Up for Debate: N.O. police officers sentenced in Danziger incident

Thursday, April 5, 2012 at 1:32am

A federal judge handed down strong sentences to four News Orleans police officers and one detective Wednesday for their roles in the shootings of unarmed civilians on the Danziger Bridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Do you agree with the punishment they received? How do feel about how the case was handled?

211 Comments on this post:

By: brrrrk on 4/5/12 at 9:09

Ummm... said

"brrrrk, what about Loner's proposal for apportionment of each state's electoral votes according to popular vote percentage? Wouldn't that be better than having the conservatives in solid blue states and the liberals in solid red states cast meaningless ballots for president?"

What you're really trying to get at here is a form of a parliamentary government with direct representation based on population. It ain't gonna happen.

By: Ummm... on 4/5/12 at 9:10

If only someone had caused Bush "irreparable harm" before he caused the country "irreparable harm."

By: Ummm... on 4/5/12 at 9:15

brrrrk, do you live in Tennessee? If so, aren't you tired of casting meaningless votes in presidential elections? As long as we live in the reddest of red states, our votes for president don't count- that's just wrong, and Loner's solution works for me.

By: Loner on 4/5/12 at 9:15

Brrrk, I tried to refute that same argument in my 9:17 post.

Like I said, even the hicks in the sticks are online and have cable or satellite TV. nowadays - rural isolation is a myth...if the popular vote alone determined victory in the presidential contest, the candidates and their parties would be forced to use a fifty state strategy, not the "battleground states" strategy....the candidates and the cameras would still show up in Joe's Diner outside of East Bumfart, North Dakota.....you betcha!

The presidential choice of a Democrat in TN is now irrelevant, as is the presidential choice of a Republican in New York....people are not stupid, they know this and many refrain from going to the polls to cast a meaningless vote. Voter apathy is deadly in a democracy.

The EC acts to suppress voter turn out, by way of disenfranchisement and both parties like that....makes their jobs that much easier....the Democrats are not democratic and the Republicans are not republican.....it's high hypocrisy.

By: gdiafante on 4/5/12 at 9:16

No Ben, it isn't a myth.


The fact is that the Right has moved further right than Dems have moved left. In those terms, Obama is more moderate than you think. That's why the Left isn't completely in love with him.

By: Loner on 4/5/12 at 9:21

We tried the EC method...it has failed more than once and continues to fail the nation in several essential ways.

Maybe, we could try the apportionment method for a few election cycles, to see how it works...if it fails, a sunset clause in the original reform legislation could automatically return us the old EC system. The voters could vote on whether or not they like the reformed system.....but give it two or three election cycles, before voting on its success/failure....just a wild suggestion.

By: slacker on 4/5/12 at 9:23

Loner, seems to me that if the popular vote determined victory, the sparsely populated states would be irrelevant. Why bother to campaign in them?

By: gdiafante on 4/5/12 at 9:26

Eliminating the EC would essentially have NY, California, Florida and Texas determine every election. Just as you think that living in a "red" state makes your vote irrelevant, that system would negate people in 46 states. How is that fair?

By: slacker on 4/5/12 at 9:27


By: Ummm... on 4/5/12 at 9:31

gd and slacker, the individual votes of the people in the "46 states" would count just as much as those of the people in the larger states- how is that NOT fair?

By: brrrrk on 4/5/12 at 9:33

Here's what I would do......

1) Open the election process to everyone. In order to get on the ballot the candidate would have to gather a certain number of signatures from each state (based on a percentage that is reasonable so as to allow more "average" candidates in the race) as well as a token donation from each signatory.... say $10. This would show that the candidate has at least some sort of grass roots support and the token donation (even as small as it is) would show some sort of commitment from the signatory.

2) Restrict the campaign season to just a few months. Really, do we need to hear this crap for two years? Or worse yet, four years!?

3) Set up a series of topical debates with well defined questions... no fluff. All debates will be televised by EVERYONE...no exceptions. All candidate would be asked all questions... no skipping. If you don't want to watch it.... read a book, it's good for you. In addition, all daily print media MUST print transcripts of the debates. Again, no exceptions. Hell, newspapers used to do this all the time when the only means of spreading news was through papers. As for advertising, each candidate would be allocated a certain amount of money... how they choose to strategically spend that money is up to them.

