More Gun Violence at Schools Doesn’t Mean We Should Panic

In the past couple of weeks, gun violence at the
University of California, Santa Barbara
and
Seattle Pacific University
resulted in the deaths of seven
innocent people. These criminal acts have also, inevitably, led to
new
calls for gun control
. However terrifying these stories are,
they need to be put in context. As Nick Gillespie pointed out in a
Reason TV program released in the wake of the mass shooting at
Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, there are
five basic facts about guns, schools, and violence that are worth
knowing.

“5 Facts about Guns, Schools, and Violence,” Written by
Nick Gillespie and produced by Amanda C. Winkler. Approximately
2:30 minutes.

Original release date was January 10, 2013. The original writeup
is below.

In the wake of December’s horrific mass shooting at Sandy Hook
Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Vice President Joe Biden
is chairing a panel of experts that will make gun-control
recommendations to President Barack Obama by the end of the month.
The president has said that enacting new restrictions on guns will
be one of his highest priorities.

No one wants to ever again see anything like the senseless
slaughter of 26 people — including 20 children – at a school. But
as legislators turn toward creating new gun laws, here are five
facts they need to know.

1. Violent crime — including violent crime using guns — has
dropped massively over the past 20 years.

The violent crime rate – which includes murder, rape, and
beatings – is half of what it was in the early 1990s. And the
violent crime rate involving the use of weapons has also declined
at a similar pace.

2. Mass shootings have not increased in recent years.

Despite terrifying events like Sandy Hook or last summer’s
theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, mass shootings are not
becoming more frequent. “There is no pattern, there is no
increase,” says criminologist James Allen Fox of Northeastern
University, who studies the issue. Other data shows that mass
killings peaked in 1929.

3. Schools are getting safer.

Across the board, schools are less dangerous than they used be.
Over the past 20 years, the rate of theft per 1,000 students
dropped from 101 to 18. For violent crime, the victimization rate
per 1,000 students dropped from 53 to 14.

4. There Are More Guns in Circulation Than Ever Before.

Over the past 20 years, virtually every state in the country has
liberalized gunownership rules and many states have expanded
concealed carry laws that allow more people to carry weapons in
more places. There around 300 million guns in the United States and
at least one gun in about 45 percent of all households. Yet the
rate of gun-related crime continues to drop.

5. “Assault Weapons Bans” Are Generally Ineffective.

While many people are calling for reinstating the federal ban on
assault weapons — an arbitrary category of guns that has no clear
definition — research shows it would have no effect on crime and
violence. “Should it be renewed,” concludes a definitive study,
“the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best
and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting is as horrifing a
crime as can be imagined. It rips at the country’s heart and the
call to action is strong and righteous. But as Joe Biden and his
panel of experts consider changes to gun laws and school-safety
policies, they need to lead with their heads and not just their
hearts.

Over the past dozen years, too many policies — the Patriot Act,
the war in Iraq, the TARP bailouts — have been ruled by emotion
and ideology.

Passing sweeping new restrictions on Second Amendment rights
won’t heal the pain and loss we all feel but just may create many
more problems in our future.

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Explaining NYC’s Record Homelessness In One Disastrous Chart

By any measure, New York City’s homelessness crisis broke every record during the final year of the Bloomberg administration. The already record-high homeless shelter population soared even higher, to more than 50,000 people per night. There are, of course, numerous reasons for this disastrous situation but we suspect the following chart, from the coalition of the homeless, may just be enough to wake up the average American to the reality of this ‘recovery’.

Over the past year, the average monthly number of homeless people sleeping each night in the New York City shelter system increased by 7 percent, from 50,135 people in January 2013 to 53,615 people in January 2014 – the highest level ever recorded.

