24 Nov 2014

For CNN, Michael Smerconish Helps Police Create Propaganda Against Ferguson Protesters

Attorney and radio and television host Michael Smerconish spent a full hour on November 22 on the forthcoming grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri, that was expected. He committed his show to not only holding protesters accountable but also to giving a Ferguson police officer air time to spread fear by claiming that all police officers he knows have received “death threats.”

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24 Nov 2014

The Perverse Way More Exchange Competition Could Leave Some People Worse Off

The goal of the Affordable Care Act exchanges was to encourage competition among private insurers, but ironically attracting more competition could leave many people the exchanges were designed to help the worst off. To understand why you need to know a few things about the structure of the law, the complexity of selecting a policy, and human nature.

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24 Nov 2014

Secretary of Defense Hagel Announces Resignation

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has announced his resignation to be completed when the Senate confirms a replacement. The announcement came at an event at the White House where President Obama offered a warm summation of Hagel’s career and personal friendship with the president. Flanked by both President Obama and Vice President Biden, Secretary Hagel said he was looking forward to spending more time with his family and was proud of his public service.

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24 Nov 2014

Utah May Fight NSA by Cutting Off Their Water

It is with some Quixotic pleasure that a Utah state legislative committee will vote on a bill that could deprive a National Security Agency facility just outside Salt Lake City of its water, all in protest of the government agency’s collection of civilian data.

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24 Nov 2014

Obama Reverses Pledge On US Combat Role In Afghanistan

Last May President Barack Obama announced that US forces in Afghanistan would finally be ending their combat mission and in 2015 would move to an advisory role. According to The New York Times that pledge has now been reversed with an order to continue combat missions against the Taliban and anyone else who threatens US forces in the country or the Afghan government. Rather than pull back from Afghanistan as President Obama promised, the US is doubling down.

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19 Nov 2014

The Unexpected Way Local Marijuana Taxes Can Impact Public Health

If tax rates vary from city to city some people are going to drive to the next town to get a better deal. How much extra driving that could cause would depend on a huge number of unknowns, but purely for the sake of an illustration let’s assume a third of Oregon’s projected recreational consumers would choose to always drive to stores an average of 15 miles further away to save on taxes. That could result in 100 million more miles driven during the first three years. Based on national averages that should translate to about one extra traffic death and 80 injuries. It would also release about 40,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. A modest but real downside.

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19 Nov 2014

High Court Judge Rules UK Government Not Entitled to Immunity From Claims Brought by Torture & Rendition Victim

A high court judge in the United Kingdom has ruled that a Pakistani detained by British forces in Iraq in February 2004 may proceed with claims against the UK government related to his rendition, torture and detention.

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19 Nov 2014

Over Easy: Grand Jury Basics, as Ferguson Waits for a Decision

The interesting issue in this case is why the prosecutor decided to go to the grand jury, as opposed to charging Darren Wilson by information. The likely reason that the prosecutor did not file by information is that it would have potentially been a job killer. If he charged Wilson with murder, the police would have turned against him, but the citizens of Ferguson and their supporters would have and were turning against him because he did not. To extricate himself from the dilemma, he took the case to the grand jury.

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19 Nov 2014

Uber Investigating Executive For Tracking Reporter Using Uber Data

While Uber has yet to fire the executive who called for Uber’s media critics to be personally destroyed, it has begun an investigation into Josh Mohrer, Uber’s general manager in New York, for possibly tracking a reporter using Uber data raising concerns that people within the company are using private information from Uber users for nefarious purposes.

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19 Nov 2014

Overwhelming Support for Change to New York City’s Racist Marijuana Policy

Ending the racist and often illegal way the New York City police have abused the marijuana possession laws enjoys overwhelming support.

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