So...this actually happened tonight:
Don't try to process that rationally; it'll just make your brain hurt. But if you meditate on it, you'll achieve enlightenment.
So...this actually happened tonight:
Don't try to process that rationally; it'll just make your brain hurt. But if you meditate on it, you'll achieve enlightenment.
Have you heard the one about the man on Death Row being freed any moment now after serving 30 years for a murder that the state of Louisiana now believes did not throw off enough evidence to lead to the man's arrest, let alone execution? It's a harrowing tale, championed by the Shreveport Times, and will be the subject tonight of discussion on Fox Business Network's fab television program The Independents, at 9 pm ET, 6 pm PT, with repeats three hours later. Joining the show to talk about the case will be Marc Hayden from Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, who were one of the subjects of this recent Reason.tv video.
Other topics include: Lousy (though beautiful-eyed) Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) getting all huffy about the CIA spying on her precious, transparency-hating Intelligence Committee; President Barack Obama's hoo-larious turn on Zach Galifianakis's Between Two Ferns chat-show; and new studies proving that Millennials are basically independent atheists who hate social conservatives and never work. Chewing on this topic will be Party Panelists Bill Spadea (New Jersey Republican) and Dan St. Germain (beardy comedian).
Former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore recently made headlines at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) by saying that "Edward Snowden is a traitor and a coward," so he'll be on to talk about that. Also, Republican senators keep smacking each other in the face with Ronald Reagan, so that will occasion some discussion. And although Reason-comments heartthrob Kmele Foster is taking his talents elsewhere tonight (something about a fancy "play" on "Broadway"), we’ll still be Keepin' it Kmele, with... Michael C. Moynihan??? And a million An-Cap hearts asplode....
There will be sexy after-show bits viewable (in theory!) at the show website.
The Public Religion Research Institute has produced an interesting “infographic” highlighting results from their Hispanic Values Survey. The survey asked Latino respondents “What is the first word or phrase that comes to your mind when you think about the Republican Party?” What they said might surprise you, especially given that Latinos voted for President Obama over Mitt Romney by a margin of 71 to 27 percent.
According to PRRI's survey, less than half of Hispanic respondents had a negative reaction to the Republican Party, instead most were neutral or positive. Even one of the responses PRRI coded as negative—that Republicans are “rich”—isn’t necessarily a bad thing since Hispanics lead the way in faith in the American Dream and the bootstrapping work ethic it entails. For instance, recent surveys have found 7 in 10 Hispanics cite education and hard work as most important for success and most believe their children will be better off than they were.
It’s worth pointing out that Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush had the greatest success in narrowing the partisan voting gap among Hispanics. Arguably, Reagan and Bush represent different strains of the Republican coalition, but both had charisma, made the effort to reach out, and perhaps even genuinely cared.
(For more on Hispanic political engagement and mobilization, check out Ricardo Ramirez's Mobilizing Opportunities)
Here are the results, coded as negative and positive by PRRI:
“What is the first word or phrase that comes to your mind when you think about the Republican Party?”
“Since Tesla first began operating in New Jersey one year ago, it was made clear that the company would need to engage the Legislature on a bill to establish their new direct-sales operations under New Jersey law,” said Kevin Roberts, a spokesman for [Republican New Jersey Governor Chris] Christie. “This administration does not find it appropriate to unilaterally change the way cars are sold in New Jersey without legislation and Tesla has been aware of this position since the beginning.”
Tesla says it didn’t even know about the proposed rules change until yesterday. The Commission, which passed the rule unanimously, is chaired by a Christie nominee, and includes three members of Christie’s cabinet. Tesla has been fighting similar control-freak/cronyist nonsense around the country. After all, these kind of laws and rules prohibiting Tesla from selling cars directly to consumers are generally intended to defend car dealerships, and are lobbied for by them. Even Texas, whose governor insists his state is “wide open for business,” passed a protectionist law against electric car direct sales. Tesla did win a battle in New York, where a bill denying registration for cars not brought through a dealer failed to pass the legislature. Last year, Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, said his company had two options to secure its ability to sell cars directly to customers, lobby Congress for federal legislation or file a federal lawsuit.
Tesla’s status, meanwhile, as a recipient of the fruits of crony capitalism on the federal level means it’s given an unfair advantage by the federal government and then saddled with unfair disadvantages by state governments, as A. Barton Hinkle noted last year.
that started over government plans to turn a local park into a mall transformed into broader demonstrations against the increasingly authoritarian government of the long-time prime minister, Recep Erdogan, embodied by the government’s heavy handed response, and media blackout of, protests.Last spring, protests in Istanbul
As is often the case with popular anti-government protests, Erdogan blamed the opposition for escalation. Amnesty International accused the Turkish government of various human rights abuses in their response to protesters. Its report said 8,000 people were injured and at least three killed. A relevant Wikipedia article identifies 11 people killed in protests, the last being 15-year-old Berkin Elvan, who died nine months after being struck in the head, according to his family, by a high-velocity gas canister thrown by Turkish police at protesters while he was going to the grocery store. The death has reignited protests, as the AP reports:
The unrest swelled within hours of news that Berkin Elvan, 15, had died in an Istanbul hospital, nine months after losing consciousness with a fractured skull...
