Category Archives: Crime

Voter Fraud: North Carolina

Voter Fraud

For the record, I am FOR voter ID.  To think otherwise is nothing more than pure political gamesmanship.  In today’s world, to obtain a photo ID is next to trivial.

With that said, I acknowledge that voter fraud is rare.

Ladies and gentleman, North Carolina:

Interesting Thought Experiment Combined With Legal Process

scales of justice

So, this story is interesting:

WASHINGTON — Worried the Internal Revenue Service might target you for an audit? You probably should be if you own a small business in one of the wealthy suburbs of Los Angeles.

You might also be wary if you’re a small-business owner in one of dozens of communities near San Francisco, Houston, Atlanta or the District of Columbia.

A new study by the National Taxpayer Advocate used confidential IRS data to show large clusters of potential tax cheats in these five metropolitan areas. The IRS uses the information to target taxpayers for audits.

The taxpayer advocate, Nina Olsen, runs an independent office within the IRS. She got access to the data as part of an effort to learn more about why some taxpayers are more likely to cheat than others.

The study also looked at tax compliance in different industries, and found that people who own construction companies or real estate rental firms may be more likely to fudge their taxes than business owners in other fields.

This whole concept resonates with me.  In my line of work I’m pretty aggressive in trying to sift through data to find root causes and trends.  I get this idea.  On the other hand, is it legal?  Can certain citizens face increased scrutiny, based only on what might be arbitrary profiling?

What is the difference between profiling wealthy citizens in certain industries that live in certain regions with, say, profiling certain people by age, race, nationality and religion?

Or, for a more pertinent subject, profiling citizens in order to reduce gun violence?

Liberals, Charity And Consistency – Example 2,482,893

Biden Laughing

So, Obama released his 2012 tax filing Friday.  Guess what?

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama reported an adjusted gross income of $608,611 for 2012 and paid an 18.4 percent income tax rate.

Un-freaken-believable!

Anyway, the best part is yet to come:

[O]n June 25 of last year, the Bidens gave ‘Clothing, Boots, Kitchenware, Glassware’ totaling $400 to Goodwill,” the report notes. “Earlier, on May 16, the Bidens gave ‘Furniture and Exercise Equipment’ valued at $1,100 to the Ministry of Caring. And on May 27 of last year, the Bidens gave ‘Bicycles, Toys, Glasses, Pottery, Kitchenware’ valued at $500 to the same Goodwill.

Blink.  Blink.

This piece of garbage, “paying your taxes is patriotic”, next in line to be leader of the free world, donated less than 2% of his income to charity, and of THAT amount, 25% of it was in the form of unwanted shit laying around the house.

Seriously, who itemizes bikes, toys, glasses — GLASSES?!?!?!, pottery and kitchenware when they drop-off at the Goodwill?

Are you kidding me?

But hey, maybe I should go easy on the guy, after all, how is expected to survive collecting $29,761 in Social Security payments.

I would say that Biden is following my theory that the reason liberals are so tight in their personal charity is that they view taxation as charity.  However, a Biden and The Barckness Monster prove, they don’t even like paying taxes at a rate equal to that of Buffet’s secretary!

When Holding A Super Majority Yields Bad Legislation

elephant on a limb

North Carolina has gone decidedly red in recent years.  After voting for Obama in 2008 along with a democrat for governor and senator we have gone red; very red.  In 2010, however, that all changed.  Republicans won majorities in both the house and the senate.  In fact, it was the first time that had been the case since the Civil War ended.

In 2012 the trend continued.  North Carolina was the only battle ground state to switch and go for Romney.  The governor’s race was, in essence, a rematch between the candidate from the 2008 election.  Except the sitting governor chose not to run and instead we saw her Lt. Governor get trampled.  In the state house?  The republicans not only held serve but they extended their majority.  To the point that they hold a veto proof majority.  In fact, they are so in the majority that the republicans are able to submit constitutional amendments to popular vote without even one democrat agreeing.

I think this level of dominance is dangerous.  Dangerous in the same way that I thought the democrats held control of the federal powers in 2008.

So far, the majority has taken to a little political payback.  The democrats, predictably, have squealed, but to be very fair, the fact that they are not getting their way after more than 100 years of uninterrupted control is a bit of righteous karma.

As I feared the republicans are using their muscle in a way and manner that would be checked with a more balanced government:

Resurrecting last session’s bruising battle over the death penalty in North Carolina, a Republican state senator on Wednesday filed a bill to wipe all traces of the Racial Justice Act off the books.

The 2009 law allowed statistics compiled statewide to be used to prove racial bias in the prosecution, jury selection or sentencing in capital cases.

Now, in full disclosure, if I could have the “Eye of God” and be certain that the guilt or innocence of an individual could be ascertained with certainty, I have no problem with the death penalty for certain crimes.  However, we do not possess this “Eye of God” certainty and, in fact, I have no more faith in the government “getting it right” when determining said innocence or guilt, or the sentence associated with that verdict, than I do with that government managing health care, or nutritional needs, or education.

