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Forget about price controls**. The Venezuelan government finally figured it out. The country is facing an acute shortage of toilet paper because people are eating too much. The head of the National Institute of Statistics released a survey yesterday that shows that Venezuelans âare eating three times a day or even more.”
As Dan Gross explains, the Venezuelan T.P. shortage is a fairly textbook case of well-intentioned safety-net planning run amok. Venezuela wanted to make sure toilet paper and other basic staples were available to the nation’s poor during a period of high inflation. Rather than simply subsidize purchases with an American-style food stamp program, it implemented strict price controls, putting a ceiling on how much manufacturers could charge consumers for basic goods.
Those price controls lowered producers’ profits and took away much of their incentive to produce. And combined with fairly strict currency controls that have made it harder for Venezuelan companies to receive foreign supplies and equipment, the result has been “shortages of staples like milk, meat and toilet paper,” as the Times put it last year.
Socialist logic at its finest.
Prices. So important yet so poorly understood.
A judge has ruled that a North Texas lesbian couple can’t cohabitate — live together — because of a morality clause in one of the women’s divorce papers.
The clause is common in divorce cases in Texasand other states. It prevents a divorced parent from having a romantic partner spend the night while children are in the home. If the couple marries, they can get out from under the legal provision — but that is not an option for gay couples in Texas, where such marriages aren’t recognized.
The Dallas Morning News reportedthat in a divorce hearing last month for Carolyn and Joshua Compton, Collin County District JudgeJohn Roach Jr. enforced the terms detailed in their 2011 divorce papers. He ordered Carolyn Compton’s partner, Page Price, to move out of the home they shared with the Comptons’ two daughters, ages 10 and 13. The judge gave Price 30 days to find another place to live.
I seriously can’t believe we as a populace tolerate this nonsense. The fact that these laws exist shows just how backward humans are.
Every time I look at this young man’s photo, my heart breaks apart for him and his family:
Cameron D’Ambrosio should not be in handcuffs. He should not be in a court room. He should not have been arrested, and he damn well sure should not have been accused of Communicating a Terrorist Threat, or threatened with 20 years in prison for making what amounts to poor word choices.
This entire case is shot through with injustice:
Before charges were even formally filed, local newspapers were already posting pictures from Cam’s facebook and pointing to “disturbing” posts like “Fuck politics. Fuck Obama. Fuck the government!” and “satanic” imagery (like some image from a metal band’s poster.) All of this is free speech that is 100% protected by the 1st Amendment.
And then there’s this:
Fox News went so far as to say that Cam’s facebook profile had images that they “couldn’t show on TV.” They and other media outlets frequently and intentionally printed only a small section of the lyrics that Cam was arrested for allegedly writing, and took them out of context to make rap metaphors sound like a real threat.
The media printed:
“(Expletive) a boston bominb wait till u see the (expletive) I do, I’ma be famous”
The actual line is:
“(Expletive) a boston bominb wait till u see the (expletive) I do, I’ma be famous rapping”
Notice something? The context completely changes the meaning of the line. Suddenly something that sounds like a threat of violence is clearly just bragging about how good Cammy Dee is going to be in the rap game. Last we checked, teenage dreams of grandeur were not a crime.
Such omissions are scandalous. You can see one example here (they also incorrectly stated that Cameron pleaded “guilty.” He pled “not guilty.”). The source above also reported that Cameron was arrested on a previous assault and battery charge, but neglected to mention that those charges were later dismissed.
This case involves a number of horrifying breaches of journalistic ethics, paired with a complete, utter failure to exercise prosecutorial discretion. A young 18-year old man with his whole life ahead of him may spend the next 20 years of his life in prison for doing nothing more than posting uncouth status updates on his Facebook page. As Rob D’Ovidio, a criminal justice professor at Drexel University, said recently:
When I was young, calling a bomb threat to your high school because you didn’t want to go to school that day was treated with a slap on the wrist. Try that nowadays and you’re going to prison, no question about it. They are taking it more seriously now[.]
