City Government Prohibits Autistic Boy's Therapeutic Pet Chickens

The Hart family found a way to
help their autistic toddler through animal therapy, specifically
with pet chickens. Now, their local city council in DeBary, Florida
– fully aware of the boy’s condition and treatment – is telling the
family that they have to get rid of their pets.

The Harts discovered the transformative effect chickens had on
their son, J.J., last year. The boy previously experienced long
bouts of silence and fits of anger. J.J.’s mother, Ashleigh, told
the
Orlando Sentinel
about the positive effects the birds have
had on her son, “he’s now going to a new preschool, and he’s able
to communicate much better. And it all has to do with the chickens.
He plays with them. He cuddles with them. And he runs around the
yard with them. … It’s made a tremendous difference.” 

The city initially cited them for a code violation, but the
Harts petitioned to be allowed to keep their pets
and DeBary city
council began a pilot program. The city
allowed chickens, though required a permit. Reports indicate that
the Harts and one other household, which was raising the chickens
for eggs, participated in program.

Yet, the council voted last week 3-2 to yank away residents’
privilege to care for these animals. Mayor Bob Garcia was among the
dissenting voices. He
expressed
to Fox News his view that “if we make
laws that take away rights of individuals, especially children,
those laws should be abolished. We should be protecting the rights
of individuals, not suppressing them.”

Council member Nick Koval saw the situation differently. “I
sympathize,” he assured, “but, we spend a lot of time and money
establishing codes and ordinances for the protection of the
citizens and taxpayers of this community. And I believe that they
[chickens] belong in agricultural areas.”

While some government officials insist that the flightless birds
harm the community, how much harm could the ban do to this
child?

“It could be devastating to him,” Dr. Emily Forrest, who
specializes in autism, explained that “children with autism are
extremely sensitive to changes in their lives.” Forrest added,
“it’s really sad for him that he has to stop because of a city
ordinance.” 

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/10/city-government-prohibits-autistic-boys
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City Government Prohibits Autistic Boy’s Therapeutic Pet Chickens

The Hart family found a way to
help their autistic toddler through animal therapy, specifically
with pet chickens. Now, their local city council in DeBary, Florida
– fully aware of the boy’s condition and treatment – is telling the
family that they have to get rid of their pets.

The Harts discovered the transformative effect chickens had on
their son, J.J., last year. The boy previously experienced long
bouts of silence and fits of anger. J.J.’s mother, Ashleigh, told
the
Orlando Sentinel
about the positive effects the birds have
had on her son, “he’s now going to a new preschool, and he’s able
to communicate much better. And it all has to do with the chickens.
He plays with them. He cuddles with them. And he runs around the
yard with them. … It’s made a tremendous difference.” 

The city initially cited them for a code violation, but the
Harts petitioned to be allowed to keep their pets
and DeBary city
council began a pilot program. The city
allowed chickens, though required a permit. Reports indicate that
the Harts and one other household, which was raising the chickens
for eggs, participated in program.

Yet, the council voted last week 3-2 to yank away residents’
privilege to care for these animals. Mayor Bob Garcia was among the
dissenting voices. He
expressed
to Fox News his view that “if we make
laws that take away rights of individuals, especially children,
those laws should be abolished. We should be protecting the rights
of individuals, not suppressing them.”

Council member Nick Koval saw the situation differently. “I
sympathize,” he assured, “but, we spend a lot of time and money
establishing codes and ordinances for the protection of the
citizens and taxpayers of this community. And I believe that they
[chickens] belong in agricultural areas.”

While some government officials insist that the flightless birds
harm the community, how much harm could the ban do to this
child?

“It could be devastating to him,” Dr. Emily Forrest, who
specializes in autism, explained that “children with autism are
extremely sensitive to changes in their lives.” Forrest added,
“it’s really sad for him that he has to stop because of a city
ordinance.” 

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/10/city-government-prohibits-autistic-boys
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Immigration Detention: Getting Worse, Not Better

Melissa del Bosque
writes
in the Texas Observer:

A cause you can believe in.Back in 2009, the Obama administration
promised
reform of the massive, mostly for-profit U.S.
immigrant detention system. Immigrant advocates are still
waiting.

The number of deportees hasn’t diminished and private detention
facilities continue to expand. Every year more than 400,000 people
waiting for hearings with an immigration judge are housed in
far-flung jails and grim detention centers across the
nation….

