opinions, everybody's got one...
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Racial Incarceration Statistics, and the Race to Action
A recent article in the Wilmington News Journal by astute, Al Mascitti, discusses a study regarding differential incarceration rates in Delaware (PDF) amongst the races. I have read the study, and found it to be interesting and worthy of follow-up.
What is in the report on the study which seems to have been overlooked, is that we don't yet know the cause of the problem. The report recommends, and rightly so, that we should follow up with a study to see how the Truth In Sentencing Guidelines are being applied to defendants, and to see how defendants' previous criminal records fit into the picture.
Most of the commentary in the report itself, and that quoted by Mr. Mascitti from other speakers, would seem to have us draw unsubstantiated conclusions and run off and take some other action (although perhaps I misunderstand the suggestion).
I agree that the data suggests a problem and that we should work energetically to evaluate it further. It would be irresponsible and ineffective however, to take some other sort of direct action when we don't yet even know specifically what the problem is that we are attempting to fix.
UPDATE - In this Sunday's News Journal the author of the report, Thomas P. Eichler, speaks out on the topic. I think his comments are reasonable and on point, even if not empirically supported. What are your thoughts?
Elvis and the Law
As a big Elvis Presley fan, it's hard to pass up on posting a story about an Elvis memorabilia law suit. According to a Yahoo News story, a New York man is being sued for submitting an eBay bid on a car formerly owned by the King and then refusing to pay, claiming that his daughter submitted the bid by accident.
The suit, which was filed in a Philadelphia District Court, is asking for the price of the bid ($245,000) plus damages of $150,000. However, the seller has agreed to settle at a smaller figure if the buyer issues an apology.
While most people know that Elvis was a Cadillac fan, this dispute revolves around a 1969 Mercedes. When I visted Graceland earlier this year, one of the more surprising exhibits was Elvis' car collection. Dozens of cars that he owned, including a few Cadillacs, were on display in a room the size of an airplane hanger. Also on display were go carts, dune buggys, and golf carts that Elvis and his buddies would race around the fields behind Graceland. My favorite of the lot was a purple convertible Cadillac that seemed about fifty feet long. I couldn't even imagine trying to parallel park that monster.
Hopefully, this case will stay in the news so that we can follow its progess.