Subscribe: Reason Magazine Full Feed
http://www.reason.com/allarticles/index.xml
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade A rated
Language: English
Tags:
anderson  care  lincoln  new  people  president  primary care  reason  show  state  states  trump  united states  years 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: Reason Magazine Full Feed

Reason.com Full Feed



Articles and Posts from Reason.com



Updated: 2017-10-16T00:00:00-04:00

 



Not Even Lincoln Is Spared the Wrath of the Statue Topplers: New at Reason

2017-10-16T17:00:00-04:00

(image) Who would have guessed the author of the Gettysburg Address was a white supremacist? Sic semper tyrannis indeed.

Lindsay Marchello writes:

It began with Confederate monuments, but it was only a matter of time before the history of everyone ever commemorated in America was in dispute. Even Abraham Lincoln.

The statue of the 16th president and liberator of slaves at the top of Bascom Hill is one of the most beloved sites on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Graduating students and their families wait in line for hours in the spring to have their pictures taken in Lincoln's lap.

Wunk Sheek, an indigenous student group, does not share this sentiment. The group has charged that a statue of Lincoln has no place on campus.

"Everyone thinks of Lincoln as the great, you know, freer of slaves, but let's be real: He owned slaves, and as natives, we want people to know that he ordered the execution of native men," Misha Johnson, co-president of fiscal relations for Wunk Sheek told the Daily Cardinal, one of the student newspapers. "Just to have him here at the top of Bascom is just really belittling."

View this article.




Not Even Lincoln Is Spared the Wrath of the Statue Topplers

2017-10-16T17:00:00-04:00

It began with Confederate monuments, but it was only a matter of time before the history of everyone ever commemorated in America was in dispute. Even Abraham Lincoln. The statue of the 16th president and liberator of slaves at the top of Bascom Hill is one of the most beloved sites on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Graduating students and their families wait in line for hours in the spring to have their pictures taken in Lincoln's lap. Wunk Sheek, an indigenous student group, does not share this sentiment. The group has charged that a statue of Lincoln has no place on campus. "Everyone thinks of Lincoln as the great, you know, freer of slaves, but let's be real: He owned slaves, and as natives, we want people to know that he ordered the execution of native men," Misha Johnson, co-president of fiscal relations for Wunk Sheek told the Daily Cardinal, one of the student newspapers. "Just to have him here at the top of Bascom is just really belittling." It is wrong to say Lincoln ever owned slaves, but he was president during the Dakota War of 1862 and he did authorize the execution on December 26, 1862 of 38 Dakota men out of more than 300 convicted of war crimes in military tribunals. According to College Fix, university administration has said it has no intention of moving Lincoln anywhere. But the school is planning on putting up a handful of signs around campus to "interpret the 12,000 year history" of those who inhabited the land upon which the university was built. Madison's Lincoln has been under siege for a while now. Two years ago, during the height of Black Lives Matter protests, a group, "About Race UW," proposed removing the statue, but the idea never gained traction. Since then the Lincoln statue has been subjected to graffiti decrying all white people as racist and draped in a black tarp after the 2016 election. The UW student government this past Spring approved a resolution to educate the community about Lincoln's oppression of Native Americans, a resolution the administration never took up. Pressure to address racism and white supremacy after the terrible events at Charlottesville, where Neo-Nazis marched in the streets and one counter protester was killed, likely prompted UW Madison students and administrators to renew efforts to address the campus' history, including the Lincoln statue. Week Shunk insists the focus not be turned from Lincoln's part in the Dakota War punishment. The history, like all history, is more complicated than it has been portrayed by the activists. Between 400 and 800 U.S. citizens, 77 U.S. soldiers and more than 150 Dakota Native Americans died, although definitive numbers are hard to find. "Anxious to not act with so much clemency as to encourage another outbreak on the one hand, nor with so much severity as to be real cruelty on the other, I caused a careful examination of the records of trials to be made," Lincoln reportedly told the U.S. Senate after reviewing each trial of the over 300 Dakota men accused of war crimes. The causes leading up to a terrible and bloody war, the treatment of Native Americans after the war, and the fairness of the military tribunals are all valid parts of a larger historical discussion. Portraying Lincoln as a white supremacist who signed off on the execution of Native Americans distorts the discussion. Demanding the Lincoln statue be removed is demanding the discussion be silenced. Answering the demands of activists without any certainty that the complexities and nuances of history will be included reflects a troubling trend. Whether Christopher Columbus, Thomas Jefferson, or Lincoln, people need to be exposed to and learn to navigate the complexity of their shared history. Not enough history is required of students. Revising how history is taught in schools and universities is a possible solution to the complex question. Perhaps teachers could incorporate more first person accounts from a broader spectrum of voices to paint a more accurate picture of the past. Moving away from textbook learnin[...]



Bergdahl Pleads Guilty to Desertion, Ophelia Strikes Ireland, Verdict in Chelsea Bombing Trial: P.M. Links

2017-10-16T16:30:00-04:00

  • (image) Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has pleaded guilty to desertion and faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. He disappeared from his post in 2009 and was held in captivity by the Taliban until 2014.
  • Former Hurricane Ophelia has struck Ireland, with wind gusts up in the 80s. Three have been killed.
  • Ahmad Rahimi has been found guilty of eight federal charges for the pressure cooker bomb that exploded in a Chelsea, New York, neighborhood in 2016, injuring 30.
  • A Florida politician who says she has been abducted by aliens is running for Congress.
  • A federal judge declined today to dismiss any of the 18 corruption-related charges against New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez.
  • Some folks seem to think that Attorney General Jeff Sessions offering up a lawyer to assist in the prosecution of a man accused of murdering a transgender teen is some sort of proof of layers and complexity in a man with a long anti-LGBT background. The more likely, logical explanation is that he really, really likes putting people in prison for really long sentences.
  • The Clinton Foundation is keeping the $250,000 donation it has received from Harvey Weinstein. A spokesperson says they've spent the money on charitable causes.
  • A judge has ordered the imprisonment of two leaders of the Catalan independence movement while they're being investigated for sedition in Spain.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and don't forget to sign up for Reason's daily updates for more content.




Jerry Brown Vetoes Campus Sexual Assault Bill Because It Threatens Due Process

2017-10-16T15:29:00-04:00

(image) Today California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed Senate Bill 169, which would have codified the Obama-era Education Department's guidance for how college campuses should deal with sexual misconduct.

What's more, he vetoed the bill on explicit due-process grounds. Accused students, guilty or not, "must be treated fairly and with the presumption of innocence until the facts speak otherwise," he wrote in a statement.

Brown's veto comes at a time when the new Education Department, led by Betsy DeVos, is revising the guidance. The Obama-era approach had prompted college officials to adopt investigatory procedures that imperiled free speech and due process. DeVos' department recently formally rescinded the most onerous of the dictates.

The California legislature tried to ensure that schools keep doing things the old way. But as Brown noted:

Thoughtful legal minds have increasingly questioned whether federal and state actions to prevent and redress sexual harassment and assault—well-intentioned as they are—have also unintentionally resulted in some colleges' failure to uphold due process for accused students. Depriving any student of higher education opportunities should not be done lightly, or out of fear of losing state or federal funding.

Given the strong state of our laws already, I am not prepared to codify additional requirements in reaction to a shifting federal landscape, when we haven't yet ascertained the full impact of what we recently enacted. We have no insight into how many formal investigations result in expulsion, what circumstances lead to expulsion, or whether there is disproportionate impact on race or ethnicity.