And then there’s this gem from the local police chief:
“There are no more threats that are high school pranks,” said Joseph Solomon, police chief, during a press conference Thursday afternoon. “If they’re thinking that way, they need to get their heads into 2013.”
This is the incarceration nation in motion. The fear of legitimate threats is used to extend the scope of punitive executive scrutiny to cases that otherwise would’ve been dealt with outside the criminal justice system. Stupid mistakes and ill-timed remarks become serious felonies with decades in prison as the penalty.
Cases like this highlight the need for people to push back against the overcriminalization of America. We need to stop sending our kids to prison for dumb mistakes. We need to stop traumatizing 18-year olds by making them do the perp walk, and then telling them they’re facing 20 years in prison for being oafish online. None of this is necessary. All of it is unjust, improper, and counterproductive.
Currently on display at the FDR Library in New York are the contents of Eleanor Roosevelt’s wallet. One item of interest is Eleanor’s 1957 ‘Licence to Carry a Pistol.’
The First Lady, who was known to be fiercely independent, struck a deal with the Secret Service that she would agree to carry a firearm if they would agree to let her travel unaccompanied by car.
It’s a feature, not a bug.
He’s already become the first attorney general ever to be held in contempt of Congress, after the Justice Department refused to comply with a House subpoena demanding documents about the department’s response to the Fast and Furious “gunwalking” scandal. He’s already been vilified by Republicans. He’s already been called on to resign.
All the while, President Barack Obama has stood by Holder, invoking executive privilege against Congress for the first time in his presidency — and doing so in an unusually broad fashion that arguably undercut his pledge to run the most transparent administration. Apart from a barrage of unpleasant news coverage, little of consequence happened.
Gloria Richardson pushes a national guard bayonet out of her face during a 1963 civil rights protest in Maryland.
Thinking about file-sharing? Don’t. You’ll get fined, and crime doesn’t pay (unless you rob banks and/or armored cars, then it pays very well). Take it from Jammie Thomas, who was fined $2 million for downloading 24 songs, or anyone else who tried to fight the RIAA.
Instead, try another crime, because plenty of them draw far lighter penalties than downloading Jason Mraz’s latest. Thanks to the Mechanics blog at Gapers Block, here are seven crimes that will get you smaller fines than file-sharing:
1. Child abduction: the fine is only like $25000.
2. Stealing the actual CD: the fine is $2,500
3. Rob your neighbor: the fine is $375,000
4. Burn a house down: The fine is just over $375,000
5. Stalk someone: The fine is $175,000
6. Start a dogfighting ring: the fine is $50,000
7. Murder someone: The maximum penalty is only $25,000 and 15 years in jail, and depending on your yearly salary, would probably be far slighter a penalty that $2 million.
Seriously, murdering someone will result in a lighter overall penalty than downloading a bunch of songs and getting caught. Granted, you don’t get shivved in the showers at home, but still.
Welcome to NJ, Pro Gun Citizen Forcefully Removed From Hearing in the Middle of His Testimony
James Kaleda explains that the proposed NJ Gun Bills will not save any lives but will endanger them. He is ejected by Committee Chair Senator Norcross. This took place at the NJ Senate gun control hearings in Trenton on April 30, 2013.
Notice in the video the legislators laugh as they have their security (armed with guns of course) remove Kaleda before he finished his testimony.
I guess this is how they handle dissent in NJ, remove it from the building with armed guards.
Drunk on power.
“I already belong to a health club, a church, and the Kiwanis Club,” Tammy Golden of Los Angeles wrote. “I’m a member of the Von’s Grocery Super Savers, which gets me a discount on certain groceries. These are all well-managed organizations with real benefits. None of them send me a confusing bill once a year and make me work it out myself, then throw me in jail if I get it wrong.”
God I wish this were real
WISHING THIS WASNT THE ONION
Senior Obama officials tell the US Senate: the ‘war’, in limitless form, will continue for ‘at least’ another decade - or two…