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4 Responses to “Surveillance State Update”

  1. Speedmaster says:

    Some days it’s tough to stay positive.

  2. Rod says:

    Because our township has passed a threshhold of population density, the state’s DEP now commands our township supervisors to ordain a recycling ordinance that will please the general whims of the bureaucrats at DEP.

    The state also requires that this ordinance shall have fines and jail time penalties to “put teeth” into the ordinance. So currently our township manager and our solicitor have huddled and have determined that an ordinance at a township closer to Philadelphia than we are will please the bureaucrats: this ordinance would impose penalties of NOT LESS THAN $100 and not more than $1,500 plus jail time up to three months for mingling recyclables with one’s household trash.

    Now, I’m on the committee that has been charged with drafting a recycling ordinance, and our entire committee wants only an ordinance that meets the minimum demands of DEP. Our solicitor cannot tell us (he says) what those minimum demands are, so he wants an ordinance that will easily please DEP. We, on the other hand, want to skip the penalties entirely and to limit the recyclables to three: glass, plastics and aluminum cans. Further, we want to require that the loser pays all the court costs and other costs in any enforcement case, to provide a deterrent to ambitious enforcement. Our theory is that high fines and court costs paid only by the accused will only give enforcement nazis an incentive to snoop in the trash. We also want to eliminate any of those “just in case” provisions so common in other ordinances: we reason that amendments can cover any oversights.

    Still, however, we have a problem with commands from the state ordering how our supervisors shall vote on any given ordinance. If only aye votes are acceptable, it makes a vote moot. If the state legislature wants to pass laws and then have an agency write the rules and regulations, we think it’s up to the state to enforce their own laws and not to require little Upper Hanover to do that for them.

  3. Rod says:

    Actually, the whole concept of unfunded mandates is bogus from the start. Local, county and state governments heel under the demands of the federal government to pass laws and ordinances without any regard for the independence of any of these governments to decide what those laws and ordinances shall be. That is why our federal Constitution limits the powers of the federal government and reserves the rest of the powers for the states or the people.

  4. As for the topic, a minor, but significant point is that the vcitim was jailed. He did not go to prison. Unlike numismatists who say “cent” and “penny” interchangeablly, criminologists are careful to differentiate misdemeanors (jail) and arrests (jail) from felony convictions (prison).

    That aside, as a journalist when I am not a criminologist, I assure you that you and the police all lose your right to privacy when you leave your homes. The so-called “unauthorized eavesdropping” law invented by the officer in the story can be challenged in court and defeated. I take pictures of people all the time. They might complain. I blow them off. I even photograph cops. Maybe I am just lucky, but if challenged, I certainly would not cower and beg as this victim did.

    Granted, I can tell a shaggy dog story about the time when I was working for a newspaper and I refused the local police entry into my apartment. Two mornings later, I found my car tossed, all the goods laid out in the back seat and nothing taken – not the hunting knife, not the gold coins – but obviously searched nonetheless.

    Homer Simpson once told Bart that the first rule is “Never stand up to a bully.” You might get a fat lip or a black eye or both, but stand up you must or become Homer Simpson. Never cower. Never apologize. … but always be polite…

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