Brown isn't wrong to suggest that the softening of due process protections for accused students might have disproportionately affected students of color. As Emily Yoffe discussed in a thoroughly reported series for The Atlantic, there are good reasons to think minority students are much more likely to run afoul of the campus anti-rape bureaucracy.

I'm pleasantly surprised that Brown vetoed this bill and released such a strong statement reaffirming the importance of due process protections. It's a brave stance that makes him an outlier within the Democratic Party, whose leaders have been far more likely to condemn DeVos for trying to tamper with the system.




Harvey Weinstein and the End of Open Secrets: Podcast

2017-10-16T15:15:00-04:00

Is Harvey Weinstein the embodiment of Hollywood sleaze, or the last straggler in a bygone age of pervasive sexual harassment? Reason's Nick Gillespie, Katherine-Mangu Ward, and Matt Welch join Andrew Heaton to discuss how social media is bringing an end to open secrets.

Also, President Obama's Iran nuclear deal is now in limbo. Is it inevitable that Iran will get the bomb? Can nuclear proliferation actually make the world safer?

Other topics: the latest threats to the First Amendment, and how Donald Trump is changing American health care.

Some relevant links from the show:

Reason's Ed Krayewski: "Trump Kicks Iran Deal Decisions Over to Congress"

Jonathan Tepperman for Newsweek: "How Nuclear Weapons Can Keep You Safe"

Mamta Badkar for Business Insider: "Here's Why Sanctions Don't Work"

David Harsanyi for Reason: "Even if Trump's Threat Against NBC Isn't Serious, It's Still Destructive"

The New York Times: "The Times Issues Social Media Guidelines for the Newsroom"

Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey for the The New York Times: "Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades"

Maureen Dowd for the The New York Times: "Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood's Oldest Horror Story"

Reason's Peter Suderman: "Trump's New Executive Order Makes It Easier to Buy Insurance Outside of Obamacare"

Reason's Peter Suderman: "By Cutting Off Obamacare's Insurer Subsidies, Trump Might Help More People Get Health Coverage."

Topic ideas for next week? You can tweet suggestions and links to @Reason #ReasonPodcast

Subscribe, rate, and review the Reason Podcast at iTunes. Listen at SoundCloud below:

src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/347178717%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-pJZxv&color=%23f37021&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true" width="100%" height="300" frameborder="0">

Don't miss a single Reason podcast! (Archive here.)

Subscribe at iTunes.

Follow us at SoundCloud.

Subscribe at YouTube.

Like us on Facebook.

Follow us on Twitter.




California Opts to Officially Recognize Nonbinary Gender

2017-10-16T15:00:00-04:00

(image) California will become the first U.S. state to allow a nonbinary sex or gender designation on all standard state documents, including drivers licenses and birth certificates. Democratic Gov. Gerry Brown signed the bill on Sunday, meaning Californians will be able to choose "X" as their official sex or gender.

"For too long society has forced people into gender boxes," said state Sen. Scott Weiner (D–San Francisco), who co-sponsored the legislation with state Sen. Toni Atkins (D–San Diego). "It's time for government to get out of the way and let people live their lives authentically as who they are."

The new law also makes it easier to apply for a gender change on official documents, removing a requirement that applicants must have undergone physician-certified medical treatment toward a gender transition.

"I have dear friends in San Diego and around the state who have been waiting a long time for this," Atkins said after the signing. "I'm happy I was in a position to move this forward."

Atkins thanked Brown for recognizing "how difficult it can be for our transgender, nonbinary, and intersex family members, friends, and neighbors when they don't have an ID that matches their gender presentation" and said she hopes the change will "eliminate unnecessary stress and anxiety for many Californians."

The law goes into effect in January 2019.

Earlier this year, Oregon became the first state allow a nonbinary option on driver's licenses, becoming the first state to do so. For more on why libertarians should appreciate the change, see:

Here's hoping more states follow California and Oregon's lead.




Rick Perry, Coal, and Crony Capitalism

2017-10-16T14:45:00-04:00

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has ordered the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to save the coal mining industry by massively subsidizing conventional coal-fired electricity generation plants. That's not the way he put it, of course. But Perry's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Grid Resiliency amounts to that, argues Steve Huntoon*, former president of the Energy Bar Association. In "Cash for Clunkers Redux," an article for RTO Insider, Huntoon makes the case that the Trump administration is engaged here in pure crony capitalism, using the excuse that subsidies to uneconomic coal and nuclear power plants are needed to stabilize the electric power grid. If Perry's policy is enacted, Huntoon predicts that federal subsidies would bring some 71 gigawatts of recently retired power generation back from the dead. He doesn't expect the subsidies to stop there. Piling subsidies on top of already uneconomic power plants will drive down the price of electricity, which in turn will force formerly profitable power onto the dole. Eventually it'll be subsidies all the way down. Huntoon calculates that such subsidies for conventional generation could eventually rise to as much as $88 billion a year, forever. (For comparison, the Institute for Energy Research estimated that federal renewable energy subsidies amounted to $13.2 billion in 2013.) Would requiring newly subsidized power plants to maintain 90-day supplies of coal and nuclear fuel really increase grid resiliency? The DOE cited the power outages in that occurred during the 2014 polar vortex, which froze the mid-Atlantic states. Yet Huntoon notes that the generation emergencies in question aggregated just 20 hours."What is magic about 90 days (other than being tailored to the average coal plant stockpile)?" he asks. Furthermore, Huntoon points out, "Here's a fun fact you won't find in [Perry's proposed rulemaking]: Baseload (combined cycle) natural gas plants average lower forced outage rates (4.29%) than baseload coal plants (7.71%), and have about the same as nuclear plants (3.51%). It's these overall forced outage rates that matter—not a single metric like fuel supply on site." Baseload coal plants are more unreliable than other types of power generators. Disturbingly, it appears that FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee is receptive to Perry's proposal. "There is no free market in the energy industry," Perry declared in a recent speech. Over at the R Street Institute, a free-market think thank, energy analyst William Murray countered: The truth is that free and unfettered price discovery in electricity markets is the most important element in grid resiliency. Perry is involved in a subterfuge, a deception that even someone of his legitimate political skills has trouble pulling off. The administration is in the position of being forced to come up with creative ways to fulfill promises made directly by President Donald Trump to coal mine owners during the election campaign, even at the cost of free markets—a supposed core belief among Republicans and conservatives of all strips. As I argued when the Secretary of Energy unveiled his subsidy proposal: "Maintaining grid resilience is a real issue, but there is more than a whiff of crony capitalism about Perry's initiative to establish capacity payments for conventional power generators. Better to roll back market distortions than to pile new distortions upon the old." **Disclosure: I am proud to say that Steve Huntoon has been my friend ever since we met at the University of Virginia as undergraduates. In addition, I was a mid-level bureaucrat at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for three years in the late 1970s and early 1980s.* [...]



After Several Major Tax Increases, Connecticut Still Can't Make Ends Meet

2017-10-16T14:30:00-04:00

(image) Connecticut has long been one of the richest states in the union, but its bloated public sector has now engulfed it in a fiscal crisis.

The rising cost of public employees' retirement benefits has prompted the state to raise taxes three times in the last eight years. The public employee unions are adamant that the problem can be solved only by more taxation, and they have threatened to sue if any changes are made to the present payouts. Gov. Dannel Malloy and the General Assembly haven't been able to agree on what to do, leaving the state without a budget for more than 100 days.

