You are browsing the archive for 2015 July.

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New York State Department of Health Announces Five Medical Marijuana Producers

July 31, 2015 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By mfarrington

Statement by the Drug Policy Alliance and Compassionate Care NY

July 31, 2015

Drug Policy Alliance

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Source: DRUG POLICY

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Two Takeaways from Samuel DuBose's Killing

July 31, 2015 in Economics

By Matthew Feeney

Matthew Feeney

There are two key takeaways from Samuel DuBose’s unnecessary and tragic death at the hands of University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing: 1) body cameras can play a crucial role in police misconduct investigations, and 2) even police officers wearing body cameras can behave poorly.

To be sure, DuBose’s killing is not the first time that body camera footage has proven instrumental in bringing charges against police officers.

One of the best known examples is the killing of James Boyd, a homeless paranoid schizophrenic who was shot and killed in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains by Albuquerque Police Department officers. The shooting was filmed by body cameras. A special prosecutor is pursuing second-degree murder charges against two of the officers involved in the incident.

The Bernalillo County, New Mexico district attorney, who initially pursued murder charges before being disqualified from the case, said when speaking about the charges that, “We have evidence in this case to establish probable cause we didn’t have in other cases.”

Similarly, when Hamilton County, Ohio prosecutor Joe Deters announced the murder and voluntary manslaughter charges against Ray Tensing he described the body camera video as “invaluable.”

The more widespread use of body cameras will make it easier for the American public to better understand how police officers do their jobs and under what circumstances they feel that it is necessary to resort to deadly force.”

On Wednesday The Washington Post, which this year is tracking deadly police shootings, reported that of the 558 fatal police shootings in America in 2015 (the figure is now 559) only four have resulted in criminal charges against the officer.

All four of these shootings were caught on camera.

It is of course the case that some of the 558 fatal police shootings were justified. Indeed, body camera footage has vindicated officers who have killed people. Police officers do regrettably have to use their weapons sometimes. But the more widespread use of body cameras will make it easier for the American public to better understand how police officers do their jobs and under what circumstances they feel that it is necessary to resort to deadly force.

It is very likely that body cameras will be more widely used by American police. There is “overwhelming” public support for police body cameras and lawmakers in many states have introduced legislation outlining body camera policies. Michael White, a professor in …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Apprehensive about comprehensive political reform

July 31, 2015 in Economics

By Gary Galles

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Apprehensive about comprehensive political reform

July 31, 2015

Despite the problems that bedevil comprehensive political plans, there is one central plan that can benefit all members of a society (except for predators on others) — the joint protection of everyone’s private property. As Locke…

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Modern Tea Party Tosses Olympics

July 31, 2015 in Economics

By David Boaz

David Boaz

Boston, the home of the original American tax revolt, has just dodged a big tax bill by dropping its bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.

The Boston Tea Party in 1773 expressed Americans’ growing resentment of British control and their demand for “no taxation without representation.”

After Americans got a sense of what taxation could be like even in a democracy, a tax revolt swept the country, from California’s Proposition 13 in 1978 to Massachusetts’ Proposition 2½ in 1980.

And now Bostonians have once again said “No” to their ruling elite.

As usual, Boston’s Olympics bid was supported by business leaders, construction companies, university presidents, the mayor and other establishment figures.

‘10 people on Twitter’ manage to best Hub elites.”

The opposition was led largely by three young professionals who set up the No Boston Olympics organization. The construction magnate who headed the local Olympic committee dismissed the group early on, asking: “Who are they and what currency do they have?”

Even at the press conference on the day the city’s bid ended, Mayor Marty Walsh grumbled, “The opposition for the most part is about 10 people on Twitter.”

Apparently those 10 people did a lot of tweeting, to significant effect. After the bid collapsed, WBUR radio noted, “No Boston Olympics was persistent with its message that hosting the games was risky, expensive and would leave taxpayers footing the bill with no economic gains.”

