A Few Crime Links, Easy To Post

Hey, I can’t complain.  My car got broken into a few years back (they took some valuables and made off with some empty luggage in the trunk).  A guy got shot not that far away, too, a year after that.  A single shot on a Sunday afternoon (a bit shocking, really), which was rumored to be part of a low-level drug-deal gone bad in a nearby neighborhood complex.  All in all, a pretty safe neighborhood, especially since then.

Via David Thompson-Chicago Murder Stats in one place.

Where not to go in San Francisco?

Say what you will about racial history in the U.S, and all the thorny problems that come with it.  Criminals, victims of crime, police officers and private citizens carry on.

Heather MacDonald: ‘The War On Cops’. C-Span interview with MacDonald on the book here.  She also points out that Compstat isn’t really going anywhere: ‘Prosecution Gets Smart:

Computational Criminology And Predictive Policing.

‘Computational criminology seeks to address criminological problems through the use of applied mathematics, computer science and criminology. Methods include algorithms, data mining, data structures and software development.’

Limited Resources + Potentially Imminent Risk/Harm + Repeat Offenders/Learned Skills + Violence + Lots Of Room For Error = Too Much Practical Upside To Not Adopt Additional Means Of Fighting Crime.

Via Marginal Revolution: ‘Neural Network Learns To Identify Criminals By Their Faces

Mildly To Marginally Related: American city-politics can be…pretty rough:

Why do people move to cities?  Well, there are a lot of reasons.

Walter Russell Mead has a series built upon the argument that the ‘blue’ progressive social model (building the Great Society) is defunct because America will have to adjust to new economic and global realities. In the [then] current post, he focuse[d] on the part of the model that creates and directs government agencies to try and alleviate inner-city poverty and its problems.

Making normative the more anarchic, transgressive and illegal, as some radical activist thought becomes mainstream

Repost-Hipster Romanticism? From The Atlantic Photo: ‘Adventures Of A Serial Trespasser’A Little More On 5pointz, Activism, And The Meaning Being Sought By Some

Milton Friedman Via Youtube: ‘Responsibility To The Poor’

Richard Epstein At Hoover-‘Progressively Bankrupt’

Full piece here.

‘It is quite clear that Illinois has passed the point of no return, even if Connecticut has not. But owing to the embedded political powers, little if anything can be done to salvage a situation that is careening toward disaster. Fortunately, the damage will be confined within the borders of the state unless the United States supplies an ill-advised bailout. That’s the beauty of our federalist system.’

-A link for Michael Lewis’ article about California politics, public pensions and Schwarzenegger’s time in office.

-Jim Powell At Forbes: ‘How Did Rich Connecticut Morph Into One Of America’s Worst Performing Economies?’

A Few Thoughts On Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest: “Why Blue Can’t Save The Inner Cities Part I”

David Harsanyi at Reason has more on the GM bailout.  Non-union employees pensions got raided and taxpayers foot the bill, so that Obama and the UAW can maintain power.

How did Detroit get here? Very comprehensive and easy to navigate.

The Woes Of Harrisburg-Boondogglin’ Away

From The City Journal: ‘The Lessons Of Harrisburg

It’s a little strange having spent many years growing-up near a place, and then hearing how badly it’s been managed:

‘A Pennsylvania newspaper once described Reed as a mayor who “never met a bond deal he didn’t like.” Give a politician the chance to pile up debt on favored projects without answering directly to voters, and no one should be surprised if he takes advantage of it. That’s why the history of state and local finance is filled with reform moments.’

Much of this transcends party politics and goes more to political power, bad management and collective fiddling…

As previously posted:

Full post here.

‘The Harrisburg School District, so impoverished that the state is helping it dig out of its financial and academic woes, has hit a mother lode of tax dollars, evidently due to several years of financial ineptitude.

In early October the district discovered it had nearly $12 million it didn’t know it had until someone started looking closely at the books.’

Perhaps that money will be put to better use than the incinerator and the Wild West museum boondoggle. Perhaps not.

Under new management again, Harrisburg might have a chance to not be as poorly run as Detroit.

Walter Russell Mead takes a look at similarly bankrupt Jefferson County, Alabama, where Birmingham is located:

‘Will the market still lend to cities after they’ve gone bankrupt?’

Promises made for public employees simply cannot be met in many cases.

Reason used Harrisburg as a model for fiscal failure.


As to my leanings:

It’s no surprise that Obama’s political and ideological allies are going to hold up California as a cultural/political model.  This lines up with a rather progressive vision of how society ought to be:  Dynamic, creative, tech driven, egalitarian/collectivist if not nearing planned models of equality.  Such a society has generous social programs, high taxes, and lots of environmental laws on the books.  Public sector unions are big and politically powerful and diversity for its own sake is often held as the highest ideal around.