The state is $74 billion short of what it needs to fund those retirement benefits and the state's bonded debt obligations. As of 2014, according to The Wall Street Journal, Connecticut ranked 48th in pension funding, meeting only 50 percent of its obligations. The state is looking at a budget deficit of $3.5 billion, out of a budget of about $19 billion.

The last time Connecticut faced financial difficulties of this size was in 1991. From 1984 and 1990, the cost of state pensions increased by 119 percent, according to The Connecticut Mirror. That led the state to impose its first-ever income tax. But the income tax revenue—$126 billion over the following 25 years—did little to restrain spending, and funding for pension programs is still inadequate. Retirement costs and debt services were 12 percent of the state budget 20 years ago. In this fiscal year, they will be 31 percent.

State workers in Connecticut make about 42 percent more than equivalent jobs in the private sector—the widest such gap in the country, according to a 2014 American Enterprise Institute study. Their retirement health benefits were the equivalent of an individual employee getting an additional 18 percent in wages for each working year.

A JP Morgan report published last year said that to fully meet its unfunded liabilities, Connecticut has four options: It can pay 35 percent of state revenues toward its debt for 30 years, it can cut the state budget by 14 percent, it can increase taxes 14 percent, or it can increase worker contributions to their pensions by 699 percent. None of those choices are palatable to most lawmakers.

In September enough Democrats joined their GOP colleagues to pass the state's first Republican budget in years. The Democratic governor vetoed it, citing its cuts to state pensions as one of his concerns. Until Connecticut gets a budget, Malloy is managing the state finances by executive order.




Comedians Should Make Jokes About Harvey Weinstein. We Rely on Them to Tell Tough Truths.

2017-10-16T14:15:00-04:00

Comedian James Corden is doing a little Twitter apology tour after joking about Harvey Weinstein's decades of sexual misbehavior at the amfAR gala this weekend: To be clear, sexual assault is no laughing matter. I was not trying to make light of Harvey's inexcusable behavior, (1/2) — James Corden (@JKCorden) October 15, 2017 But in fact, for years the only people who managed to speak the truth in public about Weinstein were jokesters: .@Courtney Love's advice in 2005: "If Harvey Weinstein invites you to a party at the Four Seasons, don't go." pic.twitter.com/I1Zq0WvVNM — HannahJane Parkinson (@ladyhaja) October 14, 2017 Tina Fey, now a Hollywood power player in her own right, has been making Harvey Weinstein jokes for years: src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0ceNfXrccbQ" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" width="560" height="340" frameborder="0"> In a later season, the same character jokes: "Look, I get it. I know how former lovers can have a hold over you long after they're gone....In some ways, I'm still pinned under a passed-out Harvey Weinstein and it's Thanksgiving." Fey also made jokes about Bill Cosby's reputation for sexual assault before it was cool, on Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update and in a 30 Rock episode featuring a confrontation with a Cosby impersonator: Jack Donaghy: I've arranged for one of Tracy's childhood idols to reach out to him. Tracy Jordan: Hello? Jack Donaghy: Tracy, this is Jack, I have someone here who wants to speak with you. Rick: Tracy, this is Bill Cosby... Liz Lemon: [whispering] Really? This is your strategy? Jack Donaghy: [whispering and smiling] I heard him do this at a party! Rick: ...I want you to come back to the TGS for the people who like the jokes and the things. Tracy Jordan: Bill Cosby, you got a lotta nerve gettin' on the phone wit' me after what you did to my Aunt Paulette! Rick: I think you're confusing me with someone else. Tracy Jordan: 1971. Cincinnati. She was a cocktail waitress with the droopy eye! Rick: I'm the guy... with the pudding... In fact, the final (please God, let it be final) downfall of Cosby was ultimately triggered by a comedian, Hannibal Buress, who in 2014 urged people to google "Bill Cosby rape" during a standup routine that went viral. Thanks to Twitter, we can all be pundit-comedians about the latest scandal. But top-of-the-market comedians are in a better position than most of us to know about and expose pernicious open secrets in Hollywood. This can get tiresome, of course, when it's not done judiciously (cough, Daily Show, cough). And it can be disastrous if done to an ordinary person on the basis of bad facts or misunderstandings. But when it comes to exposing the misdeeds of powerful people who have plenty of lawyers, more jokes are better than no jokes. This isn't about the First Amendment or censorship; the legal right to make such jokes—outside of the workplace, anyway—is clearly established. It's about where we make space in our culture for this type of humor. Where there are powerful people doing bad things (read: all times and all places), there must be comedians, pranksters, and satirists. We have to leave space to talk about horrible things in a funny way, because sometimes that's the only way we can talk about them at all. It's no good tsk-tsking at comedians for making light of sexual assault when dozens or hundreds of very serious and important people who knew the same information offered only silence. Under the right circumstances, literally everything is a laughing matter. src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zHxt-eP-stc" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" width="560" height="340" frameborder="0"> [...]



These Doctors Got Fed Up With Insurance. Now They Treat Their Patients Like Valued Customers: New at Reason

2017-10-16T14:00:00-04:00

src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6-Vqjo2S1us" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" width="560" height="340" frameborder="0">

One of the most profound changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act is that it drove thousands of independent doctors to throw in the towel and join large hospital networks. This is particularly true of primary care doctors. As the rules involving medical records, billing codes, and prior authorizations have gotten more complex, physicians find they can't survive without joining large health care networks. And they're becoming increasingly demoralized.

Today there's a small but growing movement of doctors who are opting out of the traditional health care system by no longer accepting insurance. This new approach is is called "direct primary care," but it's essentially a throwback to an era before insurance companies were responsible for covering routine services like ear infections or strep cultures.

Click here for full text and downloadable versions.

Subscribe at YouTube.

Like us on Facebook.

Follow us on Twitter.

Subscribe to our podcast at iTunes.

View this article.




These Doctors Got Fed Up With Insurance. Now They Treat Their Patients Like Valued Customers.

2017-10-16T13:57:00-04:00

One of the most profound changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act is that it drove thousands of independent doctors to throw in the towel and join large hospital networks. This is particularly true of primary care doctors. As the rules involving medical records, billing codes, and prior authorizations have gotten more complex, physicians find they can't survive without joining large health care networks. And they're becoming increasingly demoralized. Today there's a small but growing movement of doctors who are opting out of the traditional health care system by no longer accepting insurance. This new approach is is called "direct primary care," but it's essentially a throwback to an era before insurance companies were responsible for covering routine services like ear infections or strep cultures. When companies like Aetna, Blue Cross, and Oxford started signing the checks for even minor health care expense, it had a destructive impact on the doctor-patient relationship. The direct primary care movement is an attempt to reverse the damage. Dr. Ryan Neuhofel, who's been running his own direct primary care practice in Lawrence, Kansas since 2011, has a page on his website that lists the cost of each procedure, which the patient, not the insurance company, actually pays. Need an x-ray? That's $25 to 40, along with a monthly subscription fee that runs from $35 for minors to $130 for a family of four. Most direct primary care practices charge a monthly subscription fee. It allows them to offer other services, like answering patient phone calls, text messages, or even having appointments over Skype—services that our insurance-dominated system doesn't allow for. "Because I'm membership supported if someone calls me and says, 'hey, I have a rash,' they can send a picture," Neuhofel says. Removing the interference of third parties changes the dynamic between patients and their doctors. "We're able to be creative in meeting their needs," Neuhofel says. "[We are] able to give them transparency in pricing, and redesign the entire health care experience around what patients really need." Direct primary care physicians are able to charge less than traditional practices because the lack of coding and billing means they don't need to hire support staff. The direct primary care movement is a way of opting out of an industry that's dominated by a cartel of hospital and insurance companies, thus insulating doctors and patients from policies crafted on Capitol Hill. But there are some changes to the tax code that could speed adoption. The IRS doesn't allow patients to use their tax-deductible Health Savings Accounts to pay direct primary care doctors. In fact, just having a direct primary care subscription disqualifies individuals from contributing to an HSA at all. Dr. Neu and others have been meeting with lawmakers and proposing legislation that would change this. "We're not living off the reservation just because we're cowboys," Neuhofel says. "We're doing it so we can provide great care, but at the same time we need to figure out how we integrate with the larger health care system." Shot and produced by Mark McDaniel. Music by Candlegravity, Podington Bear, and Nine Inch Nails. All music is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Subscribe to our podcast at iTunes. [...]