Protests were reported in at least nine other cities. Authorities could provide no details on injuries to protesters or police.
Human Rights Watch has called on police officers implicated in the incident that led to Elvan’s death to be imprisoned, something which has obviously not happened.
Earlier this year, the Turkish government dismissed 350 police officers after finding out the government and ruling party were the target of a wide-ranging corruption investigation they claim they shouldn’t have been kept in the dark about.
At Education Intelligence Agency, a site devoted to tracking behavior by teachers’ unions, Mike Antonucci looks at how union membership has paced with the growth in the number of educators. It turns out, particularly over the past 15 years, it hasn’t been going so well for the unions. Even though the number of educators has increased, membership in unions did not at the same pace. As a result, the percentage of teachers who belong to unions has dropped. Antonucci notes:
BLS began tracking union data in 1983. That year there were more than 2.6 million people employed as primary, secondary and special education teachers in both public and private schools. More than 1.5 million of them were union members, for a unionization rate of 57.5 percent.
By 1995 there were 600,000 more teachers, but the unionization rate was virtually identical. In the 18 years since, the rate has never approached that height again.
In fact, while America’s schools added almost a million and a quarter new teachers, teachers’ unions added fewer than 345,000 new members, for a rate of 27.8 percent.
In 2013, the percentage of educators who belong to teachers unions dipped below 50 percent for the first time since BLS has been monitoring the data:
To be fair about the chart and to the unions, it’s not quite as big a drop as it looks at first glance. The distance between the top and the bottom of the chart is only 10 percentage points, not 100 to 0.
Nevertheless, it could be an indicator of decreasing influence by the unions. Over at the Sacramento Bee, columnist Dan Walters notes the decrease in union power over the control of the future of the California school system:
The most public example is the complex, multifront battle that pits the state’s union-dominated education establishment against civil rights and reform groups over the direction of public schools. It’s essentially a Democrat vs. Democrat battle, waged within big-city school boards, in the Legislature, in the state Board of Education and in the courts.
The establishment contends that the schools’ shortcomings can be solved with more money – a lot more money. The California Teachers Association-led Education Coalition reiterated this month that it wants spending to rise to the average of the nation’s 10 highest-spending states, which would cost $30-plus billion more a year.
Reformers don’t oppose spending more, but contend that union rules and the education bureaucracy are thwarting efforts to do more for students, particularly poor and English-learner children. A lawsuit now being tried in Los Angeles is the current venue for the years-long battle.
Brian Doherty delved into that lawsuit in February. Read a lot more here.
A couple of weeks after being acquitted of beating an unarmed homeless man to death in Fullerton, California, former police officer Manuel Ramos decided to throw on his SoCal t-shirt and pop out to the local Denny's.
Looks like the locals weren't quite as ready as the courts to forgive and forget this:
On the evening of July 5, 2011, the Fullerton Police Department received a call that someone was trying to break into cars at the town bus depot. Ramos and another officer arrived on the scene and encountered Thomas, a mentally ill local who Ramos had met before. (Thomas wasn’t breaking into any vehicles.) When he didn’t obey Ramos’ commands to put his hands on his knees, Ramos started swinging his baton at Thomas’ legs. Soon six officers, including Cicinelli, were on the scene, crushing and pounding the unarmed man. Cicinelli later recounted that he hit Thomas’ face 20 times with a Taser.
So when Ramos hit up Denny's last month, someone posted this account on Facebook:
Alongside it, this photo of Ramos slugging his beer (UPDATE: or water?) as he got up to leave:
Well played, Denny's patrons. Reason's own Jacob Sullum has convincingly made the case why Ramos shouldn't be retried for the killing, but three cheers for non-violent social censure where the justice system failed.
Reason and Reason TV have been all over the Kelly Thomas case. Check out a couple of the videos to learn more about the story:
Amendment 64 says "nothing in this section shall permit consumption that is conducted openly and publicly," while Washington's I-502 bans consumption "in view of the general public." Finally, both states have laws that ban smoking inside bars and restaurants. But there are various possible ways around these restrictions, including the route taken by Cheryl and David Fanelli, who plan to open what KUSA, the NBC station in Denver, describes as "the only legally sanctioned cannabis club in the country" this month in Nederland (elevation: 8,228 feet; population: 1,500)One of the disappointing aspects of marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington is that neither state allows the sort of cannabis cafés you will find in Amsterdam and other Dutch cities, which sell marijuana along with food and beverages. Both states ban on-site consumption at licensed pot stores, which are barred from selling anything other than marijuana products and paraphernalia. Furthermore, Colorado's
The Fanellis are taking advantage of an exception to the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act for "a place of employment that is not open to the public and that is under the control of an employer that employs three or fewer employees." The same exception covers VFW posts, Elk's clubs, and other private, members-only spaces where smoking is allowed. The Fanelli's establishment, Club Ned, will be open only to dues-paying members, who will have to make appointments and bring their own pot. But Club Ned will have tables and sell refreshments, creating something resembling the convivial, tavern-like atmosphere at Dutch "coffee shops" (which are not legal, strictly speaking, but have been tolerated for decades). Since David Fanelli mentions an "acoustical stage area," I gather that there will be live music as well.