 

The following are the tragic benchmarks of the past year in New York City:

  • The average number of homeless children living in municipal shelters increased by 8 percent over the prior year, reaching an all-time-high 22,712 children in January 2014.
  • The average number of homeless families in shelters increased by 6 percent over the past year, reaching a record-high 12,724 families in January 2014.
  • The average number of homeless single adults sleeping each night in the New York City shelter system rose five percent to 11,342 women and men in January 2014, a new record. 
  • Average shelter stays for homeless families with children rose by two months (60 days), or 16 percent, during the past year.  The average shelter stay for homeless families with kids reached a record-high 14.5 months (435 days) in January 2014.
  • The average shelter stay for homeless families without children rose to more than 17 months (518 days), the longest ever recorded.  Average shelter stays for childless families in emergency shelter rose by more than a month (34 days), or 7 percent, during the past year. 
  • The number of newly homeless families entering the shelter system, 13,465 families in FY 2013, was 12 percent higher than the previous City fiscal year.
  • More New Yorkers sought emergency shelter: A remarkable 111,210 different men, women and children slept in the shelter system during FY 2013, a five percent increase over the previous City fiscal year. 
  • More children slept in NYC’s municipal shelter system:  During FY 2013, City data show 40,189 different girls and boys lived in homeless shelters, a 7 percent increase from the previous City fiscal year. 

And this is among the most critical reason why…

 

Thank you Ben Bernanke… working for Main Street once again

 

Source: coalition for the homeless




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There Is No Tradeoff Between Inflation And Unemployment

Submitted by Chris Casey of The Ludwig von Mises Institute,

Anyone reading the regular Federal Open Market Committee press releases can easily envision Chairman Yellen and the Federal Reserve team at the economic controls, carefully adjusting the economy’s price level and employment numbers. The dashboard of macroeconomic data is vigilantly monitored while the monetary switches, accelerators, and other devices are constantly tweaked, all in order to “foster maximum employment and price stability." The Federal Reserve believes increasing the money supply spurs economic growth, and that such growth, if too strong, will in turn cause price inflation. But if the monetary expansion slows, economic growth may stall and unemployment will rise. So the dilemma can only be solved with a constant iterative process: monetary growth is continuously adjusted until a delicate balance exists between price inflation and unemployment. This faulty reasoning finds its empirical justification in the Phillips curve. Like many Keynesian artifacts, its legacy governs policy long after it has been rendered defunct.

In 1958, New Zealand economist William Phillips wrote The Relation between Unemployment and the Rate of Change of Money Wage Rates in the United Kingdom, 1861-1957. The paper described an apparent inverse relationship between unemployment and increases in wage levels. The thesis was expanded in 1960 by Paul Samuelson in substituting wage levels with price levels. The level of price inflation and unemployment were thereafter linked as opposing forces: increasing one decreases the other, and vice versa. The US data from 1948 through 1960 comparing the year-over-year increases in the average price level with the average annual unemployment rate seemed irrefutable:

 

The first dent in the Phillips curve came from Chicago-School economist Milton Friedman (as well as, independently, Edmund Phelps) who suggested it was more temporary than timeless, more illusion than illustration. Friedman’s “fooling model” posited that price inflation fooled workers into accepting employment at “higher” wage rates despite lower real rates as measured after the impact of price inflation. Once they realized the difference between “real” and “nominal” wages (the fools!), they would demand higher nominal rates as compensation. As inflation rose, unemployment declined, but only temporarily until a new equilibrium was achieved. This simple insight created quite a stir and troubled noted econo-sadist Paul Krugman: “when I was in grad school, I remember lunchtime conversations that went something like this; ‘I just don’t buy the … stuff — it’s not remotely realistic.’ ‘But these people have been right so far, how can you be sure they aren’t right now?’"

The Friedman criticism was somewhat clever, but unnecessary, minor, and misguided, for cold data was far more damaging than Chicago doctrine. The Phillips curve not only evaporated with the 1970s, but reversed to show a positive correlation between price inflation and unemployment:

In light of this, like many Keynesian concepts, the Phillips curve should have been forever abandoned when the 1970s proved high price inflation and unemployment rates can coexist. But now the Phillips curve is back from the dead. Krugman, writing in 2013, introduced new data demonstrating the Phillips curve’s “resurrection.” According to Krugman: How many economists realize that the data since around 1985 — that is, since the Reagan-Volcker disinflation — actually look a lot like an old-fashioned Phillips curve?

