Fix The Debt is a bipartisan show, encouraged by our Democratic president in search of his Grand Bargain.
A handful of semi-civilized towns surrounded by madness:
FORT PIERCE, Fla. —A southwest Florida man was arrested Friday in Fort Pierce after he was firing a gun out the window of his SUV while driving along Interstate 95, authorities said.
St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office deputies said a 911 caller traveling south on I-95 reported seeing the driver of a Ford Bronco firing a gun out of the passenger side window. The caller then followed the SUV into Fort Pierce.
Fort Pierce police followed the SUV to a RaceTrac gas station, where officers took the driver, later identified as Ellis, into custody.
Police said they found a gun in the SUV.
According to the arrest report, Ellis told deputies he was on his way to visit his uncle in Merritt Island and “wanted to have some fun by firing his gun while he was fishing.” Ellis told detectives he was firing at paper targets.
Detectives said Ellis became very worried and asked if anyone was hurt. Detectives said he told them he hadn’t slept in four days and didn’t remember shooting out of his Bronco.
(h/t DUI Lawyer David Benowitz.)
Wow. Even George Will thinks it’s unhumane:
America, with 5 percent of the world’s population, has 25 percent of its prisoners. Mass incarceration, which means a perpetual crisis of prisoners re-entering society, has generated understanding of solitary confinement’s consequences when used as a long-term condition for an estimated 25,000 inmates in federal and state “supermax” prisons — and perhaps 80,000 others in isolation sections within regular prisons. Clearly, solitary confinement involves much more than the isolation of incorrigibly violent individuals for the protection of other inmates or prison personnel.
Federal law on torture prohibits conduct “specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering.” And “severe” physical pain is not limited to “excruciating or agonizing” pain, or pain “equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily functions, or even death.” The severe mental suffering from prolonged solitary confinement puts the confined at risk of brain impairment.
Supermax prisons isolate inmates from social contact. Often prisoners are in their cells, sometimes smaller than 8 by 12 feet, 23 hours a day, released only for a shower or exercise in a small fenced-in outdoor space. Isolation changes the way the brain works, often making individuals more impulsive, less able to control themselves. The mental pain of solitary confinement is crippling: Brain studies reveal durable impairments and abnormalities in individuals denied social interaction. Plainly put, prisoners often lose their minds.
When I first suggested this a couple of years ago, a lot of people thought I was cuckoo. But it seems like gun liability insurance is an idea whose time has finally come. And what’s not to like for politicians? After all, free market! Insurance donors! One of the points raised in this article is that insurance would not cover willful acts, but that’s not true in the case of a minor child. Lots of ways for the underwriters to fine tune it, too. (For instance, a willful act by a family member with known mental illness.) I hope this becomes reality, because so far, gun owners have rarely suffered any financial consequences for their carelessness or negligence:
Both sides in a nation sharply divided over guns seem to agree on at least one thing: a bigger role for the insurance industry in a heavily armed society. But just what that role should be, and whether insurers will choose to accept it, are much in dispute.
Lawmakers in at least half a dozen states, including California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania, have proposed legislation this year that would require gun owners to buy liability insurance — much as car owners are required to buy auto insurance. Doing so would give a financial incentive for safe behavior, they hope, as people with less dangerous weapons or safety locks could qualify for lower rates.
“I believe that if we get the private sector and insurance companies involved in gun safety, we can help prevent a number of gun tragedies every year,” said David P. Linsky, a Democratic state representative in Massachusetts who wants to require gun owners to buy insurance. He believes it will encourage more responsible behavior and therefore reduce accidental shootings. “Insurance companies are very good at evaluating risk factors and setting their premiums appropriately,” he added.
Groups representing gun owners oppose efforts to make insurance mandatory, arguing that law-abiding people should not be forced to buy insurance to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms. But some groups, including the National Rifle Association, endorse voluntary liability policies for their members. And as several states pass laws making it easier for people to carry concealed weapons and use them for self-defense, some gun groups are now selling policies to cover some of the legal costs stemming from self-defense shootings.
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We’re the designated human sacrifices, not them:
NEW YORK — A private market regulator refused to ban former MF Global chief Jon Corzine from trading with other people’s money Thursday, rejecting a motion brought before that body’s board of directors to do so.
The National Futures Association’s decision is a blow to a vocal group within the commodities trading world who — noting that Corzine has not been held accountable by the government for alleged crimes — wanted to see him publicly upbraided by his peers in the market.
Corzine was CEO of commodities broker MF Global in October 2011, when the firm collapsed, causing about $1 billion in losses to consumers whose money should have been safely guarded in separate accounts. In spite of congressional testimony accusing Corzine of breaking the law in the firm’s final weeks, he has not been charged with any crime and is rumored to be raising cash to start a commodities-focused hedge fund.
We spend two or three times that much on durable medical devices like canes and wheelchairs, in part because a heavily lobbied Congress forces Medicare to pay 25% to 75% more for this equipment than it would cost at Walmart.
But as Matt Yglaseis points out, Medicare for all would fix our problems.