Hospital Won’t Let Dad Donate Kidney to His Sick 2-Year-Old Son Because of Gun Arrest

2017-10-16T13:20:00-04:00

(image) A.J. Burgess, a 2-year-old boy born without functional kidneys, is in desperate need of a transplant. His father, Anthony Dickerson, a perfect match, was prepared to undergo transplant surgery until he was arrested for violating his parole.

Dickerson was "in possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of or attempt to commit certain felonies," according to WGCL-TV. He's been released from prison, but the hospital won't perform surgery until his parole officer gives the okay.

That could take three to four months—the hospital wants to revisit the issue in January. Of course, there's no guarantee Burgess will live that long. He has to undergo dialysis every day. His body is failing. He has to have bladder surgery. He needs a kidney now, and a highly motivated donor—his father—is willing to give him one.

What dad's criminal record has to do with it is anyone's guess. The hospital has declined to answer reporters' questions, citing patient privacy laws.

Dickerson has made some bad personal choices in his life—he's been in and out of jail for years. Now he's trying to do something positive, and the hospital won't let him, primarily because he was involved with a weapon when he shouldn't have been.

Not to put too fine a point on this, because there's plenty else going on—it sounds like Dickerson was involved in criminal activity, independent of his illegal gun possession—but I suspect liberals like to imagine stricter gun control means a peaceful and voluntary gradual disarmament of a gun-weary citizenry.

Maybe that's gun control in theory. In practice, stricter gun control means giving the government more reasons to interfere in the lives of black and brown people who are already wary of the police. It mean rap sheets of low level offenders become lengthier—they did something bad, and they happened to have a weapon while they did it, even though one had nothing to do with the other. It means more people in color getting caught up on technicalities that ruin their lives and endanger the lives of their children.

Burgess's mother has set up a GoFundMe page for him here.




Man Busted for Meth That Was Actually Donut Glaze Gets $37,500 for His Trouble

2017-10-16T13:05:00-04:00

A man who was arrested for possession of "methamphetamine" that turned out to be donut glaze recently received $37,500 from the city of Orlando for his trouble. The payment settles a lawsuit that Daniel Rushing, a 65-year-old retiree who used to work for the city's Parks Department, brought after a traffic stop that illustrates the limits of drug field tests and the cops who perform them. Cpl. Shelby Riggs-Hopkins pulled Rushing over on the afternoon of December 11, 2015, ostensibly because he did not make a complete stop as he pulled out of a 7-Eleven parking lot and subsequently exceeded the speed limit. But those offenses seem to have been pretexts. Riggs-Hopkins had been keeping an eye on the convenience store because of "citizen complaints about drug activity" and thought it was suspicious that Rushing, who was giving a lift to a friend, left without buying anything, in the company of a "black female employee of the 7-11." When Rushing opened his wallet to retrieve his driver's license, Riggs-Hopkins noticed that he had a concealed-carry permit and asked if he was armed. He said he was, and she asked him to get out of his car "for my safety." At that point Riggs-Hopkins "observed in plain view a rock-like substance on the floor board where his feet were." The eagle-eyed, street-savvy cop recalled that she "recognized, through my eleven years of training and experience as a law enforcement officer, the substance to be some sort of narcotic." The suspect "stated that the substance is sugar from a Krispy Kreme Donut that he ate," but Riggs-Hopkins knew better: Two field tests of the "rock-like substance" gave "a positive indication for the presence of amphetamines." Rushing said Riggs-Hopkins initially was not sure what "sort of narcotic" she had discovered. "I kept telling them, 'That's…glaze from a doughnut," Rushing told the Orlando Sentinel. "They tried to say it was crack cocaine at first. Then they said, 'No, it's meth, crystal meth.'" Adding insult to injury, Rushing was accused of possessing meth "with a weapon" (his legally carried handgun), which made a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, into a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. He was handcuffed and taken to the county jail, where he was strip-searched and locked up for 10 hours before being released on $2,500 bail. Three days later, after a lab test found no illegal substance in the evidence recovered by Riggs-Hopkins, the charges against Rushing were dropped. The lab test was not specific enough to identify which brand of donut the glaze came from, so we'll just have to take Rushing's word that it was indeed a Krispy Kreme. Rushing told the Sentinel he had tried to start a security business but could not find work because "people go online and see that you've been arrested." The Orlando Police Department (OPD) initially defended the arrest. But according to the Sentinel, the OPD "ended up training more than 730 officers on how to properly use the field test kits," and "Riggs-Hopkins was given a written reprimand for making an improper arrest." In addition to the city of Orlando, Rushing sued the Safariland Group, which made the test kit used by Riggs-Hopkins. Although the OPD evidently attributes the two false positives that preceded Rushing's arrest to Riggs-Hopkins' inept performance of the drug test, such field kits are notoriously unreliable and may react to a wide range of legal substances. Faulty field tests were at the center of a 2012 Kansas marijuana raid triggered by loose tea, a case that last summer resulted in a rebuke by a federal appeals court panel. One of the judges faulted "junk science" as well as "an incompetent investigation" and a thirst for pu[...]



California Partially Repeals Foolish Law That Accidentally Banned Book Signings

2017-10-16T12:46:00-04:00

Next year California's bookstores will once again be able to host author signing events without fearing an expensive lawsuit. The threat of those suits sprang from a 2016 law that tried to crack down on sales of fake autographed memorabilia by requiring retailers to provide certificates of authenticity for any autographed merchandise worth more than $5. Last week Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that loosened the new rules: The threshold will now be updated to $50 for most autographed memorabilia. Autographed books, fine art, furniture, and decorative objects will be excluded from the certificate requirement, according to The Los Angeles Times. "The law was ostensibly passed to protect people from fraud. But it made little sense when applied to stores like Book Passage, which sell books that are autographed in the consumers' presence—and thus present no risk of fraud," notes Anastasia Boden, an attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation, which had sued to stop the original law. As I reported when that lawsuit was launched, the list of criteria for the certificates of authenticity was absurdly long. The law specified that those certificates must contain a description of the collectible and the name of the person who signed it, the purchase price and date, and an "explicit statement" of authenticity. It must also indicate how many items were signed, whether they are numbered as part of a series, and whether any more might be sold in the future. There also has to be proof that the seller is insured. And of course there has to be a certificate number provided by the State Board of Equalization. There's a separate requirement for an "identifying serial number," which, naturally, has to match the serial number of the receipt—a receipt that must be kept by the seller for no less than seven years after the transaction. Finally, the certificate of authenticity has to say whether the author provided his John Hancock in the presence of the dealer, or another witness, and include the name of the witness. (There is no requirement that the witness' first born must also sign the form.) A single mistake or omission could cost book stores huge sums of money: up to 10 times the purchase cost, plus damages, plus court costs, plus attorneys fees, plus interest, says Boden. The law led the Easton Press—a publisher that counts novelist Neil Gaiman, pop astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and humorist Carol Burnett among its authors—to stop shipping signed books to Califorinia stores. That decision was made to avert potential suits, but it further hurt small stores like Eureka Books in San Francisco. The consequences for bookstores may have been unintended, but they were anything but unexpected. Reason's Brian Doherty, covering the original bill's passage in September 2016, warned that it could "if fully enforced squash, among other things, the practice of author book events." That's exactly what happened. src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ixM8Q0Ey_Po" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" width="560" height="340" frameborder="0"> [...]