The Fanellis ran their business plan by the city, the fire marshal, and the local district attorney to make sure they were doing everything legally. It took 14 months. The aim, Cheryl Fanelli explains to KUSA, the NBC affiliate in Denver, is to "keep everybody safe in a nice place where someone can watch over them." Her husband is bursting with pride. "Is this history?" he asks. "This is history. Are we pioneers? Maybe more than pioneers."
Club Ned is not the first venue in Colorado to provide a social setting outside the home where people can smoke pot together. That distinction belongs to Club 64, a floating pot party that had its first event at a hemp clothing store in Denver on New Year's Eve 2012, right after Amendment 64's provisions protecting possession and noncommercial transfers of up to an ounce took effect. That experiment inspired various imitators. But Club Ned seems to be the first permanent cannabis club to receive explicit approval from local government agencies.
A private club is not the only possible approach. The Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act does not cover vaping or marijuana-infused foods, so a bar or restaurant should be able to allow those forms of consumption even inside, and the law does not apply to outdoor seating. Depending on how "openly and publicly" is interpreted, outdoor marijuana consumption, including smoking, could be legal on the patios or in the courtyards of Colorado bars and restaurants. It might even be legal in Washington, provided it is shielded from "the view of the general public."
Here's more proof we live in a crazy, mixed-up world: Some anti-abortion groups are calling for a "cookie-cott" of Girl Scout cookies not because they are duplicitously filled with decadent and depraved trans fat but because they are part of a wicked baby-killing agenda.
In 2012, reports Politico, the Family Research Council "urged its 455,000 followers to pray that cookie sales would lag so that the Girl Scouts would break off their alleged relationship with Planned Parenthood."
This year, Pro-Life Waco and Pro-Life Wisconsin are leading the charge against Thin Mints, Thank You Berry Muches, delicous Samoas (known as Caramel deLites west of the Mississippi and north of Carcosa), and all other varieties.
Dubbing their effort “cookie-cott,” abortion opponents have been urging allies to refuse to purchase cookies from any girl scout this year to show their opposition to what they perceive as the Girl Scouts’ increasing support of people and advocacy groups with ties, however tendentious, to abortion.
The most recent in a long line of perceived offenses, and the one that spurred the latest cookie boycott, was the organization’s alleged endorsement of Texas state senator Wendy Davis, who last June famously filibustered the state’s new law that will close most of the abortion providers in Texas. The Girl Scouts’ Twitter account tweeted a link to a Huffington Post Live segment discussing potential candidates for woman of the year for 2013. Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis was mentioned as a contender, as were singer Beyonce, Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai and even “the brave women on social media.”
So is that box of Savannah Smiles (blech) a political statement of any sort? Not to the Girl Scouts, at least:
“To quote the Girl Scout promise, we are committed to serving God and our country and to helping others at all time,” states Ana Maria Chavez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA in a recent video response to the religious right’s allegations. “We do not now, nor have we ever had a relationship with Planned Parenthood. Girl Scouts of the USA believes that reproductive issues are deeply private matters best left to families. I find it unsettling that anyone would use the Girl Scout brand to have very adult conversations. A box of cookies is not a political statement. It is an investment in a girl and her dreams.”
More on Girls Scouts and odd bedfellows from Snopes.
Top-down mandates and the reality that your child is just one among a roomful can restrict your options, even when you're lucky enough to have options from which to pick. Despite the variety of public, private, and charter schools near me, all of the parents I know complain that their kids have too much damned homework. Now, when we complain to teachers and administrators, we'll be armed with research suggesting that professional educators are trying to turn our kids into socially stunted weirdos.Sending your kid to school can be frustrating as hell.
Yeah. Really. A study, published last year in the Journal of Experimental Education, takes a dim view of the heavy workloads under which high school kids in "10 high-performing high schools in upper middle class communities" stagger.
Results indicated that students in these schools average more than 3 hr of homework per night. Students who did more hours of homework experienced greater behavioral engagement in school but also more academic stress, physical health problems, and lack of balance in their lives.
Which is to say, even if you think that homework can be a good thing, there's a limit. More is not better, say researchers from Stanford University, Lewis and Clark College, and Villanova University.
The communities the researchers focused on are more prosperous than the country as a whole, with median household income over $90,000, and 93 percent of students going on to college. They're also the sort of communities that would be most likely to emphasize and support academic success. Where their schools have gone is where many educators pushing heavier homework loads and higher standards around the country say they want to follow.
The Stanford News summarizes the researchers' findings:
Two hours of homework is at the high end of what high school students should be doing every day, the researchers report.