In the station’s monthly polls, opposition to the Olympics rose steadily over the spring from 33 percent to 53 percent.

Some planners and politicos were beside themselves at the withdrawal of the bid. Thomas J. Whalen, a political historian at Boston University, told The New York Times that it sent a discouraging message:

“The time of big dreams, big accomplishments, is over. ‘Think small,’ that’s the mantra for Massachusetts. ‘Limit your dreams’ ” he said. Worse, he said, the end of the bid took away a great opportunity for a “master development plan for Boston.” That is, it took away an opportunity for planners and moguls to tell the people of Boston where and how to live.

The head of the bid committee once lamented that “what bothers me a lot is the decline of pride, of patriotism and love of our country.”

No doubt the East India Company and King George III felt the same way in 1773.

The critics knew something that the Olympic enthusiasts tried to forget: Megaprojects like the Olympics …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Nevada’s New Voucher Plan Is Designed to Bankrupt Public Schools

July 31, 2015 in Blogs

By Jan Resseger, janresseger

Now they're pushing vouchers for upper-income families.


Nevada is one of our nation’s 24 one-party, all Republican statesWriting for the Washington Post, Lyndsey Layton and Emma Brown note that, “In January, Republicans took control of the Nevada legislature and the governor’s mansion for the first time since 1929, generating the political momentum to enact the country’s most expansive voucher plan. …Starting next school year, any parent in Nevada can pull a child from the state’s public schools and take tax dollars with them, giving families the option to use public money to pay for private or parochial school or even for home schooling… Nevada’s law is singular because all of the state’s 450,000 K-12 public school children—regardless of income—are eligible to take the money to whatever school they choose.” A child must be enrolled in a public school for at least 100 days in order to qualify.

Layton and Brown report that the new Nevada voucher bill was developed with the assistance of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, the foundation Jeb Bush launched in 2008, but from which he resigned at the end of 2014 to prepare for his presidential run. The Foundation’s chief executive Patricia Levesque describes Nevada’s new voucher bill: “This is the wave of the future.  In all aspects of our life, we look for ways to customize and give individuals more control over their path and destiny…. This is a fundamental shift in how we make decisions about education.”

The Education Law Center recently circulated an analysis of Nevada’s new school vouchers from Educate Nevada Now, a statewide organization that promotes public education:

“The ESA (Education Savings Account) law requires the ‘statewide average basic support per pupil’—$5,100 per student and $5,710 for low-income and students with disabilities—be deposited into each ESA (Education Savings Account) from local district budgets, a process that will divert, over time, substantial resources from the public schools.  Studies have shown that Nevada substantially underfunds K-12 public education… ESAs will trigger an outflow of funds from already inadequate school district budgets, beginning in the 2015-16 school year… As children leave public schools …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Remembering Milton Friedman

July 31, 2015 in Economics

July 31 is the birthday of prominent free-market economist Milton Friedman, recipient of the 1976 Nobel Prize for Economic Science. Friedman, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 94, was widely regarded as the leader of the Chicago School of monetary economics. In addition to his scientific work, Friedman also wrote extensively on public policy, always with primary emphasis on the preservation and extension of individual freedom. Friedman’s ideas on economic freedom hugely influenced both the Reagan administration and the Thatcher government in the early 1980s, revolutionized establishment economic thinking across the globe, and have been employed extensively by emerging economies for decades.

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Source: CATO HEADLINES

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Bernie Sanders Draws Army of 100,000 Volunteers to First Nationwide Organizing Event

July 30, 2015 in Blogs

By Zaid Jilani, AlterNet

And this is from a man who is not taking corporate PAC money and is relying on small donors.


Over 100,000 people came together for Bernie Sanders' first nationwide organizing event on Wednesday. Sanders spoke to this army of volunteers via a video livestream, telling them they are needed if he is to overcome the power of what he calls the “billionaire class” – the tight group of the wealthy and corporations that own both the economy and political system.

