Discussions are dominated by definitions. Sometimes the severity you sense depends on what you think the problem is. Take the Netherlands for example. They are closing prisons. You'll never guess why. They don't have enough criminals to fill them. At least that's the story of Justice State Secretary Nebahat Albayrak.
Discussions are dominated by definitions.
Sometimes the severity you sense depends on what you think the problem is.
Take the Netherlands for example. They are closing prisons.
You'll never guess why.
They don't have enough criminals to fill them.
At least that's the story of Justice State Secretary Nebahat Albayrak.
"Currently, there is detention capacity of some 14,000 cell places, while according to the estimates there is a need for about 12,000 cells. This overcapacity is expected to continue for some years," she said while almost certainly clogging about in wooden shoes. "The cell surplus is caused by falling crime in general and more serious crime in particular."
Thus, the ruling parties have developed a plan to remove 2,000 of the country's 14,000 prison cells. That's a plan that the more conservative-minded Dutch legislators call crazy. They even say violent crime is increasing in the land where the legend of Santa Claus was born.
That depends on what you call crime.
The Dutch don't criminalize euthanasia, many illicit drugs, or even prostitution.
They are known for their windmills, gouda cheese, tulips and tolerance.
If nothing is illegal, then you'll obviously have fewer prisoners. Not only do they have a liberal mind when it comes to crime, they also take a soft view on punishment.
Many people who are convicted of crimes spend no time in jails - helping to keep the cells empty.
They slap an ankle band on them and assign them to community service.
The argument has detractors on both ends of the political spectrum which leads me to believe they might be doing the right thing.
The far right believe they are weak on crime. The far left don't want to close the prisons because people could lose their government jobs.
Don't let the Dutch convince you that all of Europe is leaning toward leniency. Belgium is already making plans to send 500 of their prisoners to help fill those vacant cells.
It's an interesting argument. Are Dutch people becoming more civil or is their society becoming more tolerant of incivility?
And now for something completely different
Rush Limbaugh proved something I have always said during his show Wednesday. Just because someone famous says something, doesn't make it profound - or even true.
Limbaugh was admiring the quotes of General George Patton and using them to condemn the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor (whose name Limbaugh mispronounced as Soda-Meyer like Oscar Meyer intentionally avoiding the Hispanic intonations of her name).
He picked two of Patton's quotes on which to focus. First he picked "If everybody's thinking alike, then someone isn't thinking." This quote resonates, but is not true at all. Everyone thinks that children playing with fire is dangerous. Everyone thinks that eating junk food leads to weight gain.
Limbaugh was warning his audience not to believe their lying eyes that show them that Sotomayor has tons of experience and is actually a suitable pick for the court.
He also implored Republicans in the Senate to become lions of the party and take on Sotomayor during the confirmation hearings. The Patton quote he chose was "Pressure makes diamonds."
That sounds good doesn't it? But it is simply false.
Pressure contributes to the creation of diamonds - as do heat and a lot of time. But the key ingredient in diamond making is the ingredient that makes diamonds. Pressure, heat and time won't turn water into a diamond. Plastic, aluminum and gold won't become diamonds either.
Only carbon will become a diamond under pressure.
Why is that important?
Because the Republicans have to be made of the right stuff before pressure will make them diamonds. The wrong materials under great pressure are destroyed - recall the election of November 2008.
Limbaugh should have chosen a different Patton quote: "Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom."
That quote isn't any more factual than the rest of Patton's gems, but there is truth in the fact that the Republicans are due to bounce any time now. With significant minorities in both houses of Congress and a landslide in the last Presidential election, the GOP is close to the bottom.
In order to change the results, you have to let go of leaders and logic that got you into this mess in the first place.
Don't expect the AM Radio Giants to lead that charge. They all became millionaires beating the same drum. It will be almost impossible for them to change their tune.
But the GOP would be wise to stop dancing to it.