My eight-year-old son is younger than the researchers' subjects, and he's not yet—and never, so far as I'm concerned—carrying a daily, three-hour homework load. But he's already freaking out over what strikes me as excessive take-home assignments. Talking down a third-grader because he's overworked is a bizarre experience, but all too common among the families we know in a community that's not exactly an academic pressure cooker.
It looks like it's time for another chat with teacher and company. The goals, to explain once again, are healthy, educated, well-adjusted human beings. Stressed-out basket cases? Not so much.
You know who seems pretty happy and well-balanced? My nephew. He's being homeschooled.
Judging by the speeches at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the Republican party’s rising stars have decided that they should talk more about what principles their party stands for, and what policy ideas they favor, instead of just reiterating what they oppose.
“We’ve got to start talking about what we’re for. And not what we’re against,” said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. “We can either make the choice to keep our head down and not rock the boat, to not stand for anything or we can stand for principle,” proclaimed Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas). “We have to explain where we want to take the country, and how we want to get there,” said Rep. Paul Ryan (Wisc.). Executed well, the payoff could be huge. “We are literally on the verge, if we make the right decisions, of a new American century,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.).
Yet even as the parade of GOP bright lights affirmed support for a positive vision backed by productive policy ideas, most seemed to struggle to define that vision, or talk clearly about what those ideas should be. Reason Senior Editor Peter Suderman writes that the GOP has decided that it should probably stand for something—yet aside from electing more Republicans, it’s still not sure what, exactly, that is.View this article
New York Times bestselling author of JULIET, Anne Fortier, will talk about her new book, The Lost Sisterhood, a mesmerizing novel about a young scholar who risks her reputation--and her life--on a thrilling journey to prove that the legendary warrior women known as the Amazons actually existed (read more at www.annefortier.com).
Join us following the launch event, for an after–party at Reason's DC office where Anne will discuss literature and liberty with friends and supporters.
responded, “would look like at least 7 million people signing up for coverage by the end of March,” the final month of open enrollment for the health law’s first year.In September 2013, the month before Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges launched, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was asked by NBC News what success would look like for Obamacare. “Success,” she
But based on the administration’s report this afternoon that just 4.2 million people had signed up for coverage by the end of February, that goal now looks all but impossible to reach.
With open enrollment ending in just a few weeks, there’s not much time left to make up the gap. Indeed, even if there’s a significant sign-up spike in the final month, the administration is still likely to significantly undershoot its target.
We’ll find out soon enough. In the meantime, here are the key takeaways from today’s enrollment report.
The administration is still well behind its initial enrollment target—which now seems out of reach. Even with relatively steady sign-ups in January, and a so-so total February, the pace hasn’t picked up enough after the slow opening. The administration is counting on a spike in March to make up lost ground, but it’s going to have to be really big to even come close. About 1.78 million people signed up for coverage in December, the month with the highest number of sign-ups so far. The administration needs a 63 percent increase from that month’s turnout to get the 2.8 million sign-ups necessary to reach 7 million by the end of March. Even hitting the Congressional Budget Office's revised estimate of 6 million sign-ups by the end of March seems like something of a stretch at this point.
The administration is still counting sign-ups, not completed enrollments—so the real number of paid enrollments is substantially lower. The monthly “enrollment” reports released by the administration don’t actually count enrollments. Instead, they count people who have “picked a plan” within the exchange system. But multiple reports from insurers suggest that about 20 percent of people who sign up aren’t paying their first month’s premium, and thus aren’t enrolled. Other reports suggest a further attrition through non-payment of around 2 to 5 percent in the second month. What this means is that whatever the final number of sign ups is, the true number of enrollments will be significantly smaller.
The percentage of young adults signing up isn’t increasing. When it started to become likely that the administration wouldn’t meet its enrollment goals for the year, the White House changed the definition of success, arguing instead that what was really important was getting a healthy demographic mix of enrollees, with around 39 percent of enrollments coming from young adults aged 18-34. In December, the administration, along with other supporters of the law, pointed hopefully toward the increasing number of young adults as a sign that the demographic mix might work out. But the percentage of young adults who’ve picked plans has barely budged since then. At the end of December, 24 percent of sign-ups were between 18 and 34; now, at the end of February, it’s still holding at 25 percent.
California still leads the way. Of the 4.2 million people who’ve signed up for coverage, 1.19 million are from sunny California. No other state even comes close; the next highest sign-up totals come from Florida (990,455), Texas (758,344) and New York (533,948).
There are large disparities between the states. In contrast to states like California, states with broken exchanges, like Hawaii and Massachusetts, still have tiny sign-up totals. Massachusetts has signed up just 5,943 people for coverage. Hawaii has signed up 10,968.
The vast majority of people signing up for coverage are eligible for subsidies. The administration reports that 83 percent of those who’ve picked plans qualify for the health law’s tax credits to purchase insurance—a figure that has risen slightly over the last few months.
More women are signing up than men. Of the 4.2 million people who have picked plans so far, 55 percent are women and 45 percent are men. That makes sense since the law prohibits differential pricing based on gender. But it also suggests that the risk pools in the exchanges will be weighted toward people who are generally more expensive to insure.