This Krugman comment is correct, US data from 1985 through 2013 again shows an inverse correlation between the year-over-year increases in the average price level with the average annual unemployment rate:

Has the Phillips curve, as Krugman suggests, regained its former acceptance? Since 1985, why has its inverse relationship between price inflation and unemployment reappeared? The question is irrelevant: the fact that it had previously disappeared forever strips the Phillips curve of legitimacy.

Any apparent correlation between two variables may be coincidental and unrelated, directly casual, or linked by a third variable or sets of variables. For price inflation and unemployment, the last explanation is the correct one. Price inflation and unemployment are not opposing forces, but in large part effects deriving from the same causation — the expansion of the money supply.

More money cheapens its value and the price of goods and services accordingly rise in terms of money — hence price inflation. More money lowers interest rates which induce malinvestments (including the hiring of workers) which (who) are eventually liquidated (terminated) in a recession — hence unemployment. While both phenomena largely share a common origin, the timing of their manifestations may be quite different and heavily dependent upon other variables, including fiscal policy.

The death of the Phillips curve will eventually be served not from Chicago School gimmicks, not from the experience of the 1970s, but from greater acceptance of the Austrian School’s explanations of price inflation and business cycles. Unfortunately, in the interim, the monetary policies promoted by the Phillips curve have moved from 1970s lunchtime academic discussion to official government policy. In the hands of the Federal Reserve, the Phillips curve becomes weaponized Keynesianism.

Due to its unjustified acceptance of the Phillips curve and its related misconceptions about price inflation and business cycles, the Federal Reserve will never be able to trade higher price inflation for lower unemployment. Nor can it sacrifice higher unemployment for lower price inflation. But it can, and likely will, generate high levels of both. If the Federal Reserve’s economic controls appear broken, it is because they never really worked in the first place.




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Selling Your European Stocks Before Everyone Else Sees This Chart?

Wolf Richter   http://ift.tt/NCxwUy   http://ift.tt/Wz5XCn

Flogging savers until their morale improves, that’s how ECB President Mario Draghi is going to fire up the economy in his bailiwick. Among other things, he announced that the ECB would lower key interest rates from nearly nothing to next to nothing and impose negative deposit rates on the reserves that banks stash at the ECB.

The goals beyond destroying savers? Hammering down the euro, but given the efforts by the Fed, the Bank of Japan, and others to hammer down their own currencies, it’s going to be a slog. And motivating over-indebted companies to borrow even more to invest for worthy projects that don’t exist – because if they existed, banks would have already gone after them, awash in liquidity as they are.

Savers are going to pay. Prudent behavior is precisely what current monetary policies are trying to stamp out. But savings used to be one of the drivers of real economic growth. Banks would lend that money to be used building a factory or a house, financing inventories, etc., creating economic activity along the way. Banks would attract that money by paying savers some interest. They’d then lend it out at a higher rate. The spread would be compensation for their role as intermediary and for shouldering the risk of the loans. Now that banks can get their money from central banks for free, savers have become the universal punching bag of monetary policy.

But how good are these policies for the real economy? Japan has inflicted them on its savers for two decades, and look what happened: the government has borrowed without constraints since debt is nearly free. Result: the Japanese economy is now suffocating under a mountain of debt.

The ECB has been prescribing the same medicine for the Eurozone, but on Thursday it tweaked the dosage. And how has the economy done?

It has been on fire, judging by the Stoxx 600 index whose component companies are spread across Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. The index closed at 347.4 on Friday, up 6.6% year-to-date, up 26.4% from June 2013, and up 43% from May 2012, just before Draghi’s magic promise to do “whatever it takes.”

