Sunday, August 31, 2014

Which States Are the Richest? The Answer May Surprise You | Power Line

Not surprisingly, the most prosperous place in the U.S. is the District of Columbia, with a per capita real income (chained 2008 dollars) of $59,759. In the Age of Obama, lobbyists reign supreme. But what state ranks number one? North Dakota, with a real per capita income of $57,367. Sure, you say, it’s all that fracking. Yes, but look who is number five: oil-free South Dakota, at $48,626. Both of the Dakotas, on a real per capita basis, are higher-income than New York ($43,603), California (a dismal $38,888), Pennsylvania ($43,173), Illinois ($43,063), Maryland ($45,702), Virginia ($44,313), Washington ($42,164) and just about every other state.
A few blue states are prosperous: Connecticut is number two and Massachusetts is number four, edging out South Dakota but far behind North Dakota. But most of the country’s wealthiest states are red or purple: in addition to the Dakotas, Wyoming (#3), Nebraska (#6), Iowa (#7) and Kansas (#11). (Maybe Kansas isn’t so dumb after all.)
BEA also calculated how much each state gained in real per capita income between 2008 and 2012. You can make of this what you will, but the top ten, in order, were North Dakota (with a whopping 23% increase), West Virginia, Mississippi, Ohio, Rhode Island, Montana, Arkansas, South Dakota, Tennessee and New Hampshire.
It is noteworthy, too, that states like New York, California and Illinois have much more income inequality than states like the Dakotas. If we saw the same data using medians instead of averages, the Dakotas, Wyoming, Nebraska, etc. would look even better. The average person is remarkably better off in those states.
While one should rarely draw sweeping conclusions from a single data set, these numbers do cause one to wonder: the blue model has plainly failed at the state level, so why would anyone want to implement it at the federal level?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Free Speech Is Winning, Thanks to Citizens United

Free Speech Is Winning, Thanks to Citizens United

A new study, “The Business of American Democracy: Citizens United, Independent Spending and Elections,” analyzes state legislative elections that have occurred since the decision and finds that "Citizens United v. FEC was associated with a six percentage-point increase in the likelihood that a Republican candidate would win a state legislative race."

The authors are quick to attribute this Citizens United bump to corporations exercising their First Amendment rights and making expenditures that benefit Republicans, while unions have failed to increase their spending on behalf of Democrats. Don’t forget that for decades unions have had an ability to invest in elections, while corporations have been largely restricted. The Citizens United decision ensured that any speaker--whether an individual, small business, large corporation, or labor union--had a First Amendment right to engage in political speech.
Ultimately, this study shows that the liberals who have spent the past few years demonizing the decision and calling for constitutional amendments to curtail political speech have missed the point and missed the boat. I have no doubt that they’ll seize on this study as a reason to demand more regulation of speech. Certainly, as liberal senators like Chuck Schumer, Patrick Leahy, and Dick Durban plod forward with their short-sighted attempt to amend the Constitution, they will inevitably cite this study as evidence of the need to restrict the First Amendment.
I say to those liberals hell-bent on restricting speech: rather than trying to silence voices and viewpoints you disagree with, join the debate.

How much does poverty drive crime?

How much does poverty drive crime?

In Sweden the age of criminal responsibility is 15, so Mr Sariaslan tracked his subjects from the dates of their 15th birthdays onwards, for an average of three-and-a-half years. He found, to no one’s surprise, that teenagers who had grown up in families whose earnings were among the bottom fifth were seven times more likely to be convicted of violent crimes, and twice as likely to be convicted of drug offences, as those whose family incomes were in the top fifth.
What did surprise him was that when he looked at families which had started poor and got richer, the younger children—those born into relative affluence—were just as likely to misbehave when they were teenagers as their elder siblings had been. Family income was not, per se, the determining factor.
That suggests two, not mutually exclusive, possibilities. One is that a family’s culture, once established, is “sticky”—that you can, to put it crudely, take the kid out of the neighbourhood, but not the neighbourhood out of the kid. Given, for example, children’s propensity to emulate elder siblings whom they admire, that sounds perfectly plausible. The other possibility is that genes which predispose to criminal behaviour (several studies suggest such genes exist) are more common at the bottom of society than at the top, perhaps because the lack of impulse-control they engender also tends to reduce someone’s earning capacity.

The original research, by Amir Sariaslan, Henrik Larsson, Brian D’Onofrio, Niklas Långström and Paul Lichtenstein is here, here is how the authors report the conclusion:
There were no associations between childhood family income and subsequent violent criminality and substance misuse once we had adjusted for unobserved familial risk factors.