Last year, the nonprofit watchdog group Detention Watch Network
issued a report on
10 of the most inhumane lockups in the nation, saying they should
be closed immediately because of myriad human rights abuses. The
group sent a
letter
and a copy of the report to President Obama outlining
their concerns and calling for the closures….The 10 facilities
were identified as the worst in the nation by a coalition of more
than 320 immigrant advocate groups, community organizers, legal
service providers and faith organizations. Bob Libal, executive
director of the nonprofit Grassroots Leadership,
toured both detention facilities in 2012 and found detainees in
crowded unsanitary cells without adequate medical care or edible
food. Some detainees had been placed in solitary confinement for
minor infractions.

A year has now passed and not one of the facilities has been
closed. “The conditions haven’t improved at all,” Libal said.
“They’ve actually gotten worse.”

In the grand scheme of things, this is a small demand: not a
reduction in deportations, just better treatment on the way out.
(Read The New York Times
coverage
of that original Obama promise, and you’ll see
officials spouting love-me-I’m-a-liberal
lines: “Detention on a large scale must continue, he said, ‘but it
needs to be done thoughtfully and humanely.'”) It’s telling that
the administration hasn’t even managed that much.

[Via
Grits for Breakfast
.]

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/10/immigration-detention-getting-worse-not
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French Court Rules E-Cigarettes are a Tobacco Product, Even Though They Contain No Tobacco

le sighThe war on e-cigarettes continues across the
world. A licensed tobacconist in Plaisance-du-Touch, France filed a
complaint against an e-cigarette retailer that set up shop nearby,
complaining that the e-cigarette retailer was violating French
public health codes, including by advertising e-cigarettes. In
France only licensed tobacconists can sell tobacco products, under
a state-imposed monopoly, and they cannot advertise them.
E-cigarettes contain nicotine, but no tobacco. Neverthless, a
French court agreed with the tobacconist, ruling that because
e-cigarettes were an alternative to a tobacco product, they too
constituted a tobacco product and the e-cigarette retailer
presented “unfair competition” to registered tobacconists. The
e-cigarette retailer will appeal the ruling, but France 24
reports
the decision may already have wide ranging effects
across the country:

“This sets a precedent that says that the sale of all
products for smoking is restricted to licensed tobacconists,” said
Bertrand Desarnauts, the lawyer for the tobacconist who filed the
complaint.

“This ruling implies that other sellers of electronic cigarettes
will no longer be able to sell them in stores or on the
Internet.”

According to figures from the French Office for Smoking Prevention,
there were 141 e-cigarette shops in France as of April 2013, but
experts estimate this number could rise to 300 by the end of the
year.

Commenting on Monday’s ruling, France’s Electronic Cigarette
Stakeholders Group (CACE) said the court’s decision could put 2,500
jobs at risk if it resulted in e-cigarette shops going out of
business.

It claimed that e-cigarettes are “a consumer product and not a
tobacco product” and accused the court in Toulouse of having
“exceeded its powers”.

There are 1.5 million users of e-cigarettes in France according
to the government, which is considering imposing the same bans on
the use of e-cigarettes as it does on actual cigarettes as well as
a ban on the sale of them to minors.

Reason TV sat down to discuss the growth of the e-cigarette
industry and the push for more regulations with the CEO of
e-cigarette maker NJOY, which you can watch below:

 

More Reason on e-cigarettes here

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/10/french-court-rules-e-cigarettes-are-a-to
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Chinese and Vietnamese Communists Helped Persuade Mandela To Liberalize Markets

In the wake of the news of Nelson Mandela’s
death some people predictably hastened to remind us that despite
his status as a symbol of peace, reconciliation, and freedom
Mandela had associations with groups that were not
sympathetic to capitalism
and were hardly afraid of committing
acts of violence. Comments criticizing Sen. Ted Cruz’s Facebook
post
 after Mandela’s death in particular were
widely reported
.  

Over at The New York Times
DealBook
, Andrew Ross Sorkin notes that while Mandela may have
believed in the nationalization of industries after his release in
1990, his attitude towards markets did change, ironically thanks in
part to talks with Chinese and Vietnamese communists at the 1992
meeting of the World Economic Forum:

But as the five-day conference of high-level speed-dating wore
on, Mr. Mandela soon decided he needed to reconsider his long-held
views: “Madiba then had some very interesting meetings with the
leaders of the Communist Parties of China and Vietnam,” Mr. Mboweni
wrote, using Mr. Mandela’s clan name. “They told him frankly as
follows: ‘We are currently striving to privatize state enterprises
and invite private enterprise into our economies. We are Communist
Party governments, and you are a leader of a national liberation
movement. Why are you talking about nationalization?’ ”

“It was those decisive moments which made him think about the
need for our movement to seriously rethink the issue,” Mr. Mboweni
said.