4) And lastly, instant runoff voting would be applied to ALL Federal elections. That way all votes would be counted for. And if your not familiar with the theory behind IRV, then.... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant-runoff_voting

Thus spoke Brrrrk. :-)

By: slacker on 4/5/12 at 9:35

Ummm.. they would count as much, but would be insignificant in relation to the larger vote total of the big four states.

By: Loner on 4/5/12 at 9:38

Slack et al., I believe that the 170 million registered US voters should all have their say in who becomes POTUS and Veep...as opposed to fifty inanimate and partisan states decide the matter...the winner-take-all aspect of the EC vote is proof positive of the absolutely partisan nature of a state's EC votes...it's 100% partisan in nature and there are only fifty of these partisan entities deciding the matter...to me, that is undemocratic by nature and completely unacceptable in a modern republican democracy.

By: gdiafante on 4/5/12 at 9:41

I like 2 and 3...the election cycle does last too long and campaigns don't really allow candidates to get too much off-topic.

By: brrrrk on 4/5/12 at 9:41

Ummm... said

"brrrrk, do you live in Tennessee? If so, aren't you tired of casting meaningless votes in presidential elections? As long as we live in the reddest of red states, our votes for president don't count- that's just wrong, and Loner's solution works for me."

Sure, it frustrates the flyin' f*ck outta me. But the way I look it, if we as "lefties" can't make a compelling case for voting the other way, then it's on us. And the reality is that some states are just a lost cause... period. At least right now anyway. One other thing to keep in mind too, if you look at most states, they are far more purple than they are red or blue. Just because Tennessee traditionally goes "red", it doesn't mean that there still isn't a lot of "blue" in the state. It's all about tipping points.

By: yogiman on 4/5/12 at 9:43


Per you 9:01 post: If the EC votes are prorated according to the popular votes, why even have the EC? The one point I see in dropping the EC would be an open door opportunity for new parties. That could require several re-counts [to gain the required majority] until it boiled down to the final vote.

So, how long would it possibly take to finish an election and how may parties would be allowed to be involved in the re-counts to make sure his party got a fair count?

By: gdiafante on 4/5/12 at 9:44

Agreed slacker.

By: Ummm... on 4/5/12 at 9:44

brrrrk, I just think you're looking at this wrong. Why should a national election be about "states," anyway? Shouldn't it be about each individual American's choice for a leader?

By: slacker on 4/5/12 at 9:44

Loner, I see your side, but IMO the EC is more inclusive for each state to participate in a union. Not unlike giving each state regardless of pop., two senators.

By: Loner on 4/5/12 at 9:46

Slacker...you're thinking in terms of New Yorkers and Californians against Idahoans and Arizonians and the like...we are all Americans and every American's vote should count, regardless of where the vote was cast.

A fifty-state strategy is better than the current battleground states strategy, because the candidates would realize that there are meaningful votes in every state and they are up for grabs... places that are now overlooked would suddenly be in play....I can only see a positive net outcome, if the EC is de-fanged or eliminated.

By: gdiafante on 4/5/12 at 9:49

Loner, New Yorkers and Californians are largely Liberal, so yes, it would obliterate the votes in Idaho and Arizona. Add in about ten or fifteen other states...the populations of NY and California combined is about 60 million.

By: BenDover on 4/5/12 at 9:49

Because each state gets an additional two EC votes plus the EC votes they have proportioned to the state population at the time of the census.

This preserves some of the influence for smaller states that was a result of the 'Grand Compromise' but proportionally allocating it allows for the fact that technology and the availability of wide-spread information (sans the propaganda) has made direct will of the voter something that can now be usefully and judiciously factored in.

By: Loner on 4/5/12 at 9:51

Sorry, but I cling to the idea that human rights and civil rights trump states rights....states rights cost 618,000 Americans their lives in the War Between the States...the humans should have de-fanged that states rights beast completely after the war....but no....they let Jim Crow & the Klan take over....the states won the war, the humans lost.

By: gdiafante on 4/5/12 at 9:54

One thing I think we all can agree on is that they should make voting online a viable option. Convenience would likely increase voter turnout. There's no excuse for not voting if you can do it on your phone or PC.