Supreme Court to Decide if Data Stored Overseas Can Be Demanded with Warrants

2017-10-16T12:30:00-04:00

The Supreme Court agreed today to hear and rule whether the federal government can demand access to emails and other data files when they are stored in another country. In United States v. Microsoft Corp., the Department of Justice has been trying since 2013 to get access to emails of a Microsoft customer, looking for evidence this person was involved in drug trafficking. Some of the suspect's data was being stored on a server in Dublin, Ireland. Microsoft has turned over data stored within the United States, but argued, even with probable cause warrants, the feds did not have the authority to make them hand over foreign-stored info. Privacy advocacy groups, tech companies, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are on Microsoft's side here. The Department of Justice and 33 states (and Puerto Rico) are on the other. Several court rulings have upheld Microsoft's argument, but the full 2nd Circuit Court ruling was split 4-4. This split keeps the ruling in Microsoft's favor, but there's a clear disagreement among judges about the limits of the authority of the Stored Communications Act—the 1986 federal law that oversees forced disclosures of data by third parties like tech companies. The Justice Department, of course, went full 9/11, arguing limits to their warrant authorities would jeopardize terror investigations. Microsoft, meanwhile, worries about the reaction if the United States sets a bad example here. Via Reuters: "If U.S. law enforcement can obtain the emails of foreigners stored outside the United States, what's to stop the government of another country from getting your emails even though they are located in the United States?" Brad Smith, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, said in a blog post on Monday. The Justice Department said in its appeal that the lower court ruling "gravely threatens public safety and national security" because it limits the government's ability to "ward off terrorism and similar national security threats and to investigate and prosecute crimes." Reuters notes that tech companies are also concerned that customers may not trust the privacy cloud-based computing services if governments could seize their data. The Justice Department, on the other hand, worries that companies would be able to deprive the government of access to domestic data and communications simply by storing it all overseas. That outcome, frankly, sounds kind of awesome. This is a highly technical case that will probably produce a fairly specific ruling about Congress' intent with the Stored Communications Act and the limits of what that law authorizes. Do not expect a broad ruling about the either the limits of warrants under the Fourth Amendment nor a revised view of the limits of the Third-Party Doctrine that allows the government to access data about private citizens that is stored by tech companies and private firms. Read the Justice Department's petition here. [...]



Cop Roughs Up High School Girls, Tickets School Board Member Trying to Intervene

2017-10-16T10:54:00-04:00

(image) An officer in Orange, New Jersey, was caught on video roughing up two girls outside a high school, tossing one of them by her hair, and also ticketing a school board member who tried to de-escalate the situation.

Officer Hanifah Davis was "relieved of duty" (that is, suspended), but city officials insist they haven't decided whether he'll be paid while on suspension or not (which means that he likely will be, and that the poverty-stricken city is seeking to avoid the bad publicity paying a toxic cop not to work could yield).

This was not Davis' first controversy. Though he's been on the job just three and a half months, he's already under investigation for an incident where he brandished his service weapon while trying to break up a crowd allegedly loitering and gambling. That investigation is still ongoing.

Ideally, departments could terminate officers who reveal themselves to be problem cops before they get too violent. A zero tolerance policy for police misconduct could get cops off the force before they're involved in major controversies.

Students organized a walkout Friday to protest the incident, chanting, "We want justice." The students should protest their school administrators too, for systematically relying on law enforcement for discipline.

Orange is a town of 30,000 with a per capita income of $20,000. The salary for principals in the area starts at more than $100,000. It should not be too much to expect that such school professionals should be able to keep order on school grounds without uniformed police officers. If they are unable to do that, they should step aside for someone who is.

Introducing police officers into schools isn't a solution to discipline; it's an abrogation of responsibility. In recent years especially, administrators have tended to seek out blanket policies they can defer to rather than making the informed decisions they ought to be expected to make as professionals.

The girls manhandled by Davis participated in the walkout. They say they'd like to see the cop fired and jailed. With the job protections enjoyed by most cops in New Jersey, that's unlikely to happen. But perhaps they could convince administrators to keep cops out of schools rather than inviting them in.

Watch footage of the altercation in the segment below:

src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/O_6iz9NqJFs" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" width="560" height="340" frameborder="0">




Make America Not So Nauseating: New at Reason

2017-10-16T09:35:00-04:00

(image) What else can President Trump try to stop?

A. Barton Hinkle writes:

'It's frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write," said President Trump on Wednesday, "and people should look into it."

Amen, brother! It's downright abominable that people in the media can just spout off the first thing that comes into their heads with no concern for veracity or the potential for harm. What do they think this is, a personal Twitter account?

The president also is repulsed by those jerks in the National Football League who have different opinions than he does about certain issues, and who show it by not standing up for the national anthem the way they have been required to do since way back in 2009.

Trump deserves to have epic songs sung about him for demanding investigations into reporters and for suggesting that people he considers less patriotic than him should be fired. They say it's a free country and all that, but come on. You have to draw the line somewhere.

The president shouldn't stop there, though. Many other things are not just frankly disgusting, but honestly nauseating, and Trump should use his bully pulpit to draw more attention to them, too. And not just women's suffrage or this business about the "right" to a fair trial, either.

View this article.




Make America Not So Nauseating

2017-10-16T09:15:00-04:00

'It's frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write," said President Trump on Wednesday, "and people should look into it." Amen, brother! It's downright abominable that people in the media can just spout off the first thing that comes into their heads with no concern for veracity or the potential for harm. What do they think this is, a personal Twitter account? The president also is repulsed by those jerks in the National Football League who have different opinions than he does about certain issues, and who show it by not standing up for the national anthem the way they have been required to do since way back in 2009. Trump deserves to have epic songs sung about him for demanding investigations into reporters and for suggesting that people he considers less patriotic than him should be fired. They say it's a free country and all that, but come on. You have to draw the line somewhere. The president shouldn't stop there, though. Many other things are not just frankly disgusting, but honestly nauseating, and Trump should use his bully pulpit to draw more attention to them, too. And not just women's suffrage or this business about the "right" to a fair trial, either. For example: While we're on the topic of football, it's genuinely revolting when televised games that last beyond the usual 37.5 hours are allowed to run over, pre-empting programs that are not just endless committee meetings interrupted by brief spurts of big men pushing each other and are, therefore, actually entertaining to watch. Somebody ought to ask why that's allowed. In all sincerity, it's totally putrescent when you let someone merge into traffic ahead of you and they don't give you the thank-you wave. Why don't these so-called "journalists" write a story about that, is what I'd like to know. It's truly appalling that hot dogs come in packages of 10, but hot dog buns come in packages of eight. Somebody needs to go to jail for that, and it ain't gonna be me. Candidly, the Honda CRV is so ugly it makes you want to retch, but the darn thing is everywhere. Who's going to fix that? You? Truthfully, when I see someone wearing brown shoes with a blue suit I throw up so hard and so long the muscles around my stomach start to cramp, and I can't breathe, and I stomp my foot on the floor for no discernible reason, it just kind of happens. Why isn't the Senate Intel Committee looking into this? Bob Corker and, um, something about IQ tests or something—that's why. Yea verily, people have started using "to include" in place of "including" (as in, "Applicants should have working knowledge of computer operating systems, to include Windows and Linux")—as if we were living in some kind of hippie commune where you could just swap infinitives and participles willy-nilly any time you wished. Do you know how gross that is? Imagine eating a large plate of cow's eyes and fish guts and washing them down with the smelly juice that collects at the bottom of a Dumpster after a light rain. That's how gross it is. Why doesn't the Fake News Network investigate THAT? To state it plainly, it's ghastly beyond words the way some people put so many bumper-stickers on their cars, especially the ones with many words in small print that you can't read anyway unless you're, like, two inches behind them. Congress needs to set a limit of three bumper-stickers per vehicle, or the terrorists have already won. Honestly, what is up with can openers these days? Half the time they hardly even work, leaving these big uncut spaces at odd intervals so you can't get the stuff out of the can, so yo[...]