At the end of the day, it’s a lot more to do with political ideology, money, and over-promising; and much less to do science, art, the next social program etc.

During the last election, a similar vision was sold to the broader electorate as the best way forward for America, for the ’middle-class,’ for the old democratic union base, for black folks, for minorities, for Northeastern democrats and the gentry liberal/multicultural elite in our cities, for the 60′s boomer idealists/NPR class/liberal youth vote in and around many universities and in the suburbs.

And from Michael Lewis’ piece in Vanity Fair, interviewing Vallejo, California mayor, it can get ugly:

“We’re all going to be rich,” he says. “We’re all going to live forever. All the forces in the state are lined up to preserve the status quo. To preserve the delusion. And here—this place—is where the reality hits.”

You can’t outrun that.

Related On This Site:  Walter Russell Mead takes a look at the blue model from the ground up in NYC to argue that it’s simply not working.  Check out his series at The American Interest.

Richard Epstein At Defining Ideas: ‘City Planners Run Amok’Virginia Postrel At Bloomberg: ‘How The Elites Built America’s Economic Wall’.

How much of a role does government have to play?:  Francis Fukuyama Interviews Peter Thiel-’A Conversation With Peter Thiel’

Dream big: Via Reason: ‘California’s Public Transportation Sinkhole’

A great city deserves great art extravaganzas…: L.A.’s New Public Art Piece ‘The Levitated Mass,’ Or As The American Interest Puts It: ‘A Moving Rock’

California’s anti-immigration, anti-union Democrat: Full video and background on Mickey Kaus here.

Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution’s Defining Ideas: ‘California’s Kafkaesque Rent Control Laws’

California Dreamers From The Atlantic-A Brief Review Of Kevin Starr’s History Of California

Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution: ‘“Oligarchs United“? Not So Fast.’

Full post here.

On that McCutcheon decision:

‘But the constant effort to broaden the definition of “corruption” so that it covers virtually all form of political activity has the same corrosive effect on the freedom of speech that is found in the fanciful communitarian objectives of land use and labor market regulation that has managed to gut traditional protections of economic liberties and private property.’

There’s upward social pressure upon liberalism from the further Left and its collectivist, majoritarian and groupthink tendencies on the way to pure democracy. This isn’t to say there isn’t plenty of populism, group-think and outrage in other quarters, but this particular pressure is likely to keep finding expression, perhaps as so represented on the losing end of that 5-4 opinion.

Related On This Site:   Big cities, especially New York, tend to over-regulate business, you can hope for efficient corruption: Richard Epstein At Defining Ideas: ‘City Planners Run Amok’Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution’s Defining Ideas: ‘California’s Kafkaesque Rent Control Laws’

Link From A Reader: ‘Richard Epstein Introduces Chicago’s Best Ideas To Students’

From Mark Litwak: ‘Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Public Domain’

Full post here.

Don’t go and make him your own just yet:

‘The case raises the issue of which elements of the Sherlock Holmes stories are in the public domain, and which may remain under the protection of copyright law. Copyright can sometimes, but not always, protect characters and plot. Recognition of copyright protection for fictional characters goes back to Judge Learned Hand, who suggested that characters might be protected, independent from the plot of a story. He wrote “It follows that the less developed the characters, the less they can be copyrighted; that is the penalty an author must bear for making them too indistinct.” So, while a writer cannot secure a monopoly on hard-boiled private eyes, one could protect a finely drawn character like Sam Spade.’

I’m kind of middle-of-the-road on the new BBC, Benedict Cumberbatch series.  Serials leave you hanging to induce your tuning-in next week.  Characters matter, and so does acting, to give you those little doorways to pass through into the story so that you may follow the plot.  Television is a visual medium, after all, and perhaps there’s a larger American viewership and some young people who need a re-introduction.

Personally, I’m hoping for greater fidelity to the stories with a touch of real evil in the air.  Holmes is playing a kind of chess, with serious consequences.  He’s brilliant and formidable and what he does gritty and dangerous.  I like a grim realism and clear-eyed gaze cast upon human affairs along with the thrill of the hunt.

Don’t go entirely hip, metrosexual, and prime-time-crime if you’re able.  The reasoning is the thing, and that must be hard to deliver to a wide audience and translate from the page.

by Colin Angus Mackay

“I must take the view, your Grace, that when a man embarks upon a crime, he is morally guilty of any other crime which may spring from it.”

-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A discussion of deductive and inductive reasoning here, as it might relate to solving crimes (which is highly dramatized in our culture, perhaps partly due to Holmes).