Beware the Debater -

A nice list of fallacies.  Recognizing them is the first step.
To help toward that end, I have summarized below the Ten Dirty Tricks of Debating, which are the most commonly used tools of the debater’s trade.

Basing one’s argument on a false premise is one of the oldest tricks of clever debaters. It’s a mainstay of most political debates, wherein politicians find that they can slide a false premise by sitcom-damaged brains without much effort. Worse, supposedly opposing parties (as in, Democrats and Republicans — or, more appropriately, Demopublicans) begin most of their debates with joint false premises, thus giving viewers all the more reason to assume that such premises are correct.

Using the desired conclusion as a premise — sometimes referred to as an a priori argument — is just a bold version of basing one’s arguments on a false premise. The debater who employs this tactic merely restates his own conclusion as though it were a fact. 

The term spin refers to the art of cleverly and smoothly twisting the truth, and it is now considered an essential tool for those who have dedicated their lives to the art of debating. The objective is to take a crystal-clear fact that negatively impacts the spinner and twist it — i.e., “spin it” — in such a way that it gives the illusion of being a positive.

Some people are world-class actors when it comes to feigning indignation in situations where they realize they’ve been caught in a lie, misstatement, or worse. I have a simple rule when it comes to indignation: The louder and more vehement the protest, the less credence I give to the person’s indignation. As Emerson put it, “You shout so loudly I can barely hear your words.”

Taking the offensive with an aggressive, all-out attack is a strategy that goes a step beyond just feigning indignation, and is often employed when the facts appear to be undermining one’s arguments. The more overwhelming the facts against the dirty-trick debater, the more aggressive he becomes and the more effective he is in getting the other party to back off.

Making intimidating accusations is another trademark of political debaters, the objective being to put the other party on the defensive. Some popular accusations, both in and out of the political arena, include: “You’re just selfish”; “You don’t care about starving children”; and, the ultimate intimidating accusation, one that quickly brings most people to their apologetic knees, “You’re a racist.”

Switching the focus of the conversation is a convenient way to escape being overwhelmed by the truth. Straying from the main point and changing the subject is a dead giveaway that the facts are closing in on the debater. Criminal defense attorneys employ this art when they distract the jury’s attention from any damning evidence against their clients by focusing on side issues and irrelevant topics.

Oversimplified, an invalid analogy is the equivalent of comparing apples and oranges. When a debater uses an analogy, you have to follow his words carefully to make certain that matches up with and matches up with D or you’ll find yourself boxed into a corner. If you allow an invalid analogy to slip by uncontested, you’re heading toward its natural consequence — an invalid conclusion.

There is a whole school of thought that revolves around the idea that everything is relative and therefore nothing can be proved. The philosophy of relativism teaches that the premises people use to make judgments vary according to their genetic makeup, backgrounds, and environments. However, an axiom is a self-evident truth that requires no proof, and rational, honest people do not require proof for self-evident truths.
You do not have to prove that the sun comes up every morning, but there was a time when it was necessary to prove that the earth revolved around the sun. As with invalid analogies, if you allow someone to base his argument on the contention that a self-evident truth cannot be proven, an invalid conclusion is also a forgone conclusion.

While esoteric language makes for good entertainment, you should never allow someone to use it against you in a debate. I’m an advocate of Occam’s Razor Principle (also known as the Principle of Parsimony), which states that the simplest and most direct explanation is generally the best explanation. Making explanations more complicated than necessary is often nothing more than a smokescreen intended to hide the facts.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

How the Nazis Used Gun Control | National Review Online

The same arguments for and against were made in the 1920s in the chaos of Germany’s Weimar Republic, which opted for gun registration. Law-abiding persons complied with the law, but the Communists and Nazis committing acts of political violence did not.
In 1931, Weimar authorities discovered plans for a Nazi takeover in which Jews would be denied food and persons refusing to surrender their guns within 24 hours would be executed. They were written by Werner Best, a future Gestapo official. In reaction to such threats, the government authorized the registration of all firearms and the confiscation thereof, if required for “public safety.” The interior minister warned that the records must not fall into the hands of any extremist group.
In 1933, the ultimate extremist group, led by Adolf Hitler, seized power and used the records to identify, disarm, and attack political opponents and Jews. Constitutional rights were suspended, and mass searches for and seizures of guns and dissident publications ensued. Police revoked gun licenses of Social Democrats and others who were not “politically reliable.”
During the five years of repression that followed, society was “cleansed” by the National Socialist regime. Undesirables were placed in camps where labor made them “free,” and normal rights of citizenship were taken from Jews. The Gestapo banned independent gun clubs and arrested their leaders. Gestapo counsel Werner Best issued a directive to the police forbidding issuance of firearm permits to Jews.