In short, I don’t trust government all that much at all.

So when people tell me that the poor and minorities are subject to sentences of the death penalty in meaningful volumes, I advocate creating a law that has the ability to not change the verdict, but change the sentence from death to life in prison.

And the republicans are changing that.

And it’s wrong.

 

The Gun Debate Just Got Interesting

An big city sheriff in liberal Wisconsin just upped the ante in the gun debate:

The sheriff’s advice is sure to flame the debate on both sides.  To be sure, it already has:

Jodie Tabak, Mayor Tom Barrett’s spokeswoman, released this statement:

“Apparently, Sheriff David Clarke is auditioning for the next Dirty Harry movie.”

And there’s more:

Jeri Bonavia, executive director of Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort, said she hears “over and over” from most law enforcement officials that the community should work to “take more guns off the streets, not add more.”

“What (Clarke’s) talking about is this amped up version of vigilantism,” Bonavia said. “I don’t know what his motivations are for doing this. But I do know what he’s calling for is dangerous and irresponsible and he should be out there saying this is a mistake.”

However, the sheriff is not without his supporters:

Asked about Clarke’s assessment of 911, James Fendry, director of the Wisconsin Pro Gun Movement, said, “It’s never been a great option (calling 911). Unless you can take care of yourself, you’re kind of SOL.”

Fendry, a former police officer, said that he tells citizens, “You’re not armed to be law enforcement. You’re armed to protect your own life and the lives of your family until law enforcement arrives. Do not go on search and destroy missions in your home.”

I tend to agree with the folks who are calling on Clarke to show restraint.  The debate is amped up as it is; folks are already looking for any and all reasons to buy a gun.  Heck, in many cases they’re looking for reason NOT to buy a gun.  And when a cop comes out and says that the white hats can’t get there in time; well, it only serves to embolden the guys in the black hats.

County Executive Chris Abele said Clarke is sending the wrong message.

“I think it’s irresponsible and it doesn’t help public safety to tell the public there’s some kind of imminent danger that they need to go buy guns,” Abele said. “Essentially, you’ve got a (public service announcement) that’s recommending people need to go buy guns because they can’t rely on the response they’ll get from 911. I’m here to tell you, we have phenomenal police departments.”

Roy Felber, president of the Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, said the ad sounded to him like a call to vigilantism.

“That doesn’t sound smart,” Felber said. “That’s why society has police officers.”

One the main and best deterrents to crime is that the cops are on the way and that they WILL catch you.  To break that seal, to allow even a hint of doubt tears down that curtain and what’s behind, may or may not be, ugly.

United States Wire Tapping

I have a strong distrust of government over reach.  I think that we often times allow out government to go far too far in what we think are noble intentions.  But I have to admit that I am at a loss in this area.

Consider, an American citizen talking to another American citizen.  Clearly the government would be required to obtain a warrant.  However, what legal requirements would be needed in order for the government to listen to the communications of a foreign operative and ANOTHER foreign operative outside the US borders?

Probably none.

But now consider this.  A foreign terror suspect, on foreign soil.  Can we listen to his communications?  And what if those communications are between him and an American citizen?

This is what we’re talking about:

The FISA Amendments Act, (.pdf) which was expiring Friday at midnight, allows the government to electronically eavesdrop on Americans’ phone calls and e-mails without a probable-cause warrant so long as one of the parties to the communication is believed outside the United States. The communications may be intercepted “to acquire foreign intelligence information.”

I happen to agree with Obama’s administration on this one.  If we’re targeting a foreign suspect and happen to listen to American citizens, I don’t think that we have a legal requirement to obtain a warrant.  However, if we just listen to American citizens in the hopes of catching them talking to terrorists…..different story.

An Argument In Favor Of Guns

There has been tons, I mean TONS, of reporting lately on the negative aspects of an armed citizen.  Let us not forget the benefits of said armed citizens:

Henderson, N.C. — Police are investigating a fatal shooting Sunday at a Henderson home that appeared to result from a home invasion.

Deyon Durham, 24, of 279 Faulkner St., was found shot to death at 1221 Montgomery St. shortly after 7 a.m., police said.

The initial investigation suggests that Durham was breaking and entering at the home when the homeowner, whose name was not released, shot him.

I understand that the scene in Henderson remains a tragedy; a young man in the prime of his life has perished.  But the home of an innocent citizen has been defended.

And, just like in the face of numerous other tragedies around the country, there is a back story that may have prevented the tragedy.  In this case, how was Mr. Durham free in society?

Durham had convictions, starting in 2005, for indecent liberties with a minor, sexual battery, breaking and entering vehicles, larceny and failure to register as a sex offender, according to state Division of Adult Correction records.

In parallel to those tragedies that are gathering more media attention across America, this one could have been prevented by methods other than taking guns out of legal citizen’s hands.  Perhaps, for example, by locking Mr. Durham up.

Crime: Socio-Economic vs IQ – The Bell Curve

It’s here, the last chapter comparison between the impact of the socioeconomic status of the family or the mother of the children and the IQ of the same.

