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"Random Draconianism" and the Problem with Prison

Have you thought about the problems with our prison system? I have. And so has Mark Kleiman, a professor at UCLA's public policy school.

Kleiman's point is that the way we punish people now—imposing inconsistent, expensive, and harsh prison sentences—is a profligate waste of money and doesn't create the right incentive structure to actually reduce crime. His recent interview with ReasonTV is a good distillation of his excellent book, When Brute Force Fails. If you're remotely interested in this issue, the video below is well worth the seven minutes.


[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-lDr3DQnHo

I agree with him about just about everything, but I have one bone to pick. Just because voters think they want vengeance, that doesn't mean it's what's good for them. There are all sorts of emotional and physical impulses (the desire to fight at a bar, or just grab an attractive person of the opposite sex, or eat potato chips, or smoke cigarettes) that we recognize we're better off suppressing. And there's evidence that vengeance is similar. Victims of crime often seem to get a more meaningful resolution from apologies, and cultivating forgiveness lowers blood pressure and greatly reduces the risk of heart disease.

And that's to say nothing of the philosophical problems with retributive justice. Even if victims really do want vengeance, that doesn't mean it's moral.

Via Boing Boing

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via The Hill / Twitter

President Trump's appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland was a mixed bag.

The theme of the event was climate change, but Trump chose to use his 30 minutes of speaking time to brag about the "spectacular" U.S. economy and encouraged world leaders to invest in America.

He didn't mention climate change once.

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The Planet
via David Leavitt / Twitter and RealTargetTori / Twitter

Last Friday, GOOD reported on an infuriating incident that went down at a Massachusetts Target.

A Target manager who's come to be known as "Target Tori," was harassed by Twitter troll David Leavitt for not selling him an $89 Oral-B Pro 5000 toothbrush for a penny.

He describes himself as a "multimedia journalist who has worked for CBS, AXS, Yahoo, and others."

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Communities

The Australian bushfires have claimed 27 human lives, an estimated 1 billion animals are feared dead, and thousands of properties have been completely decimated.

The fires were caused by extreme heat and dryness, the result of 2019 being the country's hottest year on record, with average temperatures 1.52C above the 1961-1990 average.

The area hit hardest by the fires, New South Wales, also had its hottest year on record, with temperatures rising 1.95C above average.

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The Planet