The U.S. media covered the above events. And when France fell to Nazi invasion in 1940, the New York Times reported that the French were deprived of rights such as free speech and firearm possession just as the Germans had been. Frenchmen who failed to surrender their firearms within 24 hours were subject to the death penalty.
No wonder that in 1941, just days before the Pearl Harbor attack, Congress reaffirmed Second Amendment rights and prohibited gun registration. In 1968, bills to register guns were debated, with opponents recalling the Nazi experience and supporters denying that the Nazis ever used registration records to confiscate guns. The bills were defeated, as every such proposal has been ever since, including recent “universal background check” bills.
As in Weimar Germany, some well-meaning people today advocate severe restrictions, including bans and registration, on gun ownership by law-abiding persons. Such proponents are in no sense “Nazis,” any more than were the Weimar officials who promoted similar restrictions. And it would be a travesty to compare today’s situation to the horrors of Nazi Germany.
Still, as history teaches, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Rush Limbaugh: New Media Prevented Mainstream Media from Turning 'Gentle Giant' into Rodney King

Rush Limbaugh said the mainstream media, as desperately as they tried, could not turn "gentle giant" Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson after Brown allegedly charged and beat him, into Rodney King because of today's new media.
Even though Rodney King resisted the arrest of officers who tried all they could to detain him without using force, the nation never got to see the full video. Instead, the mainstream media used an edited one-minute clip of officers brutally beating King after he charged them to fan the flames, trying to hammer home the notion that white police officers stopped a black motorist and senselessly beat him like a dog in cold blood.
Similarly, after Michael Brown's death, the mainstream media tried to paint a picture of Brown as a victim whom a white and racist officer "executed" in cold blood, while Brown was on his knees with his hands up and back turned. But they could not get away with it this time, 22 years after the Rodney King incident that ultimately led to extreme civil unrest and the Los Angeles riots.
Limbaugh said that the difference today "is that there is an entire, very large media and otherwise apparatus that is aligned and empowered and in action, specifically aimed at denying the myth makers a free road, a free rein to write whatever story they want."
"It's the story of the alternative media. It's the story of talk radio destroying the monopoly of the Drive-By Media," Limbaugh declared on his Friday radio show, emphasizing that the mainstream media "no longer get to dictate what is the news" and "no longer get to dictate what doesn't get reported or told."
"They no longer get to dictate commentary about it. They are challenged on virtually every assertion they make, be it the writing of a myth, be it the ignoring of a certain piece of evidence in the story, be it lying about certain things," Limbaugh added.
The conservative icon said that, with the rise of new media, "there are watchdogs everywhere making sure" that the mainstream press "don't have a free road anymore, a free, open road to write any incident the way they want it written."
"Well, now, there are people willing to stand up, go to great lengths to call 'em out on this, so they simply don't have a free road." Limbaugh continued. "And they're not used to this kind of opposition, even though it's not new now. They've never learned how to fight."
Limbaugh noticed that "CNN is noticeably down" because, even in their headlines, "it's beginning to dawn on them that the myth might not prevail here." Headlines have included, "It's starting to return to normal in Ferguson" and "the credibility of key witnesses in question." He noted that even the New York Times conceded, even though it was in paragraph 26, that the police officer was "beaten up" and "still taken to the hospital."
Limbaugh said the original story of "the gentle giant walking innocently down the street on the way to grandmother's house, eagerly thinking about the soon-to-commence college classes, shot in the back by a racist white St. Louis cop" is falling apart.
After the mainstream press tried to rebuild the myth of the "gentle giant," surveillance video of his strong-arm robbery was released, "and the gentle giant was no longer gentle," Limbaugh noted.
"He was a thief. Forty-four dollar box of Swisher Sweets, and furthermore, he was abusive to the clerk, shoving him away, as the clerk attempted to keep him from walking out of the store with the stolen cigars," Limbaugh said. "Then we learn from an autopsy conducted by the myth makers that the gentle giant was not shot from behind. And then we learned that the gentle giant actually did reach into the car and may have attempted to get the cop's gun. And so then a number of witnesses came forward, but many of them are beginning to lose credibility."
In light of these facts, Limbaugh said, "the myth is getting a little harder to hold onto, because if there was ever any real media scrutiny involved, the myth could not survive."
"You can see that watching CNN, there's not this confidence that the myth, as originally created, is gonna hold up, simply because it can't," he said. "You can tell by watching CNN that something's happened, and it's no longer the slam dunk that everybody thought it was, even two days ago."
Six years after the Los Angeles riots, Matt Drudge changed the media landscape forever by breaking the story of Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky, which the legacy press tried to conceal. New and alternative media have continued to gain more influence since, and Limbaugh observed that liberals who have been coddled by the mainstream press have "never been in the ring" and have "never had to deal with never-ending, constant media, oppressive attention, attempting to find any flaw to write them out of any story, to discredit them, to destroy them."
"Leftists really don't know what to do when the media turns on 'em, even for the smallest things, even for the briefest of moments. Because leftists have been treated so slavishly and with such sycophancy by members of the Drive-By Media that they just aren't prepared to do battle," he said. "They're not prepared to deal with people calling them on lies. They're not prepared. They haven't been toughened up."
Since "this is something the left has no experience with," Limbaugh said, "they panic when there is the slightest bump in the road." Limbaugh emphasized that young, liberal upstarts enhance their resumes by taking out "Republicans and other wealthy people," but they "very rarely" try to "to destroy Democrat people of power."
He said that after new media outlets exposed the many lies, edits, and omissions of the mainstream press after Trayvon Martin's death, the mainstream press took it on the chin. But he said the legacy media "keep trying" to "manufacture it in such a way that it looks no different than what happened in the 1960s because in that way, nothing's changed. We have made no progress. We're still a racist nation. We still have white cops who will shoot a black kid on sight for no reason whatsoever. Nothing's improved in America on that score."
Limbaugh concluded that new media outlets must always be on alert, though, and never underestimate the "myth makers" in the mainstream press who want the country to believe "that white cops shoot innocent black kids all the time," even though that is not remotely true.
"The myth makers have not given up by any stretch," he warned.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Are Terrorists Targeting Police in Ferguson?

