File under "You Can't Make This Stuff Up." Somehow, it actually seems like a farcical April Fools…
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April Fools' Day Four Days Late? Google Objects to OpenAI Using YouTube to Train Its Own Generator

File under "You Can't Make This Stuff Up."

Somehow, it actually seems like a farcical April Fools' Day headline, in fact.  Google, with its deep history of scraping and scanning other sources' substantive content for its own uses, now objects to OpenAI using YouTube content to train its text-to-video generator:

The use of YouTube videos to train OpenAI’s text-to-video generator would be an infraction of the platform's terms of service, YouTube Chief Executive Officer Neal Mohan said."

Optimists might hope that Google is finally recognizing and preparing to correct its wayward course, while realists and cynics will roll their eyes at what they'll label naivete.  As the old adage goes, however, "every saint has a past, every sinner has a future," so we'll maintain hope.…[more]

April 05, 2024 • 05:09 PM

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Tough On Crime: El Salvador and Ecuador Offer Lesson for the U.S. Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, February 29 2024
Incarcerating convicted criminals creates a multiplier effect in reducing crime by incapacitating the small number of people who commit the overwhelming percentage of crimes, both violent and non-violent.

First El Salvador, and now Ecuador, have slashed their murder rates through strict tough-on-crime measures, providing an instructive lesson for the United States as we buckle under our own rise in crime over the past decade.  

The statistics illustrating those nation’s dramatic improvement almost defy belief.  

Less than a decade ago in 2015, El Salvador surpassed Honduras to become “the murder capital of the world.”  Under uncompromising Nayib Bukele, however, homicides have dropped 98% through 2023.  

Just as impressively, as The Wall Street Journal reports, neighboring Ecuador has reduced murder rates by 70% in a month after applying President Bukele’s tactics:  

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele’s uncompromising approach to rooting out criminal gangs is beginning to be adopted elsewhere in Latin America, with striking results.  

Homicides in Ecuador tumbled 70% in a month after President Noboa sent in the military to arrest suspected gang members and retake control of the prisons where their leaders orchestrated cocaine shipments and planned a wave of killings that had plunged the country into chaos.  Other countries have said they are looking at doing much the same.  

In sharp contrast, far-left Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s “Hugs, Not Bullets” campaign has reduced that country to a state of violent, hellish lawlessness.  

Those nations’ differing approaches reconfirm an important truth for Americans who in recent years have witnessed record spikes in murder and other crime, especially in cities like New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C.  

Namely, incarcerating convicted criminals creates a multiplier effect in reducing crime by incapacitating the small number of people who commit the overwhelming percentage of crimes, both violent and non-violent.  

For context, it’s worth considering the four traditional common-law principles for imposing criminal penalties that are taught to law students across the country.  

The first basis for imposition of criminal penalties is retribution, which centers on punishment as a form of just retaliation for the harm caused by the criminal offender.  Sometimes summarized as “an eye for an eye,” punishment under this logic is considered a deserved consequence for committing the underlying wrongful act.  

The second traditional justification for criminal law penalty is deterrence, which aims to discourage future offenses by signaling to the community and potential offenders that crime will be punished, not tolerated.  

The third rationale underlying our system of criminal penalty is the goal of rehabilitation, which at least in theory emphasizes the idea of reforming the criminal offender via such means as education, therapy and other types of training.  The ultimate goal of rehabilitation is to hopefully reintegrate convicted criminals back into society after serving their sentences, however futile that often proves in practice.  

Finally, and most relevant to current circumstances, is the concept of incapacitation.  That rationale focuses on removing criminals from society in order to restrict them from committing further crimes.  

Although each of those four guiding philosophical principles play a role in determining criminal penalties for criminal conviction, and our legal system aims to strike a balance between them based upon the individual circumstances of each case, incapacitation of criminals has proven the most useful in substantively reducing crime.  

As noted above, a remarkably small portion of society commits an overwhelming proportion of crimes.  The same people who commit seemingly “minor” crimes like shoplifting, vandalism or public intoxication are also the people most likely to commit violent crimes like murder, assault or armed robbery.  Criminal behavior is simply not distributed equally or randomly across otherwise law-abiding populations.  

As just one prominent illustration of that fact, just last year New York City police found that 327 people accounted for 6,000 shoplifting arrests, fully one-third of the city’s total.  

That same statistical tendency applies to other crimes, so by more strictly incarcerating criminals rather than returning them to the streets, crime begins to drop on an exponential curve.  

That stubborn truth may offend some who care more about signaling virtue than actually achieving societal improvement, but it explains how New York itself finally brought decades of intolerable crime under control.  

And now, El Salvador and Ecuador reconfirm that sociological truth for anyone willing to acknowledge reality. 

Notable Quote   
 
"Progressives are using legal loopholes and the power of the federal government to maximize Democrat votes in the 2024 election at taxpayers' expense, RealClearInvestigations has found.The methods include voter registration and mobilization campaigns by ostensibly nonpartisan charities that target Democrats using demographic data as proxies, and the Biden administration's unprecedented demand that…[more]
 
 
— Ben Weingarten, Real Clear Investigations
 
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