Should Affirmative Action Be Ended at Public Universities? Debate Tonight in NYC

2017-10-16T09:11:00-04:00

(image) All Affirmative Action programs in public colleges and universities that are based on ethnic-racial composition should be abolished.

That's the resolution being debated tonight at New York's Soho Forum. Peter Schuck, an emeritus professor at Yale Law School will be taking the affirmative position and Michael Meyers, the head of the New York Civil Rights Coalition, will be taking the negative position. The Soho Forum, which is sponsored by Reason, is a monthly Oxford-style debate held at the Subculture Theater in Manhattan's East Village. Reason contributor and Mostly Weekly writer Sarah Rose Siskind will warm the crowd up with her standup comedy.

Doors open at 5:45 P.M. and light food will be served as part of admission. A cash bar featuring beer, wine, and soft drinks will also be open. Previous debates have included Matt Welch taking on Barack Obama's presidential legacy and me arguing with Walter Block over whether libertarians should vote for Donald Trump. It's a great scene and always a very fun and stimulating evening.

Cash bar opens at 5:45pm
Event starts at 6:30pm
Subculture Theater
45 Bleecker St,
NY, 10012

Seating must be reserved in advance.

Moderated by Gene Epstein,
the economics editor of Barron's.

Tickets are priced between $10 and $18 and must be purchased online. Go here now.

For those unable to attend, Reason will have a podcast version of the event later this week. For past debate podcasts, go here.




Nearly 300 Killed in Mogadishu Truck Bombing, Iraqi Forces Assault Kirkuk, Larry Flynt Offers $10 Million for Info for Trump Impeachment: A.M. Links

2017-10-16T09:00:00-04:00

  • (image) A truck bomb in Mogadishu has killed at least 276 people, according to the Somali government.
  • The armed forces in Iraq are attacking Kirkuk, in Iraqi Kurdistan.
  • The anti-immigration People's Party's Sebastian Kurtz, 31, will become the youngest ever chancellor of Austria after his party's election victory.
  • The lawyers for one of the women who has accused Donald Trump of sexual assault have subpoenaed the Trump presidential campaign for all documents and communications related to her.
  • State Senate President Kevin de Leon will challenge Dianne Feinstein in the 2018 Senate election.
  • Larry Flynt is offering $10 million for information that leads to Trump's impeachment.
  • Colin Kaepernick has filed a labor grievance, alleging that NFL owners colluded to keep him off any team.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and don't forget to sign up for Reason's daily updates for more content




Snowflakes on the Right: Conservative Hecklers Shut Down Speakers at Whittier College

2017-10-16T07:50:00-04:00

Last week, at Whitter College in California, guest speakers were heckled by angry members of the audience, forcing organizers to end the event early. This time, the hecklers were neither liberal nor students. They were conservative activists, and adults (in age, if not temperament). The speakers were California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Assembly Leader Ian Calderon. They had pledged to answer questions from the general public, but several irate MAGA-hat-wearing audience members were intent on hijacking the event from the get-go. Arthur Schaper, a pro-Trump activist, interrupted the speakers constantly with cries of "Respect our president!" and "Build the wall!" and also accusations like "Corruption!" and "Pothead!" At one point he told the woman seated in front of him—who wanted to actually hear Calderon and Becerra—that she was a lying twat. The whole thing was captured on video. The video footage was taken by the hecklers. They were evidently proud of their actions. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education's Adam Steinbaugh first brought this incident to my attention. According to Steinbaugh: The First Amendment specifically protects the right to demand a redress of grievances, and government should not have the power to punish any and every instance of incivility or protest — including during meetings and discussions on a college campus. But the right to criticize and protest public officials does not encompass a right to intentionally prevent a speaker from addressing an audience in a closed space. This is exactly what the protesters were doing: Because Becerra is a critic of Trump and a part of the lawsuit against DACA, he deserved to be shouted down, in their view. This shameful act of censorship is a good reminder that even though angry far-left students are at fault in the majority of recent college free speech debacles, they are by no means the only or paramount threat to the First Amendment—on campus or anywhere else. Such a distinction belongs first and foremost to President Trump, whose repeated calls for muzzling of the press and abridgments of the speech rights of people he dislikes are, in the opinion of The Atlantic's eminently reasonable civil libertarian Conor Friedersdorf, grounds for impeachment. Trump's censorious supporters in California seem cut from the same cloth. Indeed, recent events are proving that the current censorious impulse on the left is widely shared by the administrative right, even on campus. Take Drexel University Professor George Ciccariello-Maher, a far-left activist who routinely uses his Twitter platform to castigate free speech as a tool of oppression. Recently, Drexel placed Ciccariello-Maher on administrative leave after the professor blamed the Las Vegas shooting on "the white supremacist patriarchy, stupid." Life comes at you fast, particularly if you are a critic of extending free speech rights to offensive speakers who nevertheless needs these protections to defend your own deeply offensive views. Drexel weakly asserted that it was looking out for Ciccariello-Maher's personal safety—conservatives were none too happy with his tweets—demonstrating once again how dangerous it is to prioritize nebulous safety concerns over free expression. The professor absolutely deserves to make controversial statements on Twitter, even though he himself would not agree if the shoe was on the other foot. Beware campus leftists who want to end the discussion before it begins, and beware conservatives—and the[...]



'Egypt's Jon Stewart' in Exile

2017-10-16T07:30:00-04:00

(image) Bassem Youssef, known as the Jon Stewart of Egypt, hosted the most popular television show in the history of the Arab world. A heart surgeon by training, he was inspired by the Daily Showfrontman to start a weekly YouTube series in 2011, just as the Arab Spring was getting underway. He taped it from his laundry room.

Called Al-Bernameg, which means The Show, its audience grew to 30 million per episode. The "value of satire," Youssef says, "is that it humanizes people in power"—those "considered holy."

Youssef's downfall began with a viral segment mocking President Mohamed Morsi's hat in 2013. In March, a warrant was issued for his arrest for insulting the president and Islam. So Youssef offered to turn himself in—wearing his Morsi hat. Though he was released on bail, it was the beginning of the end. Three months later, the military deposed and jailed Morsi, dissolved the constitution, and silenced the critical press. General Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi became the new ruler of Egypt, and his regime didn't take kindly to mockery.