Are Terrorists Targeting Police in Ferguson?

And is Radley Balko a reliable reporter?

Radley Balko, the controversial writer driving much of the media discussion over police “militarization,” has a controversial history of getting important facts wrong. We are seeing how wrong he was in the terrorism taking place in Ferguson, Missouri.

As we noted yesterday, Balko’s Wall Street Journal article on the alleged “militarization” of the police was so full of inaccuracies that it was later attached to a very unusual 200-word correction. He has been exaggerating the degree to which police agencies at various levels of government have been using military equipment and tactics.

In another case, it took Balko a year to correct some false statements he made about a marijuana investigation and law enforcement visit to the home of someone named Cathy Jordan.

On March 17, he posted “A belated correction” at The Washington Post in which he said, “I did draw some conclusions in the post that I shouldn’t have.” Balko had claimed that deputies used “paramilitary” tactics and had brought “the boot down upon Cathy Jordan’s neck.” He now admits these claims were false.

Al Jazeera’s Ferguson Publicity Stunt

Al Jazeera’s Ferguson Publicity Stunt

We are seeing the herd mentality of the media at work in coverage of Ferguson, Missouri, and even some conservatives have joined the pack. Jonathan V. Last wrote in The Weekly Standard newsletter that arrived in my inbox on Wednesday that “a TV news crew was assaulted by police officers” in Ferguson. That claim is false.
....we reported on August 18 that “The film footage supplied by Al Jazeera only showed one of the correspondents being ‘caught in the crossfire’ when a tear gas canister was shown near the news crew. It was not clear where it came from or who threw it.”
So a tear gas canister being discovered near a news crew and thrown by someone has become an “assault” by the police. This is absurd. The film footage actually showed an Al Jazeera reporter walking into the tear gas, rather than away from it. The incident seemed staged, probably to generate ratings for a propaganda channel that is desperately seeking viewers.

