Monday, June 11, 2012

Enforcement Camera Companies Get Their Butts Handed to Them

Last year, the Tennessee legislature changed the law so that red light enforcement cameras could not be relied upon for the issuance of tickets for "rolling rights on red" unless an officer actually witnessed the infraction.  As a result of that, the number of tickets from the red light cameras dropped precipitiously.  Redflex and American Traffic Solutions, the two companies that build and profit from these cameras challenged the law's constitutionality.  They lost. The interesting thing is that, after the law changed, accidents (and particularly rear-enders) declined.  The idiot cop in the article attributes the decline in the accidents to the photo program "instill[ing] better driving habits."  Apparently, the idea that people do not slam on their brakes irrespective of safety to avoid a camera ticket for a close light never crossed his mind.  He may has well said "this program gives the people who write my paychecks lots of money to spend and I will give up every shred of credibility to keep it in place."

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The judges were right

This retired news editor laments that a panel of judges unanimously threw out a $425 red light camera ticket on the basis of the fact that the officer did not see the infraction.  The judges ruled that the photographic evidence was hearsay and was therefore excludable.  Hearsay is inadmissable unless there is an exception.  There is no exception for photographs.  Even Wikipedia has a decent explanation of hearsay and explains that hearsay applies to more than verbal statements.  Why do we have hearsay rules?  The primary reason is so that the trier of fact can evaluate the credibility of the statement.  The trier of fact has no way of evaluating the credibility of a camera.  You don't have to spend too much time online to figure out that videos and photographs are both easily faked.

Apparently, it is more important to the author that California's $16 billion deficit be addressed than for people to get a fair and constitutional trial.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

What is the difference between a bailout and a rescue?

Apparently, Money Magazine thinks it depends on your political party.  On page 104 of its April 2012 issue (yes, some of us still read paper magazines on occasion), it has a headline entitled "The recession boosted spending" in reference to the federal budget.  It talks about increased government spending and closes with this jewel: "There was also the bank bailout (begun under President Bush) and the auto rescue (mostly on Obama's watch)." (emphasis added). 

This is a prime example of how slight changes in words demonstrate the bias in the media.  If a Republican did it, it is a bailout for big money and cronies.  If a Democrat did it, it is a "rescue."  Cronies do bailouts; heroes do rescues.  Crooked politicians bailout their buddies, but people of strong will and great courage do rescues.   By simply using a word with pejorative overtones when dealing with a Republican while using a word with positive overtones in dealing with a Democrat, the media shows its true colors.  This is very subtle, but a very real demonstration of media bias in favor of Democrats in general and Barack Obama in particular.  They coronated this empty suit once before.  Let's not let them get away with it this time.

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