Mr. Mandela’s push toward free markets opened up his country to
become the fastest growing in Africa and eventually brought in
billions of dollars of investment from large companies outside the
country. Barclays, for example, acquired Absa, South Africa’s
largest consumer bank, in 2005. Iscor, the country’s largest steel
maker, was sold to Lakshmi Mittal’s LNM in 2004. Industrial and
Commercial Bank of China bought a big stake in Standard Bank, South
Africa’s largest financial services company, in 2008. And Massmart,
a South African supermarket chain, sold a majority stake to Walmart
in 2011.

After former House Speaker Newt Gingrich received hostile
reactions to a personal statement he made expressing his
condolences to South Africans and Mandela’s family following
Mandela’s death he wrote
a response
in which he addressed Mandela’s connections to
communism and armed struggle. In the statement, Gingrich rightly
asks those who criticize Mandela’s actions before his imprisonment
on Robben Island to consider not only how they would have acted in
the same situation but also how some of the Founding Fathers
behaved in response to British tyranny. Gingrich’s response was
praised by
Jim Antle
at The American Conservative, who wrote:

The Founders’ sins are worthy topics of discussion that should
not be whitewashed out of American history. But neglecting the
context of the times, the specific injustices they fought, the
institutions they built, and the principles they imperfectly
embodied is ideologically motivated malpractice.

Similarly, it is right to point out that many fawning Mandela
obituaries ignore the injustices he tolerated himself, his kind
words for terrorists and dictators, the violence of the ANC toward
blacks as well as whites, even the sins of post-apartheid South
Africa and the virtues of the country before it was transformed.
But any reference to these things that neglects or minimizes the
injustices of apartheid is woefully incomplete—and unlikely to
result in a meaningful dialogue about the very facts such
contrarian commentary hopes to expose.

Too often prominent political figures are lazily characterized
both during their lives and after their deaths, whether it is
calling Obama a “socialist,” Thatcher a “fascist,” or Tea Partiers
“anarchists.” It’s a shame to see Mandela, a praiseworthy as well
as imperfect man, being given similar treatment.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/10/chinese-and-vietnamese-communists-helped
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Two French Soldiers Killed in CAR

France
has confirmed that two of its soldiers were killed in overnight
fighting in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic,
where French forces are taking part in a military intervention
approved by the United Nations in response to disorder and violence
in the country.  

From
Voice of America
:

France confirmed that two of its soldiers have been killed in
the Central African Republic, where they have been working to end
months of instability and violence.

President Francois Hollande’s office said Tuesday the soldiers
were killed in overnight fighting in the capital, Bangui. The
statement reiterated Hollande’s support for the 1,600 French troops
working along with African forces as part of a U.N.-mandated effort
to restore security and protect civilians.

Follow this story and more at Reason
24/7
.

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at 
@reason247.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/10/two-french-soldiers-killed-in-ca
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Gene Healy: It's Not Isolationist For America To Mind Its Own Business

A
new poll from the Pew Research Center, “America’s Place
in the World 2013,” brings some sobering news to advocates of armed
international meddling. Among a survey of some 2,000 Americans, 51
percent believe that the U.S. does too much in helping solve world
problems, and 52 percent say that the U.S. “should mind its own
business internationally and let other countries get along the best
they can on their own.” Gene Healy points out that Americans’
renewed appreciation for restraint looks like a return to what
Thomas Jefferson, in his first inaugural address, called “the
essential principles of our Government”:

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/10/gene-healy-its-not-isolationist-for-amer
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Gene Healy: It’s Not Isolationist For America To Mind Its Own Business

A
new poll from the Pew Research Center, “America’s Place
in the World 2013,” brings some sobering news to advocates of armed
international meddling. Among a survey of some 2,000 Americans, 51
percent believe that the U.S. does too much in helping solve world
problems, and 52 percent say that the U.S. “should mind its own
business internationally and let other countries get along the best
they can on their own.” Gene Healy points out that Americans’
renewed appreciation for restraint looks like a return to what
Thomas Jefferson, in his first inaugural address, called “the
essential principles of our Government”:

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/10/gene-healy-its-not-isolationist-for-amer
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OMG! Obama Shook Raul Castro’s Hand! Assume Outrage!