This doesn’t tell us how many uninsured people have gained coverage under the law. Even if we knew how many of the sign ups were paid enrollments, that would not tell us how many previously uninsured people were gaining coverage thanks to the law. Survey data suggests that the number is much smaller than the overall sign-up totals, perhaps just a quarter of all people signing up for coverage. But the bottom line is that we just don’t know, because the administration is not systematically tracking that data.
Last December, Shaine Sherrill became the seventh person shot by Albuquerque police officers in 2013. Sherrill was allegedly brandishing a knife, or maybe a metal brake pad, although police insist they were also told he may have had a gun. There were hours of video from a dozen officers, according to the Albquerque Journal, which posted the following 3 minute video on its YouTube page:
It takes the officer less than ten seconds after exiting his car to start shooting. You can hear the command “drop the weapon” once. They handcuff him before providing any medical assistance.
While on the way to meet Sherrill, according to lapel videos and an audio file of radio communications between officers and police dispatch, officers were told about prior calls where Sherrill made it clear that he wanted to commit suicide by police officer and that he was suicidal. That information was disseminated through the Real-Time Crime Center, which references crime data and other databases in hopes of giving officers as much information as possible about a call while in the field. The tool was touted at the time as potentially a way to reduce the number of deadly-force encounters between officers and possibly suicidal or mentally ill suspects.
Officers finally found Sherrill near Northeastern and Wyoming NE, and fired. One officer can be seen kicking what looks like a knife away from Sherrill’s body and then several more officers rush to give the suspect medical attention. Officers applied tourniquets to Sherrill’s legs and slapped adhesive bandages on gunshot wounds on his back.
Police still won’t say just how many times they shot at Sherrill, but his mother says he suffered from seven gunshot wounds. The family sued in January, accusing the police department of withholding documents related to the shooting.
Related reading: Watched Cops are Polite Cops
at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), there was a guy with a mohawk. I suppose this was notable because the GOP is generally a mohawk-free zone. Every time I passed said man throughout the day, a crowd was gathered, snapping his photo. It made me chuckle. He was no politician, pundit, or public intellectual. He was just a guy with a mohawk. At CPAC.Last week,
But while dude’s hair choices may be atypical for young Republicans, his views aren’t. Our mohawked friend—who goes by Rooster—is mentioned liberally in a recent article concerning the split between young and old party members on social issues. Rooster is part of an emerging young conservative cohort "who are pro-free market on fiscal issues and libertarian on social ones," The New York Times informs us, somewhat confusingly (so he’s libertarian on everything, then?). "While his views represent a potential growth wing for a party that is losing among other demographics, they also show an emerging tension with the older social conservatives at the core of the party’s base."
I wrote about this last week in the context of a new Pew Research Survey on millennials. The survey revealed that more than half of Gen Y identifies as politically independent—though these young independents are more likely to vote Democrat than Republican. Surmising from this and previous polling data, along with anecdotal experience, it seems to hinge heavily on the GOP’s handling of social issues. A majority of young people (regardless of political affiliation) support marriage equality and ending the drug war. And no matter where they fall on birth control issues such as whether Hobby Lobby should have to pay for it, most realize that it is a widely-used tool to prevent pregnancy and not some dirty thing that only dirty dirty whores need (a viewpoint all too rarely displayed by seasoned Republican politicians, whose feet are pretty much permanently wedged in their mouths when it comes to contraception). Even millennials who do have socially conservative views seem less likely than their elders to want to force them on all people through the state.
People say that young adults outgrow liberalism, which may be frequently true on economic issues. But it seems less likely that this generation will eventually “grow into” social intolerance. Certain liberal cultural ideas—like tolerance toward homosexuality and marijuana use—aren’t going anywhere. As the Times puts it: “This youthful libertarianism is not fading when the Republicans of tomorrow graduate from college.”
Right now, the Republican party is losing young independents because of its insistence on making culture war issues preeminent. But they could soon start losing more young Republicans, too. The Times suggests that GOP politicians embrace more libertarian attitudes or pay the price in upcoming elections. But as someone with no vested interest in whether Republicans win elections, I think the more interesting question is why all these socially-liberal young folks still self-identify as Republicans?
Psssst, Gen Y: There is a third way, you guys. The way of no party. The way of small-l libertarianism. Come over to the dark side, dear socially liberal young Republicans!
Unlike the GOP, we won’t try to change you. We won’t try to insist you grow out of loving liberty for all. You can even still vote Republican when (if) decent candidates present themselves. Or vote Democrat. Or don’t vote at all.
Meanwhile, you can be pro free markets and fiscal responsibility while also supporting personal liberty and sensible drug policy. [You can also be pro- or anti-abortion rights; there’s a libertarian case for both…] And you can do so without the outside world assuming you're a big, intolerant jerk. When "the Duke freshman porn star" recently defended her membership in the college Republicans, she complained that people automatically assume her membership makes her “a bigot and a homophobe.” When I recently attended a panel of young conservatives talking about poverty, they complained that people think the right’s poverty policy involves nothing more than cruelly cutting benefits.