The Weekly Standard’s treatment of the alleged assault is another unfortunate example of journalists making serious errors in judgment about events they did not witness. But the fact that an influential publication such as this would fall for the propaganda shows how the narrative about alleged police misbehavior has taken hold in the media. “When you have Kevin Williamson, Mark Steyn, and Ross Douthat all lined up to criticize the police in Ferguson, Missouri, you know that something is happening,” wrote Jonathan Last. “Part of the reason some conservatives are turning on law enforcement is the militarization of the police.”
But perhaps they have overreacted to a liberal version of events promoted by “news” organizations that want to find the police guilty of being prepared for the worst.
In the Al Jazeera case, it appears that the “news” channel contributed to its own reporters getting gassed because of their bright camera lights on the street that caused confusion. As indicated in our previous report on this incident, the tear gas was probably thrown at the outside agitators and demonstrators, but was falsely interpreted by the propaganda channel to have been directed at them. That enabled Al Jazeera reporters to pose as the victims of law enforcement. This generated some publicity for the ratings-starved channel.
Fortunately, some writers and commentators are starting to set the record straight about the police response.
Daniel Greenfield at FrontPageMag writes that “The militarization of the police was a response to left-wing violence and terror.” In a devastating article, he notesthat:
  • “If the left hadn’t spent much of the last century inciting race riots and setting up terrorist groups, there wouldn’t be police officers armed for war.”
  • “If not for the left’s disastrous social experiments, the War on Drugs would never have been necessary.”
  • “Finally, if the left hadn’t shifted immigration over to the Third World while sympathizing with Islamic terrorists, September 11 and its law enforcement and military aftermath would never have been necessary.”
In the case of Ferguson, he writes, “Stripping away the rioting and looting from the police in riot gear made the law enforcement response seem deranged and insane. It’s only when we see the rioting, the looting and the arson, the shots fired and Molotov cocktails thrown that the heavy gear suddenly has a context.”
In his piece, “Reject the ‘Militarized’ Police Screed,” William R. Hawkins writes, “Perhaps the irresponsible hyperbole about the ‘militarized police’ will fade now that the mob violence in Ferguson has required the calling out of an element of the real military, the Missouri National Guard.” He hopes that “the dangerous flirtation too many supposedly conservative pundits had with left-wing rhetoric will now be seen as an embarrassing episode not to be repeated.”
Alfred S. Regnery writes at Breitbart that “A Google search for militarization of police would make an innocent think that cops in battle gear and AR-15s, riding around in tanks and armored personnel carriers, are on every corner in every town and city in the United States.” He goes on to say that the misuses of military equipment by police in some cases “are far outweighed by the effective demonstration and use of ‘militarization’ by law enforcement” in many others. “To condemn the practice overall because of a handful of misuses makes no more sense than to ban the purchase and ownership of handguns, rifles, and shotguns because a few people misuse them.”
Yet, the reaction by many in the liberal and conservative media to seeing police in military gear and with military equipment was one of horror. That is why the term “militarization” took off in acceptance. It took on a new and more ominous tone in the work of a libertarian writer named Radley Balko, whose articles have been characterized by gross exaggerations and inaccuracies.
It is a legitimate area of inquiry, but the media have mostly fallen for Balko’s distortions.
Jim Simpson wrote about this topic in an AIM special report, “Police Militarization, Abuses of Power, and the Road to Impeachment.” But as veteran crime blogger Tina Trent points out, Simpson focused almost exclusively on federal agency interventions, and he did not carelessly conflate federal behavior with that of state and local police entities. “He does not exaggerate the incidence or significance of events,” Trent noted. “Nor does he deny or minimize the criminal conditions that demand police response.”
Trent commented about Simpson’s work for AIM: “He offers balanced reporting, acknowledging that while select excessive actions can be identified after the fact, they are extremely rare, and state and local agencies are responsible and responsive while performing legitimate, high-danger, high-stress jobs and have excellent records of efficiently protecting the public from real threats.”
By contrast, she says, “Knee-jerk anti-cop activists like Radley Balko and his peers behave as if police are simply sadists who attack innocent people with no provocation.”

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Liya Palagashvili: Do Higher Minimum Wages Create More Jobs? - WSJ