Sanders, unlike his opponents, is not cultivating a super PAC. He's not taking corporate PAC money, and he is relying on small donors; 81 percent of his donations in the first quarter were from people giving less than $200.

This puts him at a huge monetary disadvantage. Two billionaire brothers in Texas gave a pro-Ted Cruz super PAC $15 million, as much money as Sanders has raised in his whole campaign. But Sanders has a plan to make up the difference: people power.

At an event I attended in East Cobb County – the backyard of some of the nation's GOP power elite, such as Newt Gingrich, Tom Price, and Bob Barr – scores of people crowded into a tavern called Varner's.

“I've been a lifelong Republican, worked in Republican government 35 years,” explained one attendee who said Bernie Sanders has won her over. A common refrain at the meeting was shock and surprise that there were so many progressives in this supposedly conservative part of Georgia. But there were dozens of events across the state. One attendee at a nearby meeting in Acworth, Georgia, reported 80 attendees. Closer to Atlanta, 150 packed into a local Teamsters hall to watch the Bernie Sanders address.

There were numerous meetings just like this all over America, ranging from left-wing hotbeds like Brooklyn, New York to “a town in the Alaskan wilderness of about 1,000 residents.”

The Sanders campaign has organized itself around the principle that organizing people is the only way to take on organized money. With the massive crowds the candidate is drawing at …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Why We Made "Walt Disney"

July 30, 2015 in History

July 30, 2015 3:54 p.m.

Mark Samels, Executive Producer of American Experience, has wanted to make a biographical documentary of Walt Disney for many years. As Samels says, the iconic animator’s pervasive influence on American culture made him “a perfect subject for American Experience.”

“The challenge is, Disney is both a person and a brand,” Samels says, “And for 50 years, the Disney corporation has really been controlling of his image.” In this short video, Samels explains how American Experience‘s and PBS’s trustworthy reputations paved the way for filmmakers to gain unprecedented access to the Disney archives in order to tell the in-depth story of Walt Disney — without any editorial input or oversight from The Walt Disney Company.

Walt Disney premieres September 14 and 15 at 9/8c on PBS.

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Source: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE

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Trophy Hunting Helps Save Endangered Species

July 30, 2015 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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Trophy Hunting Helps Save Endangered Species

July 30, 2015

In certain contexts, an animal can be of little use or a nuisance, as in the case of a lion or elephant running unrestrained. On the other hand, the private market has done a lot of good work in providing more sanctuary for animals through

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Jon Stewart Makes Surprise Return to Standup After Unannounced Set By Louis CK

July 30, 2015 in Blogs

By Travis Gettys, Raw Story

Stewart accepted an invitation to go onstage at New York City’s Comedy Cellar, reports Gawker.


One lucky comedy crowd was treated to an incredible twin-billing when “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart made a surprise return to standup Wednesday night following an unannounced set by Louis CK.

Stewart accepted an invitation to go onstage at New York City’s Comedy Cellar as Louis CK tried out some new material, reported Gawker.

“Would Stewart like to go up next?” said Sean L. McCarthy, who attended the show. “Yes, it turned out. Very much so. Even if he just talked for 10 minutes, the prospect looked too juicy to pass up. Even if he was following CK. Perhaps because he was following CK. It’s fascinating to see and to know that a star goes through the same emotions before, during and after shaking off the proverbial rust of not having gone onstage as a stand-up in far too long.”

McCarthy, who writes for the Comic’s Comic website said Stewart opened by pointing it had been 20 years since he last tried standup comedy, and he closed by shouting, “I’m alive.”

Stewart, who’s stepping down next week after 17 years as host of the “Daily Show,” recently told his talk show audience that he could see himself returning to standup comedy.

“That’s how I started and that’s — I’m sure that’s how I will end,” he said. “Eighty years old, standing on stage, going ‘ah, come on!’”

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Source: ALTERNET