What followed is the subject of Youssef's new memoir, Revolution for Dummies (HarperCollins), and the documentary Tickling Giants by Daily Show Senior Producer Sara Taksler, which is available online.

The Show lasted just one episode after Sisi became president. Youssef was slapped with the largest fine in the history of Egyptian media. Sensing that he might soon be arrested and prevented from leaving the country, he threw a few personal belongings into a suitcase and rushed to the airport.

This summer, Youssef sat down with Reason's Justin Monticello in Los Angeles, where they discussed political correctness, comedy on college campuses, Donald Trump, the limits of satire, and more.

View this article.




'Egypt's Jon Stewart' in Exile

2017-10-16T06:00:00-04:00

Bassem Youssef, known as the Jon Stewart of Egypt, hosted the most popular television show in the history of the Arab world. A heart surgeon by training, he was inspired by the Daily Show frontman to start a weekly YouTube series in 2011, just as the Arab Spring was getting underway. He taped it from his laundry room. Called Al-Bernameg, which means The Show, its audience grew to 30 million per episode. The "value of satire," Youssef says, "is that it humanizes people in power"—those "considered holy." Youssef's downfall began with a viral segment mocking President Mohamed Morsi's hat in 2013. In March, a warrant was issued for his arrest for insulting the president and Islam. So Youssef offered to turn himself in—wearing his Morsi hat. Though he was released on bail, it was the beginning of the end. Three months later, the military deposed and jailed Morsi, dissolved the constitution, and silenced the critical press. General Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi became the new ruler of Egypt, and his regime didn't take kindly to mockery. What followed is the subject of Youssef's new memoir, Revolution for Dummies (HarperCollins), and the documentary Tickling Giants by Daily Show Senior Producer Sara Taksler, which is available online. The Show lasted just one episode after Sisi became president. Youssef was slapped with the largest fine in the history of Egyptian media. Sensing that he might soon be arrested and prevented from leaving the country, he threw a few personal belongings into a suitcase and rushed to the airport. This summer, Youssef sat down with Reason's Justin Monticello in Los Angeles, where they discussed political correctness, comedy on college campuses, Donald Trump, the limits of satire, and more. Reason: What inspired you to start The Show? Bassem Youssef: What really inspired me was the discrepancy between what you saw in the street and what you saw on television. There was a very deliberate method of brainwashing and fooling the public and giving them alternative facts or fake news. And that angered me. I wanted to do something about it. So I started these shows in my laundry room. I didn't think it would mean anything or go anywhere. But a few weeks later I was signing my first TV deal. You're often called the Jon Stewart of Egypt. But Jon Stewart reached 2 million people. You reached 30 million. It's not a question of numbers. He really has a lot of competition. [In America] you have a saturated medium, a huge industry. When we did it, we were the only ones. I think the value that Jon Stewart left [is that he] inspired millions of people, not just in the United States but outside, to follow in his footsteps. About 18 months after you started The Show, you criticized then-President Mohamed Morsi and a warrant was issued for your arrest. They have to [claim] you are insulting certain sacred ideologies, whether religion or military. It's the same thing that the Muslim Brotherhood did, and the military did later. They want to divert the attention of me criticizing someone's policy [by saying I'm] insulting the faith, or our troops. You describe in your book this really amazing sketch where you satirized Morsi's enormous, peculiar hat. Yeah. And it's like, it's just a hat. People are too sensitive. I didn't call him names. I didn't talk about his family. It's just like how the Islamists react in a violent way, because they're not used to being criticized, so to kind of break that mold and make fun of them—they[...]



Brickbat: Mother's Nightmare

2017-10-16T04:00:00-04:00

(image) When Tammy Anderson began bleeding, she called Queen's Hospital in Essex, England, They said they'd send a midwife. But Anderson miscarried, and several hours alter, the hospital called her back to say she should come in. She remained in the ER for three hours with her dead baby before being admitted.




Bringing Bandar Home: New at Reason

2017-10-15T08:45:00-04:00

(image) He called to say that he'd be murdered if he couldn't get out.

As an interpreter—my interpreter, actually—working for coalition forces in Iraq, Bandar had already lost several friends and colleagues, including his 15- and 10-year-old cousins, to insurgents determined to exact revenge on anyone perceived to be aiding an occupying military force. From 7,000 miles away, he phoned me to ask for help.

When he was a teenager, Bandar reconnected with an uncle who had been an opposition leader against Saddam Hussein's authoritarian regime. After fleeing the country and spending nearly a decade in the United States as a political asylee, his uncle returned to Iraq."When my uncle came back in 2003, he told me all about America, and he supported my plan to work with the U.S. military," Bandar told me.

Bandar had always maintained an idealized vision of the United States, having consumed as a child whatever bootleg American movies and television he could get his hands on. (He believed then, as he does now, that The Tyra Banks Show is America's greatest export.) "I used to always dream that one day when I get older I'll go to America," he said.

In 2004, at age 17, Bandar became an interpreter, writes Joey Coon for Reason.

View this article.




Young Man Arrested for Underage Sex Was Re-Arrested for Sharing a Pizza with a 17-Year-Old

2017-10-15T08:01:00-04:00

Zach Anderson, the young man from Elkhart, Indiana, whose harsh punishment for consensual sex with an underage teenager he wrongly believed was 17 made headlines around the country in 2015, has been arrested for violating his probation. What, exactly, did he do? He stopped by for dinner at his parents' home. His younger brother was present, and incidentally, so was the brother's friend. The brother thought this friend was 19 years old, but he turned out to be just 17. Anderson, unfortunately, is not allowed to have contact with anybody under the age of 18, except his own siblings. There was one other thing. Anderson works on the tech team at his local church. Recently, a 17-year-old girl joined the church staff as an intern. While Anderson has never met or spoken with her, the fact that they volunteer on separate teams at the church is a violation of his probation, according to officials who issued a warrant for his arrest last week. For these charges, Anderson, now 22 years old, is heading back to court in Michigan next week. (Anderson lives in Indiana, but the "crime" was over the border, in Michigan.) Possible outcomes range from dismissing the charges to extending probation, putting Anderson on the sex offender registry, sending him to prison, or any combination thereof. There is no credible reason to believe Anderson is a danger to anyone, let alone a young woman he has never even met or interacted with—which is why the 17-year-old submitted a letter affirming that Anderson has never approached her, and that she doesn't even know what he looks like. The church director offered a letter of support as well, noting that Anderson has constantly gone out of his way to avoid violating the terms of his probation, even though the terms are pointless. Anderson is so faithful to them, in fact, that he willingly confessed to the pizza incident during a mandatory polygraph examination. It's worth recalling the absurdity of the original crime that landed Anderson in this situation. More than two years ago, when Anderson was 19 years old, he was sentenced to 25 years on the sex offender registry for hooking up with a girl he met online. The girl said she was 17 but turned out to be only 14. You may recall that both the girl and her mother begged the judge to throw the case out, since there was no way Anderson could have known the girl's real age. Unmoved, Berrien County District Court Judge Dennis Wiley told Anderson: "You went online, to use a fisherman's expression, trolling for women to meet and have sex with. That seems to be part of our culture now: meet, hook up, have sex, sayonara. Totally inappropriate behavior. There is no excuse for this whatsoever." The case made it to the front page of The New York Times and Anderson was granted new sentencing. At that point he was deemed eligible for a youth leniency program and given a sentence of two years' probation, which was finally coming to an end next week. Instead, reports the South Bend Tribune: After two years of following a laundry list of restrictions from both states and within days of expecting to be released from probation, Anderson was served an arrest warrant Wednesday night, arraigned Thursday, posted a $500 bond, and is due back in the Niles courtroom this Wednesday. Zach Anderson's parents, Les and Amanda, and his Lansing attorney, Scott Grabel, call the new pursuit of Zach's v[...]