But these are the primary connotations of the GOP among much of Gen Y: Bigotry, homophobia, lack of empathy (not to mention sexism and sexual prudishness). As frustrating as it is for less socially-conservative Republicans to be lumped in with those associations, the party has done little to make them seem undeserved. And it won’t, until younger party members start turning away in large numbers.
For young Republicans who really want to change the GOP, the best way may be to leave the party for a while. In the meantime, we'll be waiting over here all pro-markets and pro-tolerance.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing went missing early last Saturday morning local time. So far, there has been no sign of the aircraft and a massive search is underway for the missing plane. The last known position of the aircraft was over the Gulf of Thailand.
The area being searched is vast, and a Colorado-based satellite imaging company is crowdsourcing the search.
From ABC News:
Longmont, Colo.-based DigitalGlobe trained cameras from its five orbiting satellites Saturday on the Gulf of Thailand region where Malaysia flight 370 was last heard from, said Luke Barrington, senior manager of Geospatial Big Data for DigitalGlobe.
The images being gathered will be made available for free to the public on a website called Tomnod. Anyone can click on the link and begin searching the images, tagging anything that looks suspicious. Each pixel on a computer screen represents half a meter on the ocean’s surface, Barrington told ABC News.
“For people who aren’t able to drive a boat through the Pacific Ocean to get to the Malaysian peninsula, or who can’t fly airplanes to look there, this is a way that they can contribute and try to help out,” Barrington said.
Click here to see if you can find any sign of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
Officials have said that the two Iranian men who boarded the missing flight with stolen passports do not have ties to terrorist groups. The Malaysian air force says that the flight changed course before disappearing.
I’ll be on Huffington Post in just a few minutes talking about unemployment insurance, poverty and Obama’s interview with Zach Galafianakis. Watch here.
Some relevant Reason reading:
Time for a Guaranteed Income? – Veronique de Rugy
Petty Law Enforcement vs. the Poor – Brian Doherty
Zach Galifianakis Jokes With President Obama About Hilarious Stuff Like Drones, NSA Spying – Elizabeth Nolan Brown
is Sharyl Attkissongone from CBS News. The award-winning journalist made waves in recent years by putting the screws to the sitting administration over issues from the Fast and Furious gunwalking scandal to green subsidies to the Benghazi attack. That is, she "afflicted the powerful," as the old adage has it, which is what journalists are supposed to do unless they're polishing their resumes for a jump to public relations. But "the powerful" in recent years has meant, in part, an administration with which many journalists like to coo and play footsie. And Attkisson upset a lot of colleagues at CBS News by asking hard questions when the answers were awkward.
Acording to Politico's Dylan Byers:
Attkisson, who had been with CBS News for more than two decades, had grown frustrated with what she saw as the network’s liberal bias, an outsize influence by the network’s corporate partners, and a lack of dedication to investigative reporting, several sources said. She increasingly felt that her work was no longer supported and that it was a struggle to get her reporting on air.
At the same time, Attkisson’s coverage of the Obama administration, which some CBS staffers characterized as agenda-driven, had led network executives to doubt the impartiality of her reporting. The bulk of Attkisson’s work since 2009 has focused on the failures or perceived failures of the administration, including its troubled green-energy investments and the attack in Benghazi.
Impartiality-wise, it's worth noting that the president of CBS News is David Rhodes, the brother of White House speechwriter Ben Rhodes. But that relationship is apparently less of a problem than querying government officials on matters they'd rather gloss over.
For the record, "impartiality" in such matters would mean that Attkisson turned the bright lights on Republicans as enthusiastically as on Democrats. In fact, her CBS News bio reports that she "received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for her reporting on 'The Business of Congress,' which included a 'CBS This Morning' undercover investigation into fundraising by Republican freshmen."
But even if Attkisson is a partisan who treats conservatives with kid gloves, that just means you send her after left-leaning politicians, and one of her colleagues after right-leaning politicians. She's obviously diligent about interrogating at least some officeholders, which is more than you can say about too many other reporters. Who cares if a journalist is partial as long as you keep him or her pointed at a target?
While Attkisson's colleagues at CBS News may echo White House staff complaints that she's too mean to the president and his friends, this is an administration that has been notoriously opaque. A 2013 report from the Committee to Protect Journalists quoted David E. Sanger, veteran chief Washington correspondent of The New York Times, descibing the Obama administration as "the most closed, control freak administration I’ve ever covered."
That report added:
In the Obama administration’s Washington, government officials are increasingly afraid to talk to the press. Those suspected of discussing with reporters anything that the government has classified as secret are subject to investigation, including lie-detector tests and scrutiny of their telephone and e-mail records. An “Insider Threat Program” being implemented in every government department requires all federal employees to help prevent unauthorized disclosures of information by monitoring the behavior of their colleagues.