I last posted on crime back in late July and then I mentioned:

When I picked up the book I was looking for books on “How to Raise Chickens” as a result of a post of mine some time back.  I saw the book on the shelves and was taken by the title.  I bought it and it was immediately relegated to my stack.  Some time later, Boortz was speaking about the author and I decided I better begin the book.  At this time I was still unaware of the controversy of the book.  Then I posted on it.  I was then made aware of the controversy.

As I mentioned then, I wasn’t aware of the massive controversy of the book.  I simply saw it on the shelf, bought it and then heard it referenced on the radio.  I started reading it and then posted on it.  Only later did I learn of that controversy.  And when I actually hit the big chapter, chapter 13, I understood why.

Now, as then, I won’t go further than chapter 12 [11 actually, I don’t find 12 interesting] and for the same reasons.  However, the controversy that surrounds the later sections of the book shouldn’t diminish the value that the first chapters deliver.

Now.  Crime.

The authors look to quantify crime in two ways:

  1. Asking if the man ever was engaged in criminal activity.
  2. Reporting if the man was interviewed in a correctional facility.

As they point out, both have weaknesses.  The self-reporting may not be accurate but does have the upside of capturing uncaught criminal activity.  The other has valid crime involvement but doesn’t capture criminals who haven’t been caught.  The “smart” ones.

The results are below:

And then:

In both cases, when controlling for other factors, the SES status of the family fades and becomes meaningless.  In fact, as SES increases so to does the rate of self reported crime.  And in both cases, a man possessing a low IQ is at significant risk for each category.

 

Crime: SES Impact – The Bell Curve

This post speaks to the eleventh chapter in the book, “The Bell Curve.”  It is here that the authors take a look at the impact of SES on crime and criminality in the NLSY study.  Again, in the early chapters of the book, the authors only look at white members of the NLSY.  Data pulled for the criminality is further restricted to men.  The data is presented below.

Data on crime can be hard to obtain.  Many times an individual can be “successful” at crime and not be caught.  This would reduce the instance of crime and present a challenge in reporting group patterns.  In an attempt to overcome this shortcoming, the book uses two classifications:

  1. Self reported crime
  2. Being interviewed in a correctional facility

The impact of SES on the first, self-reported crime is shown here:

While the impact of the socioeconomic status of the parents of the men interviewed is low, less than 4 points, it’s interesting to note that the trend is reversed from what we might expect.  The lack of significant SES impact follows as demonstrated below.

Here it shows that SES plays an even smaller role in determining criminality.

As I mentioned, this is the 11th chapter in the book.  Chapter 12 deals with civility and citizenship.  After reading the chapter, I was left with the feeling that I was reading a filler, one more chapter to fill a book.  As with crime before it, the data presented was sparse and, in my opinion, unfulfilling compared to the earlier chapters and data.

Then comes Chapter 13.

When I picked up the book I was looking for books on “How to Raise Chickens” as a result of a post of mine some time back.  I saw the book on the shelves and was taken by the title.  I bought it and it was immediately relegated to my stack.  Some time later, Boortz was speaking about the author and I decided I better begin the book.  At this time I was still unaware of the controversy of the book.  Then I posted on it.  I was then made aware of the controversy.

It’s chapter 13 where that controversy begins.  It’s here that the authors go into the subject of racial disparities, if they exist, between races.  In the book, the  authors explicitly put pen to  paper and ask, rhetorically for us, why should we explore this topic, one so painful and emotional?  They gave an answer, however, I was struck by the question.

As a result, I won’t go there.

Much of the talk I talk here at TarHeel is, or may be, emotional.  But it’s easy political kinda stuff.  Shit we can all agree is fun or enjoyable to debate.  But race is different.  I have neither the expertise, the knowledge or the education to be able to talk about this subject with anything resembling expertise.  And while I think it’s important to talk about the painful experiences of race, I feel it’s CRITICAL to bring an expert’s touch to the subject of race and IQ.

I don’t have that expertise.

With that said, I understand the controversy surrounding the book.  It IS controversial.  However, I need to point out that the first 13 chapters didn’t discuss race even one time.  And as a I read those first 12 chapters, I was struck by the straight forward and powerful arguments presented.

The next series of posts on this book will go back to Chapter 1 and revisit each until we get to the 11th chapter again.  At that point, I’ll stop.

Raced Based Violence

Remember when the nation went nuts after a Latino white man profiled another man child based on the color of his skin and the fact that he was wearing a hoodie?

I’m waiting for the same outrage when a black kid wearing a hoodie profiled a Latino man wearing a purple shirt and shot and killed that man’s one year old child.

Although the victim’s father was not a gang member, he may have been mistaken for one because he was wearing a purple T-shirt, witnesses and area residents said.

Purple had become a dangerous color since last summer, when the area experienced a number of shootings involving a black gang known as Fudgetown and a rival Latino gang, called Barrio Grape Street, which uses the color purple.

Based on his race and clothing, one man’s child is dead.

Outrage?