOP supporting with money, with time and with votes the political pathetics on the Democratic side who disgrace the name of "leader" by allowing lying fascists to get away with lying?

    Beware the Tubes! You'll Get The Shirley-Acorn treatment!


    Lawyer, Po Po, jail industry stimulus Acts (none / 0) (#10)
    by Yes2Truth on Sun Jul 25, 2010 at 12:49:43 PM EST

    Since laws against driving while impaired already exist, we know that new, similar laws will have almost no effect as far as preventing more anecdotes like those described in the NYT.

    What IS clear is that special interest groups will definitely benefit when more criminal laws are enacted...and the special interest groups also include folks like "LAURA" who will no doubt feel better knowing that more cops will have to be hired, trained, and paid...so that (other, traditional) crimes can be policed.

    A right-wing state senator clued me in a long time ago about how NO law is passed unless there's money to made as a consequence of its enactment and enforcement.

    Sleep well, paranoids.