When you raise the minimum wage, as Mr. Obama said in Denver, "that money gets churned back into the economy. And the whole economy does better, including the businesses."
This theory is dubious for many reasons, not least because minimum-wage workers make up about 2% of the workforce, a percentage much too small to have such an effect. Yet if this theory were valid—and if these data reveal useful information—then job growth should be greater the higher the minimum-wage boost.
Not so. Of the 13 states that raised the minimum wage, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York were the three that raised it most, with increases ranging from 5% to 14%. These three states also experienced the worst job growth between January and May, an average of 0.03% compared with an average 1.28% for the other 10 states. Indeed, job growth was worse in each of these three states than it was, on average, in the 37 states that did not raise their minimum wage at all. Moreover, in New Jersey, the state that hiked minimum wage the most—to $8.25 an hour from $7.25—employment actually fell by about 0.56%.
Washington experienced the largest job growth at 2.1%, but the state only raised its hourly minimum wage by 13 cents. A full-time minimum-wage employee in Seattle now earns, before taxes, a whopping $23.80 more a month. That's barely enough to cover dinner for two at a chain restaurant. Consider also that between December and May the price of gasoline rose by more than 20 cents a gallon, according to Minimum-wage workers would need a big chunk of their higher pay to cover the increased cost of driving. There's no way there was enough left over to spark extra job growth.
We conducted a statistical analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' data called a two-sample "t" test for comparing two means. We found, for this time period, no difference in the job-growth trend in the states that raised their minimum wages from states that did not. In other words, the correlation cited as debunking the economic case against the minimum wage is not statistically significant.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ferguson: New York Times Buries News of Officer Wilson's Injury

Ferguson: New York Times Buries News of Officer Wilson's Injury

Bret Stephens: Of Ferguson and Fallujah - WSJ

What Mr. Bratton mainly wants to underscore is that crime in the Big Apple continues to plumb historic lows, never mind recent tabloid headlines. He wants to underscore, also, the reason for it: broken-windows policing methods. Such is his belief in broken windows that he comes to the meeting flanked by the man who helped come up with the idea: George Kelling, the legendary criminologist.
Broken windows stresses that endemic criminality is not primarily a function of the usual "root causes"—poverty, racism, bad schools, broken families and so on. The real problem is disorder itself.
"Disorder and crime are usually inextricably linked, in a kind of developmental sequence," Mr. Kelling observed in a seminal 1982 Atlantic article, co-written with the late James Q. Wilson. The mere appearance of disorder—graffiti, broken windows, an abandoned car, drug dealers or prostitutes openly plying their trades—creates a sense that nobody's looking, nobody cares, nobody is in charge. Bad guys respond to these environmental cues by acting badly. Good people stay off the street, bolt their doors, move out.
Last October I wrote a column with the headline "Iraq Tips Toward the Abyss." It was prompted by the news that 7,000 Iraqi civilians had been killed over the previous 10 months alone.
"Americans may think they've changed the channel on Iraq, but the grisly show goes on," I wrote. "Pay attention before it gets worse." The world yawned and the Obama administration did nothing.
In January came the news that a group called the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham had retaken Fallujah, just 40 or so miles west of Baghdad, a city that U.S. Marines had liberated a decade earlier at a major cost in lives. The media ran a few stories about the heartache of the battle's veterans. President Obama said nothing.
In July, ISIS took Mosul and seized six divisions worth of U.S. supplied Iraqi military equipment. For once, President Obama took public notice but waited another month before doing anything, ostensibly because he disapproved of the leadership in Baghdad. That was around the time Kurdistan nearly fell to ISIS and the Yazidis were nearly wiped out.
This is a case study of allowing neighborhoods to decay and disorder to fester; of doing things reactively, not preventively. Where would we be in Iraq today if Mr. Obama hadn't simply walked and looked away for the past three years?
The answer to disorder is to provide order. To engage community leaders. To enforce norms. To reassure good citizens that their security is being looked after and it's not every man for himself. To maintain a visible presence that deters would-be lawbreakers from committing criminal acts. To prevent bad people from acting badly, and to punish them swiftly when they do.

What state charges could be filed in the Michael Brown shooting? - The Washington Post

What state charges could be filed in the Michael Brown shooting? - The Washington Post

Ferguson | Mike Brown | Trayvon Martin | George Zimmerman

Ferguson | Mike Brown | Trayvon Martin | George Zimmerman

Twitter / ChristineDByers: Police sources tell me more ...

Twitter / ChristineDByers: Police sources tell me more ...