You'd think a news outfit would be happy to have somebody on board who was willing to penetrate those circled wagons and dig for information. That is, after all,what journalists are supposed to do.
transparent, while Twitter allows others to gauge their popularity and (more importantly) entertain the rest of with their endless gaffes, typos, and ill-conceived thoughts. Now, if lawmakers really want to stay on top of the game, they may want to register for the gay dating app Grindr.Social media just lends itself to politics. Facebook has become a place for some elected officials to be more
That's what two Dutch politicians, Jan-Bert Vroege and Pieter Rietman, are doing in preparation of local elections on March 19.
Reuters reported last week:
"We are very fond of new technology and new media," Jan-Bert Vroege, an openly gay candidate for the D66 party, told Reuters on Wednesday.
"We are also into making Amsterdam a lively gay destination - and using Grindr we can get that message to all the gay people of Amsterdam."
Vroege's Grindr profile asks "Have I got a date with you on March 19?" but he stresses he is only offering chats, not dates.
"We've been doing this for two days, and in the first night I got 35 connections ... People thought this was a great way to bring attention to the elections and D66," said Vroege.
The app may end up being a great tool to bring politicians closer and more responsive to constituents. Vroege told Vice magazine, "It’s not just about getting your message out there; it’s more about listening to what people want to say to you."
Because Grindr relies on GPS technology to pinpoint nearby singles (or, in this case, voters), this “method of connecting users might make it perfect for a local election,” suggests Tim Sampson of The Daily Dot.
Whether Grindr catches on has yet to be seen. Someone could easily develop a localized, single-demographic app specifically for political. But in the meantime, Vroege's and Reitman's use of Grindr helps wear away at the taboo of politicians' personal lives, particularly those using gay dating sites–which has cost at least one his career in the past.
Read Reason's Scott Shackford on how technology has helped mainstream the LGBT community in the U.S.
Despite strict city-wide transportation regulations, Uber, the high-tech ride sharing service, is doing everything it can to capitalize on South by Southwest. But Saturday night, local police warned festival attendees against using it. “Use only permitted transportation services,” the Austin police department tweeted Saturday night in a jab at ride-sharing services.
They linked to a blog with more details:
Unpermitted ground transportation services are possibly recruiting for drivers in Austin, so the City of Austin wants people to be aware of the rules and risks before unintentionally breaking the law and incurring legal costs.
Regulations call for a minimum fare of $55 and rides arranged 30 minutes in advance. The steep price cuts novel ride-sharing services out of the market. In the blog, the police department warned that non-compliance could result in a $500 fine for each violation. Police might even impound violating vehicles.
Despite these challenges, Uber Austin offers a few SXSW services that comply with the law. Uber pedicabs, or bicycle taxis, are advertised as a way to soak up the scenery. UberBLACK requires a minimum fare of $55 in order to accommodate pricey regulations. Riders get a ride in a stylish black sedan equipped with water bottles and Blowfish “hangover remedy.”
But when asked in a tweet if Uber rides were permitted, the police department replied with a sweeping, “No they are not.”
Uber is using the festival to edge its service into Austin. The Austin Uber Twitter account is flush with “you're welcomes” to happy customers and apologies for the state-induced supply shortage. Uber started a campaign with the #AustinNeedsUber hashtag. Customers are using the hashtag to complain about the shortage of taxis in a packed SXSW climate.
Ride-sharing services have had a difficult time entering new cities. Taxicab interests, feeling threatened by the new tech, have fought against the startup in cities all over the world. French drivers attacked an Uber car a couple months ago. New Orleans municipal government issued a cease-and-desist letter to Uber, though it does not offer rides there. Chicago, Milwaukee, and most recently Seattle, are just a few of the most recent battlegrounds.
Read more from Reason.com on Uber.
A federal inspector general is launching a review into what went wrong with Maryland's health insurance exchange, the first examination focused specifically on how millions of dollars in federal money was spent by the state, according to the lawmaker who requested the probe.
Rep. Andy Harris, a Baltimore County Republican and vocal opponent of President Barack Obama's health care law, said officials with the inspector general for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had contacted him and indicated they will look into the creation of the state's glitch-prone exchange.
The probe, which Harris said would likely begin in a matter of weeks, is the first of its kind to be revealed publicly.
The Government Accountability Office is already looking into how Oregon managed to spend more than $300 million in federal exchange funding on an online enrollment system that is, for all practical purposes, completely broken; the GAO operation may expand into other states as well.
There have been calls for investigations at the state-level as well. A state auditor said at the beginning of the year that there would be an investigation of Minnesota’s exchanges, which also had a slew of technical problems. The state Republican party in Vermont is also pushing for an investigation of its exchange.
That so many of the enthusiastically embraced the health law experienced so many troubles with their exchanges might suggest that there serious systemic management and administration issues within the blue states that tried and failed to build the online marketplaces—and that it’s probably worth investigating what went wrong.
But if you ask The New York Times editorial board, it’s Republicans pushing for investigations who are really at fault. GOP leaders, the paper’s editorial page complains, “are doing little to solve the difficulties and are instead threatening to recover money not yet spent on enrolling people, and harassing state officials with requests for information about the salaries and vacation time of directors of the state exchanges.”