By: gdiafante on 4/5/12 at 9:55

This isn't about states rights. Tell me, with a popular vote, why would anyone in Wyoming participate? They only have a population of about half a million. That's negated by half a block in Manhattan.

What's the incentive for them?

By: Ummm... on 4/5/12 at 9:57

Wow- Loner, I had no idea that this archaic institution known as the Electoral College had so many fans! Why do their arguments seem to defy all logic? Just because there are more people in California than in Idaho, it doesn't mean that a California resident's vote "obliterates" an Idaho resident's vote- they both would count exactly the same under the apportioned electoral vote proposal. What am I (or maybe "are they") missing here?

By: BenDover on 4/5/12 at 9:57

"brrrrk, I just think you're looking at this wrong. Why should a national election be about "states," anyway? Shouldn't it be about each individual American's choice for a leader?"

Because the US is a constitutionally limited republic of democratic states and not a democracy. The founding fathers were smart that way because they understood the peril of an absolute democracy.

To the degree we have tended to ignore those constitutional limitations and have less become a republic of states and more become a top down central federal government; we have, so, tended toward our ultimate demise.

By: Loner on 4/5/12 at 9:58

Ben's right, the sparsely populated but often geographically large states are compensated by the 2 Senators per state limit and the 2 extra EC votes that those 2 Senators represent in the clumsy EC formula. IMO, the "small sate" are being over-compensated...but the point would be moot, if we simply went with the popular vote, in which every American voter in every state gets to cast a meaningful vote....and the major political parties would be forced to work for a change...instead of the gentleman's agreement situation that we now have in place.

By: Loner on 4/5/12 at 10:00

The EC system effectively rules out an effective third party bid for President-VP....that alone should be sufficiently damning.

By: Ummm... on 4/5/12 at 10:00

Well, Bennie, let's take your logic a little further. How about if we institute an Electoral College system within Tennessee? That way, Memphis and Nashville can be the big dogs when it comes to electing our next governor- that OK with you?

By: gdiafante on 4/5/12 at 10:00

They're counted the same, Ummm, but they don't weight the same.

By: gdiafante on 4/5/12 at 10:01

That's an interesting idea, Ummm...point taken.

By: Ummm... on 4/5/12 at 10:02

"They're counted the same, Ummm, but they don't weight the same."

OK, you lost me there gd. What does that mean, exactly?

By: BenDover on 4/5/12 at 10:02

Just to clarify, I thought loner was suggesting proportioning EC votes based on the state popular vote. That is my position, not eliminating the EC.

By: BenDover on 4/5/12 at 10:03

"A Republic, ma'am if you can keep it."

Ben Franklin

By: slacker on 4/5/12 at 10:07

Lady.. wanna take a bath with me?
-B. Franklin

By: BenDover on 4/5/12 at 10:07

Ummm... have you studied any of the history surrounding the Constitutional Convention? The Federalist Papers? The 3/5ths Compromise? The Grand Compromise?

From where does your ill informed position arise except from the potential and likely passing political expedience it might offer you today?

By: Loner on 4/5/12 at 10:09

There are tens of millions of currently disenfranchised Republican party voters in California and New York...the GOP does not make a play for those meaningless votes...if the EC was gone, those GOP votes, combined with the GOP votes in the Red States could defeat a Democratic Presidential ticket...and conversely, the tens of millions of Democratic votes in Florida, TN and Texas combined with the Democratic voters in the Blue states could defeat a GOP presidential ticket.

Formerly disgruntled voters might return to the polls, if they knew their vote counted....a revival in voter interest could result. The major political parties would be in panic mode.

Population densities of the various states should not be a factor in deciding who will be our POTUS and VP...in my most humble opinion....why should that even matter?

By: BenDover on 4/5/12 at 10:09

"Quit your whoring around Ben and get to work"

John Adams

By: gdiafante on 4/5/12 at 10:10

It means that a 6 million votes in Tennessee don't count as much as 6 million votes in Chicago. Are you willing to let cities determine elections?

You'll see politicians exclusively in LA, SF, Chicago, Houston, Miami and NYC. Those cities contain more citizens than a large amount of individual states.

There's only about 100 million registered voters. That is roughly the amount of people in the four most populated states. See the problem?