Monday, August 18, 2014

Broken Windows - George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson - The Atlantic

Broken Windows - George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson - The Atlantic

Social psychologists and police officers tend to agree that if a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken. This is as true in nice neighborhoods as in rundown ones. Window-breaking does not necessarily occur on a large scale because some areas are inhabited by determined window-breakers whereas others are populated by window-lovers; rather, one unrepaired broken window is a signal that no one cares, and so breaking more windows costs nothing. (It has always been fun.)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Women Need To Be Educated About Sexual Consent, Right Now They Aren’t | Thought Catalog

Women Need To Be Educated About Sexual Consent, Right Now They Aren’t | Thought Catalog

When Lara Stemple, a researcher at UCLA looked at the latest National Crime Victimization Survey, she was shocked to see that men experienced rape and sexual assault almost as frequently as women, and that women were often the perpetrators. Once the definition of rape was expanded to include more than just penetration, it became clear that men and women were equally likely to be raped, and more importantly, equally likely to be rapists. Researchers from the University of Missouri got the same results, finding that “43% of high school boys and young college men reported they had an unwanted sexual experience and of those, 95% said a female acquaintance was the aggressor.”

How can women aggressively rape men? It’s very simple: men do not fight back because they will be the party arrested, as specified under the Violence Against Women Act, which has a mandatory arrest clause that almost always means the man will be arrested, no matter who the primary aggressor happened to be. A man who physically, violently resists unwanted sexual behaviors or any other physical attack from a woman will be arrested, and most men know that. That is why Solange felt perfectly safe slapping, kicking and punching Jay Z. If he lifted a finger in his own defense, he would be the one arrested.
Given that men have no reproductive rights, and given that men will be arrested if they physically resist unwanted sexual aggression from women, it is even more vital that we begin educating men about consent and victimization. But there is no point educating men if we are not going to educate women at the same time. A popular poster campaign suggests that we need to teach men not to rape. Well, okay. As long as we teach women not to rape, too. All rape is bad. No matter who the victim is, no matter who the assailant is. It’s not okay.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Does the Minimum Wage Increase Worker Productivity? | Mercatus

Does the Minimum Wage Increase Worker Productivity? | Mercatus

An interesting chart appears in the piece...

The article links to the data used to compile the chart.
        Pulling that up and having the spreadsheet display the Least Squares Fit equations and R2 values, I get:

No high school diploma (under 25)
No high school diploma (all ages)
High school diploma
College diploma

So it turns out that if you have a high school diploma, you are less impacted by increases in the minimum wage than those who don't have such a diploma.  If you have a college diploma, you benefit from increases in the minimum wage. Maybe anyone with a college diploma who argues in favor of increasing the minimum wage should be viewed with suspicion. :-)

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Four better ideas to fight campus sexual assault |