So requests for information about the actions of senior officials in charge of implementing large programs and attempts to stop payment on failed government projects now constitute a form of “harassment?” Alternatively, one might refer to this as “oversight,” or even just basic administrative competence and responsibility. But for at least some of the health law's supporters, it appears increasingly difficult to favor those things and Obamacare at the same time.
great article that highlights the awful situation in Venezuela and its experience with socialism.City. A.M. Editor Allister Heath has written a
From City A.M.:
Food is running out, as are other essentials, even though the country claims the world’s largest oil reserves. There are shortages of toilet paper and soap, empty shelves and massive crowds queuing for hours in front of supermarkets. Patients are sometimes having to buy their own medicines; doctors are warning that 95 per cent of hospitals have only five per cent of the supplies they need. The central bank’s scarcity index has reached a record of 28 per cent, which means that more than one in four basic goods are out of stock at any time; and the situation has worsened considerably since the figures were last compiled.
The reason? A brain-dead rejection of basic economics, and a hardline, anti-market approach of the worst possible kind. There are maximum prices, other prices controls, profit controls, capital controls, nationalisations, expropriations and every other statist, atavistic policy you can think of. An extreme left wing government has waged war on capitalism and won; and as ever, ordinary people are paying the price.
Heath goes on to mention Venezuela’s very high murder rate:
Independent observers estimate that there were close to 25,000 murders in 2013, five times the amount seen in 1998, when the current regime took over and really started to wreck the country.
Heath points out that the U.K., which has more than twice the population of Venezuela, recorded 532 murders in the year to June 2013.
The Venezuelan Violence Observatory estimates that Venezuela’s murder rate was 79 per 100,000 people last year. The U.S., which is one of the developed world’s most homicidal nations, recorded a murder and nonnegligent manslaughter rate of 4.8 per 100,000 people in 2012.
Heath concludes by saying that the situation in Venezuela is just as relevant as the situation in Ukraine because economic illiteracy is not geographically restricted:
This is a hugely important story and yet one which has been covered insufficiently prominently in the UK, partly because we are understandably more concerned with what is happening closer to home in Ukraine. Yet the political blunders and the economic illiteracy at play in Venezuela have universal applicability, and are therefore just as relevant to us than Putin’s power grab.
The lesson from all of that is clear. Socialism doesn’t work. Price controls don’t work. Stealing people’s property doesn’t work. Chasing away foreigners doesn’t work. Destroying the supply-side of an economy doesn’t work. Supply, unsurprisingly, has collapsed, as has investment, and that means fewer goods in the shops as well as reduced incomes. Companies aren’t allowed to increase prices, despite rampant inflation, so they are not selling at all. It is a spectacularly horrible case of what FA Hayek called the Road to Serfdom. The world must pay more attention to Venezuela’s plight.
Ongoing anti-government protests began earlier this year. Today it was reported that a student leader was shot dead at a protest in western Venezuela. According to journalist Rafael Osío Cabrices, the protests have prompted the government to respond “with massive military force, raiding offices and houses without judicial orders, imprisoning civilians in military compounds and applauding the killing of protesters by paramilitary groups.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly the Venezuelan government's behavior didn't stop the actor Sean Penn from recently posing with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for a selfie.
More from Reason.com on Venezuela here.
Orlando police take the alleged sale of marijuana in their city very seriously. They use a tactic called “knock and talk,” where cops try to get residents to open their doors voluntarily so they can snoop around for evidence of wrongdoing. Sounds kind of skeevy, right?
Now a knock and talk that involved eight officers and ended with a fatal police shootings is yielding a lawsuit for the Orlando Police Department. Last January, cops responded to a tip about marijuana being sold by attempting a “knock and talk” that involved them peering through a porch window. Police say they saw a gun through the window, and that when 19-year-old Karvas Gamble Jr. reached for it, a cop fatally shot him in the abdomen. It was the second fatal police shooting for Orlando cops in 24 hours. Eventually, an appeals court ruled that cops can’t enter porches, or backyards or patios for that matter, without permission or a warrant, but while a grand jury found the “knock and talk” poorly planned, it declined to charge cops with any crime.
Now a lawsuit over the incident is being planned by the Florida Civil Rights Association, which has already notified the city of its intent, as required by law. The association’s argument, via the Orlando Sentinel:
"During the 'Knock and Talk' event, OPD officers did not simply walk up to the front door, knock, and speak with whomever answered the door. They instead surrounded the structure, hid in the backyard, looked inside windows, and were in places they had no lawful right to be," the Florida Civil Rights Association stated in a news release.
At the heart of this conflict between the executive and legislative branches is a report Congressional staffers have put together said to be extremely critical of the brutal interrogation methods (torture) used by the CIA under the Bush administration. The massive 6,300-page inquiry is classified, but many are pressuring the Department of Justice and White House for its release.
On the Senate floor, Feinstein said that she had not been responding to previous media reports, but felt that she had to come forward now due to inaccurate information being pushed out. To bulletpoint her 50-minute speech: