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STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS Showing 801 - 850 of 4392
Democracy Minus Voters
September 10, 2015
The phrase "to carefully gerrymander" is more than just a split infinitive. It is apparently a legally permissible activity in Missouri. The Business Loop 70 Community Improvement District tried its best to make sure no annoying voters could stop its new taxes, ...
Chris Christie Thinks Inside the Box
September 09, 2015
The presidential race is already entering silly season. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wants to build a wall spanning the U.S.–Canada border. Do we have a problem with Canadians sneaking into the United States to take our coffee and donuts? No, of course not. Ca ...
ISIS Goes on Gold Standard?
September 08, 2015
Islamic State militants may be crazed killers, but at least some of them are taking an interest in the evil that underlies modern banking. They claim the group will soon issue gold coins as its medium of exchange. In compliance with sharia, the new dinars will ...
Rubio's Selective Religious Freedom
September 07, 2015
Civil disobedience in defense of individual rights can be noble and effective, but its success usually depends of the view of the evaluator. People defend disobedience when they agree with its goal. Senator Rubio defends the Kentucky county clerk who says that ...
Homeland Security Busts the Rentboys
September 04, 2015
Government officials including FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers frequently demand greater investigative powers. They justify it by highlighting – some would say hyping – terrorist threats from ISIL and other radical groups. To s ...
Will Your Car Obey You or the Police?
September 03, 2015
Our view of civil rights has to evolve as technology changes our lives. More often than not, the changes are for the worse. Fifty years ago, could the police enter your home without a warrant and review your family photos for criminal evidence? No, and they sti ...
How Shoddy Science Creates Big Government
September 02, 2015
Many non-scientists hold a romanticized view of scientific research. We think it is very black and white, with scientists rigorously searching for measurable evidence, and happily conceding when experiments prove a hypothesis wrong. In fact, scientists are as h ...
Prepare To Be Droned, America
September 01, 2015
The technology that lets unmanned U.S. drones blow up alleged "enemy combatants" in the Middle East is coming home. U.S. police departments, which already embraced drones for surveillance purposes, now want to deploy weapons on them. North Dakota's legislature ...
What is Your Computer Hiding From You?
August 31, 2015
A good question arose in the comments to our Thursday story about U.S. border agents searching and seizing laptop computers. Can't people simply store their data on the cloud to keep it safely from government hands? Let's think this through. Say you have a few ...
US Political System Faces the Trump Test
August 28, 2015
George Will, who often has no problem embracing Big Brother, found enough small-government vocabulary to write an entertaining takedown of Donald Trump's immigration plan. The article exemplifies the exasperation mainstream GOP powers must feel at Trump's ascen ...
Bordering on Insanity
August 27, 2015
There are logical arguments for nation-states to defend their borders against illicit persons and goods. Those arguments are not nearly as compelling as some people think, but they exist. They apply mainly for people and goods entering a country – not those l ...
Entangling Alliances and Women's Suffrage
August 26, 2015
Having the right to vote is significant only to the extent it means you can vote for some meaningful office or issue. Saudi Arabian women can now vote in municipal elections. This is progress for a kingdom in which men, particularly men of the royal family, hol ...
The Pentagon Door Revolves Again
August 25, 2015
Americans like to think the nation takes good care of their veterans. Its actual record for doing so is spotty at best, as recent VA hospital scandals demonstrate. Nevertheless, one category of veterans always lands on its feet after it hangs up the uniform. Re ...
Approaching Asteroid Threatens Banks
August 24, 2015
In a world where economic dinosaurs quickly go extinct, traditional banking is one of the prime survivors. Abundant capital and friendly capital have let it adapt to every challenge. When banks lost commercial lending business to asset backed securitization in ...
Ohio's Mystery Marijuana Fans
August 21, 2015
On the surface, Ohio looks like a strong candidate to join the list of states allowing legal recreational marijuana. Look deeper and you will find a more complicated story. "ResponsibleOhio" is a noble-sounding name for a group of investors who seek a state-enf ...
Local Government Larceny
August 20, 2015
Charles Blow, the New York Times columnist we quote today, is no libertarian. Nonetheless, he points to an important issue libertarians should consider. The reasoning goes like this: If we must have government at all, power should reside mostly in local governm ...
Trump Proves Money Matters
August 19, 2015
Donald Trump's persistent poll lead puzzles both journalists and political operatives. Despite breaking all the normal rules of electoral politics, he obviously appeals to a sizable voter segment. Yet another paradox is that, in the course of pursuing public of ...
Ma Bell Lies, Betrays Customers
August 18, 2015
The line between government and private business is often fuzzy, but for AT&T it seems almost invisible. Asked by the National Security Agency to help spy on American citizens, the company apparently jumped at the opportunity. So did other telecom providers, bu ...
Could 'Smart Contracts' Render the State Powerless?
August 17, 2015
Those of a libertarian or anarchist bent like bitcoin for both its privacy and the incapacity of governments to debase its value, but the underlying "blockchain" technology has a wealth of other potential uses. "Smart contracts" are one such use. As MIT Technol ...
War: Still a Racket
August 14, 2015
Like the proverbial frog in a kettle, the American public is almost completely unaware that its president is waging an illegal war. President Obama has been spending American blood and treasure in and around Syria for a full year now. Whether attacking the Isla ...
'The Man's' (Unreliable) Best Friend
August 13, 2015
Dogs may be man's best friend, but they do make mistakes. Lex, an Illinois drug dog, signals drugs are present in 93% of his searches. Yet searches by human officers find Lex is wrong some 40% of the time. A federal appeals court upheld the conviction of a man ...
Fast Coffee and the Internet Reformation
August 12, 2015
The news media loves to speculate about the impending robot invasion. Automated systems will steal our jobs, they say. The robot apocalypse will seal the doom of unskilled workers. You might buy some time by learning to code now, at least until the robots learn ...
NSA Debate Goes Primetime
August 11, 2015
Last week's GOP presidential "debate" was more interesting than expected. While Donald Trump certainly enlivened the event, the night's most substantive discussion was the Chris Christie – Rand Paul exchange on warrantless National Security Agency surveillanc ...
'The European Project' Takes Another Step
August 10, 2015
"Never let a good crisis go to waste," a phrase attributed to various American political strategists, is advice politicians everywhere try to follow. Certain European leaders are following it right now. The Greek debt drama exposed serious divisions in the Euro ...
'I Trusted the Government Too Much'
August 07, 2015
When farmers plunge their life savings into mining stocks at 6-to-1 leverage, it is fair to assume a bubble has formed that will eventually pop. That is certainly the case in China right now. Farmers like Yang Cheng made the mistake of believing their governmen ...
Policing is Intrinsically Risky
August 06, 2015
Police shootings have been a major news topic for a year now, dating back to when a Ferguson, Missouri officer killed Michael Brown in August 2014. Social media and video evidence have convinced many Americans police kill citizens far too frequently and without ...
Jimmy Carter Calls U.S. an Oligarchy
August 05, 2015
Americans were ready for a change when Jimmy Carter left office in 1981. No amount of money would have outweighed the damage a weak economy and an Iranian hostage crisis did to his presidency. Almost 35 years later, Carter is now the longest surviving ex-presid ...
NYPD to Launch Future Crime Unit
August 04, 2015
New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton, never a privacy zealot, now just denies the whole concept. "There are no secrets," he says. We will remember that next time one of his officers kills an unarmed citizen. If he's serious, the investigation will ...
Wealthy Psychopaths Hate Competition
August 03, 2015
That the super-rich are not like you and me is no surprise. Among other differences, they have billions of Federal Reserve Notes to their name – more than they can possibly spend. How does one join them? The author profiled in today's article asks that questi ...
Police Demand Compliance or Death
July 31, 2015
Today's excerpt is by Orin Kerr, a George Washington University law professor. The Sandra Bland arrest video he discusses will – or at least should – outrage anyone who respects justice and decency. The way the officer repeatedly screams, "I'm giving you a ...
The Algorithm of Crowds
July 30, 2015
Modern technology makes life easier, but it can also change our perception in potentially dangerous ways. For instance, the Internet lets us see news and political commentary from many different perspectives. Intuitively, this might seem positive. We can easily ...
Alaska: Socialist Worker's Paradise?
July 29, 2015
In the 2008 election, Tea Party conservatives embraced Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as one of their own. Many still revere her and insist the "liberal media" distorted her record. In fact, no one needed to distort Palin's record; reality was bad enough. She rose ...
Hackers Can Use Your Car to Kill You
July 28, 2015
The news last week that "friendly" hackers could seize remote control of a vehicle forced Fiat Chrysler to recall 1.4 million vulnerable cars and trucks. Fiat Chrysler said in its statement, "The Company is unaware of any injuries related to software exploitati ...
U.S. General Spits on Constitution
July 27, 2015
Last week we featured a refreshingly candid retired U.S. general. Today we have another one, who is far too candid in the opposite direction. General Wesley Clark thinks the government should send "radicalized" Americans to internment camps. We need not explain ...
Banks, GMOs and Tail Risk
July 24, 2015
The two authors of today's story draw an interesting parallel between financial manipulation and genetic manipulation. Both, they say, are interventions in complex, imperfectly understood systems that risk dangerous negative consequences. Big Finance and Big Ag ...
Who Is Frustrated at the Fed?
July 23, 2015
We have to wonder what Michigan Republican Rep. Bill Huizenga is thinking. His effort to remove the New York Fed's permanent position on the Federal Open Market Committee is probably doomed to failure. It will accomplish almost nothing of consequence in the unl ...
General Rebellion and Media Choices
July 22, 2015
Retired generals frequently land jobs with Wall Street or defense contractors, through which they can convert their military knowledge into substantial income. At least one is going a different direction, though. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn appears uninterested in a ...
Pointless Law Punishes Puerto Rico
July 21, 2015
Don't feel bad if you had to look twice at the source of today's media excerpt. It's not every day the Washington Post reports a law outlived its original purpose. The Jones Act of 1920 was probably a bad idea in the first place, but it certainly serves no purp ...
Neocon Hypocrites and Christian Diplomacy
July 20, 2015
Rev. Franklin Graham may be a fine preacher and a decent man, but his incoherent view of the Iran nuclear agreement does not enhance his credibility. It does the opposite, exposing him as simply another neoconservative hypocrite. That Rev. Graham opposes the de ...
Introducing Citicoin, 'Equivalent to Bitcoin'
July 17, 2015
A few months ago we looked at Citigroup's apparent desire to abolish cash altogether. Now we learn they are actively working in that direction, using bitcoin's blockchain technology as a model. More shocking, however, is the news that Citigroup has an "Innovat ...
Federal Reserve Spies on France
July 16, 2015
New documents from WikiLeaks show the National Security Agency spies on French companies as well as its government. That's not especially surprising. What is surprising is seeing the Federal Reserve Board on the list of "supported elements" for whom the NSA spi ...
Feds Cry Wolf, Again
July 15, 2015
As Americans prepared to celebrate Independence Day, their government did its best to spoil the party with ominous terrorism warnings. No such attacks were even attempted, so far as we know. In the maniacal mind of FBI Director James Comey, the lack of attacks ...
Greece Finds Real Money
July 14, 2015
Greece is ahead of the economic curve. While the rest of the world is stuck with various state-sponsored paper currencies, Greece has a chance to start fresh. Unpayable debt will drive it from the Eurozone at some point. No paper currency can last forever, not ...
FBI Director Comey is a Maniac
July 13, 2015
When the successor to the chair of J. Edgar Hoover feels he must reassure the nation that he is not a maniac, we have strong evidence that he is probably a maniac. FBI Director James Comey may be a fine family man but he also wishes to "keep people safe" in way ...
The Upside of Grexit
July 10, 2015
The drama gripping Europe seems to have grown tiresome for the continent's leaders. They look intent on ending it one way or the other at summit meetings this weekend. Greece may leave the currency union, voluntarily or not. We hope they do. A "Grexit" would be ...
Insanity on the Thames
July 09, 2015
UK Prime Minister David Cameron is a seriously deluded man. First, he apparently believes Facebook and Twitter users currently have "absolute privacy" in their communications. That is nonsense. Second, Cameron believes this nonexistent absolute privacy is unsus ...
Discrimination Is the Fastest Road to Freedom
July 08, 2015
One reason freedom proponents make slow progress is that they promote only selective freedom. Some same-sex marriage advocates are proving the point right now. Fresh from their Supreme Court victory, they now want to bolster their own newfound freedom by taking ...
Greek Debt Was a Two-Way Deal
July 07, 2015
News stories about the Greek crisis constantly return to a familiar refrain. The country's politicians and citizens alike borrowed unwisely, spent too freely and now don't want to pay their debts. This impression isn't wrong, but it misses half the story. Loans ...
When War is the Only Option
July 06, 2015
The world might not need diplomats if it had no nation-states. Since we do, they serve the valuable function of lubricating relations between governments. They nevertheless represent governments, not citizens. Our excerpt today is from Chas Freeman, a retired U ...
Dignity and Respect in Blue
July 03, 2015
The curriculum in most police academies is heavy on firearms and self-defense techniques. This is necessary but not sufficient. Police need public cooperation for one simple reason: They are usually outnumbered. Top marksmanship will not help one officer contro ...
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