Is Secession by Referendum Libertarian? New at Reason

2017-10-15T08:00:00-04:00

(image)

Nation-states have no right to use force to stop any component from seceding, writes Sheldon Richman. They have no legitimate claim on anyone's allegiance.

But Richman is concerned over the process of peaceful separation—namely, the referendum. Libertarians have long criticized political democracy—that is, the settling of "public" matters by majority vote either directly or through so-called representatives—as inherently violative of individual rights. By what authority does a majority lord it over a minority?

Doesn't this critique also apply to referenda on secession? asks Richman. The chance of unanimity is tiny in any particular case, so why should the individuals who constitute a numerical minority be forced to dissociate from a nation-state and be subjugated by a new nation-state simply because the majority decreed it? A dissenting minority might not be concentrated in one area that could easily secede from the newly seceded territory and remain with the original country or form its own country. What then?

View this article.




Is Secession by Referendum Libertarian?

2017-10-15T08:00:00-04:00

I have concerns about secession by referendum. Individual secession, of course, is no problem; that's simply libertarianism. Before I get into my reasons, let me stipulate that smaller political jurisdictions are on net preferable to larger ones if for no other reason than the lower cost of exit. That in itself may constrain government impositions. Competition is good, and a race to reduce oppression would obviously be laudable by libertarian standards. But governments of any kind may find ways to collude with one another to minimize the effects of competition. Governments today cooperate with one another to catch tax evaders. Let me also put on the record my conviction that nation-states have no right to use force to stop any component from seceding. They have no legitimate claim on anyone's allegiance. However, let's not forget that smaller, more local governments can be oppressive too, possibly more so than larger centralized ones. Many things factor into this. At any rate, Little Nationalism can be as destructive of human flourishing as Big Nationalism. My concerns about group (not individual) secession are over the process of peaceful separation, namely, the referendum. Libertarians have long criticized political democracy—that is, the settling of "public" matters by majority vote either directly or through so-called representatives—as inherently violative of individual rights. By what authority does a majority lord it over a minority? Well, doesn't this critique apply to referenda on secession? The chance of unanimity is tiny in any particular case, so why should the individuals who constitute a numerical minority be forced to dissociate from a nation-state and be subjugated by a new nation-state simply because the majority decreed it? A dissenting minority might not be concentrated in one area that could easily secede from the newly seceded territory and remain with the original country or form its own country. What then? True, dissenting individuals would presumably be free to relocate, but why should people have to abandon their homes because of a majority's preference? That hardly seems fair. It sounds like "love it or leave it." In the recent referendum in Catalonia, over 177,000 people—nearly 8 percent of the 43 percent of registered voters who cast ballots—voted against secession. A lot of people don't want to split from Spain. Of course, this does not justify the central government's violent interference with the referendum or the separation. There's is nothing sacred about today's nation-states, which were all built from conquest, myth, and historical contingency. But the rights of the members of a minority in a secessionist community still ought not to be ignored by advocates of individual liberty. Too often libertarian defenders of particular acts of secession talk as if the population unanimously favored the spit. Individualists shouldn't overlook individuals. The case of the Southern secession from the United States is even clearer than the one in Catalonia. No public referendum was held. Instead, so-called representatives did the voting. But even if a public referendum had been held, slaves would not have been allowed to vote—and they were the reason for the secession in the first place (at least in the lower South). Again, this doesn't justify Lincoln's [...]



It's OK to Edit Your Kids' Genes: New at Reason

2017-10-15T06:30:00-04:00

(image) This summer, American scientists reported successfully editing out a harmful gene from the genomes of human embryos.

Researchers led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov—a reproductive biology specialist at the Oregon Health and Science University—used CRISPR gene editing to achieve this result. The process enables biologists to precisely cut out and replace bits of the DNA that make up the genes of microbes, plants, and animals. In this case, the researchers mended a deleterious gene variant that causes enlarged hearts and often results in sudden death early in life.

Unlike earlier research in China, the Oregon team reported getting the repaired genes into every cell in 42 out of the 58 embryos they edited. In most of the cases, the process did not create new off-target mutations. Since Congress has banned the National Institutes of Health from funding research using gene-editing technologies in human embryos, this proof-of-concept research was underwritten by private foundations and universities.

The embryos developed for three days and were never intended to be used to create pregnancies.

Other researchers a month later challenged the results, suggesting that they need further validation. But for now Mitalipov stands by his findings, writes Ronald Baily for Reason.

View this article.




The Long, Frustrating Fight to Get an Iraqi Interpreter Out of Baghdad and Into the U.S.

2017-10-15T06:00:00-04:00

He called to say that he'd be murdered if he couldn't get out. As an interpreter—my interpreter, actually—working for coalition forces in Iraq, Bandar had already lost several friends and colleagues, including his 15- and 10-year-old cousins, to insurgents determined to exact revenge on anyone perceived to be aiding an occupying military force. From 7,000 miles away, he phoned me to ask for help. When he was a teenager, Bandar reconnected with an uncle who had been an opposition leader against Saddam Hussein's authoritarian regime. After fleeing the country and spending nearly a decade in the United States as a political asylee, his uncle returned to Iraq."When my uncle came back in 2003, he told me all about America, and he supported my plan to work with the U.S. military," Bandar told me. Bandar had always maintained an idealized vision of the United States, having consumed as a child whatever bootleg American movies and television he could get his hands on. (He believed then, as he does now, that The Tyra Banks Show is America's greatest export.) "I used to always dream that one day when I get older I'll go to America," he said. In 2004, at age 17, Bandar became an interpreter. When he called me from the other side of the world, I was a 25-year-old college student, back in Oregon after a yearlong deployment to Iraq as a sergeant in a U.S. Army cavalry unit. I had been stationed at a base 50 miles from Baghdad within the Sunni triangle, just a couple of miles from Bandar's home. Our mission was to be a Quick Reaction Force for the base. Essentially, we were a 911 for soldiers operating in the surrounding area. On good days, this meant providing convoy security and area patrols. On bad days, it meant responding to unforeseen emergencies and backing up units that found themselves in precarious situations. Whatever the day's agenda, our job required constant talk with Iraqi civilians. We couldn't have done it without help from local translators. I first met Bandar after he'd joined the rotation of Iraqi interpreters working with our unit. He was 18, and he'd been assigned to join my platoon on patrols of several villages within our area of operations. This was a fraught assignment for Bandar: He'd spent his entire life a couple of miles from the fence line and might easily have been recognized. Neither the State Department nor their contractors kept close records of the number of local translators employed during the war. Estimates vary widely, but several thousand Iraqis may have been enlisted to aid the American cause. To secure these jobs, Bandar and other interpreters underwent a rigorous security screening, which was repeated every six months. The interpreters worked with combat and support soldiers, and even in field hospitals. Depending on the situation, they often filled the role of intelligence officer, diplomat, etiquette coach, soldier, or peacekeeper. In a war zone, where misunderstandings can end in bloodshed, they're crucial in keeping both U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians safe. Translators put themselves in extreme danger—arguably more so, and for much longer, than many soldiers. They are "outside the wire" on dangerous patrols, facing the same danger as troops but without weapons to defend themselves. And they[...]