By: BenDover on 4/5/12 at 10:15

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.”

Alexis de Tocqueville

By: Loner on 4/5/12 at 10:15

The apportionment idea is a good one and total elimination of the EC is better, IMO, but not realistically feasible.

BTW, the idea of apportionment of EC votes according to the state's popular vote, is not my idea alone...the idea has been around for a long time...two states already use the system...it's time has come, IMO....like I said, we could try it for a couple of election cycles and see how it works...we can always revert to the old way.....besides, the special interests, not the POTUS, actually govern the republic....reforming the EC may be a fool's errand.

By: Ummm... on 4/5/12 at 10:16

Little Bennie, I thought you were in agreement with Loner and myself regarding the apportionment of electoral votes based on popular vote within each state. I know you Teapublicans use "states' rights" to justify all manner of inequities, but you were actually beginning to make sense on this issue. I guess I must have pushed you over the edge when I began to talk about respecting the vote of each individual. You then responded with the "evils of true democracy" as a justification for the Electoral College system- but I guess applying that within the borders of Tennessee wouldn't give you the results you would prefer. I know my opinions irritate you, but I would appreciate it if you would refrain from the personal bs- my opinions are every bit as "learned" and valid as yours. "Talking down" to others is very unattractive behavior.

By: brrrrk on 4/5/12 at 10:17

Loner said

"Slacker...you're thinking in terms of New Yorkers and Californians against Idahoans and Arizonians and the like...we are all Americans and every American's vote should count, regardless of where the vote was cast."

Well, yes and no. Just because we're all Americans, it doesn't mean that we all have the same concerns and that all states have the same needs. Just because the issue of top soil erosion (something the Idahoans might be interested in) is not in any way equivalent to the issue of off shore drilling (which Californians would be interested in), it doesn't mean that in the grand scheme of things each isn't important in it's own way. My fear is that issues will be dropped by the the wayside strictly based on the merits of population and not on the merits of the issue itself.

By: BenDover on 4/5/12 at 10:19

That brings us full circle to my earlier point, Loner. What state that is a pretty solid blue state or a pretty solid red state is going to vote for apportionment that would diminish it's influence on picking a president who matches that view.

I think it would be a very tough sell.

By: Loner on 4/5/12 at 10:26

No, I do not see the problem with apportioning the EC votes to reflect the popular vote, GD.

Why should the population densities of the various states be a factor in selecting the POTUS and VP? It doesn't make sense.

In your example, in which only the cities would be targeted for campaigning, assumes that those cities would vote as a single block - all or none - that isn't going to happen.

If every vote counted, all the political parties would attempt to broaden their appeals, not narrow them...right now the contested states are courted and cajoled by the major parties....in a reformed popular vote system, every state would be a contested state, every city a contested city, every county a contested county...how can that be a bad thing?

By: slacker on 4/5/12 at 10:31

All arguments are moot. The country's too polarized to pass a constitutional amendment to change anything at this time.

By: BenDover on 4/5/12 at 10:32

Your intrastate example of Tennessee is not a valid example Ummmm. To make it equivalent we would need reorganize the state as a republic of democratic counties. Before the counties would agree to this they would most certainly want to assure their voice as a demographically and geographically separate entity be represented in the state government; and the lower population counties would want an assurance that their voice isn't trumped by the higher population counties. Thus there would need be a Tennessee 'grand compromise' recognizing the county as an entity through some mechanism like the EC or there would be no such republic created in the first place.

Your suggestion of the comparison though reveals to a top down central command mentality that has been the bane of failed and destructive societies in history; yet seems to be the default favorite position of most 'everyone-else-is-an-idiot' liberals I've ever met.

By: slacker on 4/5/12 at 10:41

As gadiafante mentioned, if the country went to a straight popular vote, 4 state's would determine the winner. That's a fact, anyway you want to spin it.

By: Ummm... on 4/5/12 at 10:41

Bennie, bennie, bennie...what's good for the goose (nation) isn't good for the gander (state)? Your "grand compromise" would likely be based on state house districts, not counties anyway, but the bottom line is that the population centers of our state would end up with greater influence in statewide elections, and the Teapublicans definitely won't go for that. And for the record, I don't think everyone else is an idiot. By the way, have you ever heard of the psychology term "projection?"