OMG, they touched! I hope Obama got his cootie shot first.That President Barack Obama
shook Cuban President Raul Castro’s hand at Nelson Mandela’s
funeral is currently considered a “top story” by Google. Actual
physical contact between U.S. and Cuban leaders is a
rare thing
, The Telegraph notes:

The handshake between the two historic enemies came as they
attended a ceremony in Johannesburg to celebrate the late South
African leader’s ability to foster reconciliation.

The gesture – which comes despite half a century of hostilities
– came as Mr Obama made his way to a podium to deliver a speech. It
is only the second time ever that a US president has shaken the
hands of a Cuban Communist leader. President Bill Clinton was the
first to do so in 2000 after a lunch during a United Nations summit
in New York, when he shook hands with Mr Castro’s brother,
Fidel.

On that occasion, the White House initially denied the handshake
had taken place but later backtracked, saying it had been
instigated by Mr Castro, who had approached Mr Clinton. Unlike the
latest occasion, however, the exchange was not photographed.

Under diplomatic protocols established years ago, Cuba’s
president and Washington’s representatives are rarely invited to
the same events. If they do, the meeting is choreographed so that
they are not likely to meet face to face.

Subsequently Twitter seemed to turn weird in a way I hadn’t
experienced before. There’s an assumption now that folks on the
right reacted to this incident with faux outrage. I follow folks
across the political spectrum and I’ve seen tweets eye-rolling at
possible conservative objections to the handshake from tweeters on
the left. Oddly, though, I’m not seeing the actual faux outrage
from the right. Time quickly tried to steal from
BuzzFeed’s playbook and
posted a list
of people “freaking out” about the handshake on
Twitter. But many of the responses are actually just sarcastic
jokes or assumptions about the right’s outrage. Maybe that’s the
point, and it flew over my head, too. It is an interesting comment
about our use of social media that we’ve come to expect so much
pearl-clutching at everything politicians or celebrities do that we
now just automatically assume it. (BuzzFeed
itself simply posted a couple of pictures and an animated GIF of
the handshake. Meanwhile, Fox News’
reporting
on the handshake seems to lack much outrage.)

After the handshake, Obama’s speech at the funeral
criticized
oppressive governments:

“Around the world today, men and women are still imprisoned for
their political beliefs; and are still persecuted for persecuted
for what they look like, and how they worship and who they love,”
the president said.

“There are too many people who happily embrace Madiba’s legacy
of racial reconciliation, but passionately resist even modest
reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing
inequality,” Obama added. “There are too many leaders who claim
solidarity with Madiba’s struggle for freedom, but do not tolerate
dissent from their own people.”

More Reason on Cuba here and a recent argument to
end the U.S. embargo against Cuba is
here
.

UPDATE: And right after I posted this, social
media actually does start up the outrage machine over the president

shooting a selfie
at the funeral.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/10/omg-obama-shook-raul-castros-hand-assume
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New York High Court Dismisses Subpoena Issued Against Fox News Reporter Over Confidential Sources

donna martin graduatesThe New York state court of appeals (the highest
court in the state of New York) today
reversed
, in a 4-3 decision, the ruling of a lower court
(called the Supreme Court) that had issued a subpoena for Fox News
reporter Jana Winter to testify in Colorado about the identity of
her confidential sources in the James Holmes case. Holmes’
attorneys had
gone after Winter
, alleging her sources must have broken their
own confidentiality agreements.  After reviewing the
applicable state journalist “shield law,” the state constitution,
and previous case law, the court
ruled (pdf)
that:

It is therefore evident… that a New York court could
not compel Winter to reveal the identity of the sources that
supplied information to her in relation to her online news article
about Holmes’ notebook. Holmes does not argue otherwise but relies
on our decision in Matter of Codey (Capital Cities, Am.
Broadcasting Corp.) (supra, 82 NY2d 521) for the proposition that,
when New York functions as the “sending state” in relation to a CPL
640.10(2) application, issues concerning testimonial privilege —
including the applicability of the absolute privilege afforded by
the Shield Law – simply cannot be considered by a New York
court.

The majority opinion dismissed Holmes’ argument because the
Codey case involved New Jersey, which has shield laws similar to
New York’s, while the Winter case involved Colorado, which has much
weaker journalist protections. Winter
faced jail time
if she were to refuse, as she had planned, to
testify in Colorado. The dissenting opinion focused on the
perceived overreach of the majority’s decision, claiming that it
has extended the state’s shield laws throughout the country and
around the world, something other jurisdictions, the dissent
argued, might not honor.

Judge Andrew Napolitano argued why concepts of federalism should
protect Winter
earlier last month
.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/10/new-york-high-court-dismisses-subpoena-i
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