Strange Maps has this.

221B Baker Street page here.

Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution: ‘Obamacare’s Death Spiral’

Full piece here.

Libertarian law/economics thinker Richard Epstein has been prescient on the law’s challenges and likely outcomes.

He finishes with:

‘Politically, it seems clear that the American public will not tolerate yet another round of healthcare reforms that cannot shoot straight. The real question is whether the Democrats in Congress will come to their senses and realize that Obamacare is DOA. It is possible to think of all sorts of mid-level fixes that might moderate the damages, but none has a prayer of success so long as this president remains in office. Deregulation and tax cuts are dirty words to Obama, but they are the only source of relief to a nation. The ACA has already done enough harm. The time to start over is now.’

Hopefully some changes can be made before the employer mandate, already delayed, kicks in.

How our politics looks usually depends on where you stand, but it’s been clear the moral arguments for collective action, health-care-as-a-right, and redistribution of wealth have driving this legislation from the get-go.  Some folks are as close as they ever have been towards realizing some sort of workable nationalized and/or socialized medicine.

The fact that they’ve designed and/or supported such an impossible, disruptive, and ambitious pieces of legislation won’t ever awaken some true-believers.

The rest of us have to figure out what to do, and fast.

Epstein on Obamacare’s Moral Blindness, the Obamacare Quagmire, and Watching Obamacare Unravel.

Still Looking For Alternatives-Charlie Martin At PJ Media: ‘Obamacare vs. Arithmetic’

Avik Roy At Forbes: ‘Democrats’ New Argument: It’s A Good Thing That Obamacare Doubles Individual Health Insurance Premiums’Megan McArdle At Bloomberg: ‘Health-Care Costs Are Driven By Technology, Not Presidents’

Related On This Site:    From The New England Journal Of Medicine Via CATO: ‘The Constitutionality of the Individual Mandate’From If-Then Knots: Health Care Is Not A Right…But Then Neither Is Property?… From The New Yorker: Atul Gawande On Health Care-”The Cost Conundrum”Sally Pipes At Forbes: ‘A Plan That Leads Health Care To Nowhere’Peter Suderman At The WSJ: ‘Obamacare And The Medicaid Mess’From AEI: ‘Study: ‘Obama Healthcare Reform Raising Costs, Forcing Workers Out Of Existing Plans’

Joel Kotkin Via Youtube: ‘Illinois Is In A Competition’


As Kotkin highlights, there’s the service economy, and then there’s the high-end economy they’re serving, with less and less in-between.  More taxation is an attractive option and the path of least resistance for many city politicians.  He argues that working and/or middle management and/or middle income jobs are hard to find, and especially hard to find outside of public service and government.  Once that economy goes away, so goes the heart and soul of your city (see Detroit).  He argues that Chicago has got to get competitive for business again.

I suspect many libertarians and conservatives will argue that the liberal focus on the arts, culture, equality, education under the banner of rights-based liberty is being done post-mortem in many cases.  It won’t bring back the jobs and opportunity that made the city hum, and beneath those liberal ideals, where the sausage is made, are politicians fighting for less and less pie, voting for higher property taxes, cronyism, unions, and union protectionism etc.  Like New York nearly did in the 70’s, or like Harrisburg did recently, borrowing itself into bankruptcy, cities can end up in tough times.  The liberal/progressive model doesn’t help.

The city that gave us the Chicago School is facing some real challenges as is most of the rust belt.

Of course, I think it’s fair to say that not everyone has the analytical/quantitative reasoning ability and corresponding education to succeed in the developing tech marketplace and explosion of biotech and the sciences either, even if the U.S. educational system is able to re-prioritize away from its old ways (both ideological and practical) and make us more competitive again.

Walter Russell Mead takes a look at the blue model from the ground up in NYC.

Related On This Site: The current administration can’t seem to imagine a problem that doesn’t involve a government solution: How Would Obama Respond To Milton Friedman’s Four Ways To Spend Money?From Bloomberg.Com: Nancy Pelosi Says “Bankruptcy Is Not An Option”

Milton Friedman Via Youtube: ‘Responsibility To The Poor’A Few Thoughts On Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest: “Why Blue Can’t Save The Inner Cities Part I”

How to end up in a conservative position Repost-Two Sunday Quotations By Albert Jay Nock in ‘Anarchist’s Progress’…when there is socialism vs authoritarianism and fascism all around you:A Few Quotations From F.A. Hayek’s: ‘Why I Am Not A Conservative’

Cities should be magnets for creativity and culture? –From The Atlantic: Richard Florida On The Decline Of The Blue-Collar ManFrom Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit’

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