So how should colleges handle sexual assault claims? The Washington Examiner asked four experts on the topic. Each agreed that universities should not handle such cases in-house, though their preferred methods differed
Andrew Miltenberg 
Miltenberg is an attorney whose law firm is litigating at least three lawsuits from male students accusing their schools of violating their rights over sexual assault accusations. He doesn’t believe that accusations should be completely turned over to the police, instead opting for a more professional campus process.
“The answer begins at the investigative level; investigators should have significant training, and act as information gatherers, not gatekeepers, which is currently how they behave,” Miltenberg said.
“There must be greater access to the material and information that the hearing panel will rely upon, there must be an opportunity to better prepare a response, and perhaps most significant, there must be trained hearing officers — preferably people with substantial judicial, quasi-judicial, arbitration and/or mediation background; people that are trained and objective triers of fact, that have experience deconstructing testimony and complex factual scenarios with competing versions of events,” he added
KC Johnson 
Johnson, a history professor at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate Center, is a leading advocate for due process rights for students accused of sexual assault. He also co-authored a book about the Duke lacrosse players wrongfully accused of rape.
“Sexual assault is a serious crime,” Johnson told the Examiner. “And serious crimes should be investigated only by the police and prosecuted only by prosecutors.”
Johnson pointed out that colleges wouldn’t be expected to investigate and punish other violent crimes — like murder or first-degree assault — so why should they investigate rape?
John F. Banzhaf III 
Banzhaf, a law professor at George Washington University Law School and one of the leading voices on the issue of due process, provided the Examiner an extensive proposal for reforming how colleges handle sexual assault claims.
Banzhaf first pointed out that he does not believe accusations should be handled solely by police and prosecutors or solely by the universities.
He said the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard of proof used in criminal trials would make it “very difficult to get convictions in typical date rape cases which are often ‘he said, she said’ where both were under the influence of alcohol, and there is little if any evidence.”
If you’re thinking that should be a good thing, as evidence is necessary in criminal cases, remember that, as Banzhaf said, this type of case often leaves accusers without the protection they seek.
As for letting colleges and universities handle the cases exclusively, Banzhaf said that sexual assault is too serious an issue.
“These system[s] are designed primarily to handle minor infractions (e.g., underage drinking, minor mischief, brawls, etc.), which can easily be investigated by campus police ... because the evidence is usually pretty clear,” he said.
The punishments for these infractions are generally not that severe, Banzhaf said.
But for sexual assault, campuses need “specially trained investigators who follow standardized procedures/protocols, which include careful intake questions of the accuser as well as the accused, the careful preservation of evidence, etc.”
Banzhaf noted that “virtually no campus” has enough sexual assault cases to employ a trained professional full-time.
Banzhaf instead believes that, at least in areas with multiple universities, the schools could establish a “consortium” — an independent entity with training that would investigate the accusations.
“If these investigators concluded that prosecution/adjudication wasn't warranted, they would report that to the school, the matter would be dropped, and no one could reasonably suspect either bias or a careless investigation,” Banzhaf said.
“If prosecution was warranted, the consortium could also perform that function, presumably using retired judges, retired sex crime prosecutors, retired attorneys, etc. — this would be similar to organizations which now provide arbitration determinations for a reasonable fee,” he added. “Alternatively, the consortium could prosecute the case before an existing arbitration organization or panel.”
Such a proposal would ensure, Banzhaf said, that the matter was “adjudicated properly without any possible bias.”
Alternatively, Banzhaf proposed that since in many cases the accuser doesn’t think the accused should be expelled, but still doesn’t want to see them around campus, that colleges could handle those situations.
“In such situations, where the penalty is less serious — e.g., dropping one class, being moved to another dormitory, etc. — it may be appropriate to leave the matter to the existing campus adjudicatory system without much worry about procedural protections, trained investigators, very formal hearings, etc.,” Banzhaf said.
Robert Shibley 
Shibley, communications director for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, one of the main organizations arguing for due process on college campuses, believed that sexual assault cases should be turned over to the police but that universities should still be involved.
“When it comes to actually adjudicating whether someone did or did not commit a felony crime, FIRE does believe that should be the province of law enforcement,” Shibley told the Examiner.“And colleges should have a role too, but that role should be limited to acting to protect their students.”
For instance, Shibley said, universities could provide counseling to “people having problems” and facilitate a barrier between the accuser and accused.
“[An] easy thing they can do is to work with them and be flexible in allowing them to move out of their dormitories or move into a different living situation,” Shibley said. “They can also issue no-contact orders and ensure that their schedules don’t cross so that they’re not going to be sitting next to someone they feel victimized by in class.”
Shibley said those actions could be taken while an investigation was being conducted. Pressed on whether those actions promote a “guilty until proven innocent” mentality, Shibley clarified.
“Well the important thing is to, you know, before the person is found guilty or innocent, you take the steps — you can take the steps to protect the victim that are the least intrusive into the accused’s life because they have not been found guilty yet,” Shibley said.

Monday, August 04, 2014

No, the IRS Did Not Target Progressives Like It Targeted Conservatives | National Review Online

No, the IRS Did Not Target Progressives Like It Targeted Conservatives | National Review Online

Looking at the numbers, the chart answers a question I’ve asked myself ever since the Left claimed that it had been targeted as well: If progressives experienced similar targeting, why didn’t they make any notable contemporaneous complaints? After all, conservatives raised the issue well over a year ago, members of Congress asked the IRS commissioner about it directly, and the New York Times was even moved by the complaints to write its now-clownish March 7, 2012, editorial claiming the IRS was merely “do[ing] its job.”
Perhaps progressives didn’t complain because their targeting experience involved seven groups that were asked an average of just five additional questions (rounded up to be generous) and were approved at a 100 percent rate.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Paradigms and Demographics: GMO’s: Scare Mongering at Its Worst! Part II

Paradigms and Demographics: GMO’s: Scare Mongering at Its Worst! Part II

You can make any accusation and frame it in the form of a question and not have to prove anything one way or another. But the thought is planted in people’s minds there’s something nefarious about GMO’s, and the companies producing them. This has been the scare tactic activists have been using going back to Silent Spring and the mother of junk science, Rachel Carson.Dr. Madeleine Pelner Cosman, Ph.D. notes that there are seven steps to this process and usually follow this pattern:

1.      Create a "scientific" study that predicts a public health disaster

2.      Release the study to the media, before scientists can review it

3.      Generate an intense emotional public reaction

4.      Develop a government-enforced solution

5.      Intimidate Congress into passing it into law

6.      Coerce manufacturers to stop making the product

7.      Bully users to replace it, or obliterate it