Serial recessions, unemployment fiascos, toppling banks, collapsing auto sales… they didn’t exist, according to the Stoxx 600. In short, the European economy has been on a phenomenal roll. And Wall Street has been trumpeting asset allocations that are stuffed with European equities, and that has pumped American money into European stocks, and so they've soared even more.

The Wall-Street hype machine has been in overdrive. Its “analysts” have been cranking out crazy earnings-growth estimates for the Stoxx 600 companies in order to rationalize ever higher stock prices. So for the first quarter this year, according to Thomson Reuters, analysts had forecast earnings growth of a dizzying 36.3%. That was on July 1, 2013. By October 1, they’d lowered their forecasts to 29.2%, and by February to 10.4%. By May 29, as companies were reporting the actual numbers, the growth “forecast” had unceremoniously dropped to 1.9%.

Same thing quarter after quarter. For the fourth quarter 2014, they’re still riding their favorite hype horse, currently expecting, I’m not kidding, 39.3% earnings growth, which is down from 40.2% a week earlier! And it has been doing wonders to the Stoxx 600 which continues to defy gravity.

But what the heck is wrong with this picture?

For years, EPS of the Stoxx companies and the index itself have been rising and falling roughly in parallel. The chart, based on data from FactSet, picks up in 2005. The index was tracking earnings perfectly on the way up. On the way down during the financial crisis, EPS lagged, given that companies report quarterly and the index crashed by the second. Then EPS recovered – OK, in Europe, financial engineering is just as normal as in the US – while the index lagged behind as the debt crisis was raging. But when the index took off, an ugly thing happened:

Since July 2011, earnings have been falling!

And that, despite quarter after quarter of Wall-Street forecasts of dizzying earnings growth for future quarters that then get whittled down to nothing!

As of May 30, according to data provided by FactSet, the Stoxx 600 had EPS of 23.67. That’s down 0.7% from a year ago, and down 11.2% from July 2011. These miraculous European companies that make up this gravity-defying index and that have been trumpeted by Wall Street with such conviction are making less now than they did three years ago during the depth of the Eurozone debt crisis!

This has been Draghi’s great success, aided and abetted by Wall Street: pumping up European stocks (and bonds, including Greek government bonds, and all manner of other crappy assets) while corporate earnings have been declining – for nearly three years!

But something has to give. It’s doubtful that these companies will suddenly, and without any reason whatsoever, see their earnings soar, as “analysts” predict, by 39% or whatever. Leaves the stock valuations….

US investors who plow their dollars into equities that trade in euros are not only facing equity market risk but also currency risk. And if Draghi has his way, and if the French government and most Eurozone governments have their way, the euro will fall sharply against the dollar. And then any losses from declining stocks, as American investors are yanking out their money while they still can, will be compounded by having to convert those proceeds into dollars. This is going to be one heck of a party.

Record bullishness also drives the S&P 500 higher. But beneath the largest stocks, volatility has taken over, the market is in turmoil, hopes are drowning in red ink, and Wall Street doesn’t want you to see it. Read…. The Carnage Beneath The Bullish Stampede




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90% Of Gazprom Clients Have “De-Dollarized”, Will Transact In Euro & Renminbi

Following Obama and Putin's "caught on tape" meeting Vine'd by the French President, we can't help but wonder if the Russian leaders comments were something akin to "this is not over yet." With "De-Dollarization" efforts already broadly under discussion, ITAR-TASS reports that Gazprom had signed additional agreements for clients to switch from dollars to euros and renminbi, "nine of ten consumer had agreed to switch."

 

Via ITAR-TASS,

Gazprom Neft had signed additional agreements with consumers on a possible switch from dollars to euros for payments under contracts, the oil company's head Alexander Dyukov told a press conference.

 

"Additional agreements of Gazprom Neft on the possibility to switch contracts from dollars to euros are signed. With Belarus, payments in roubles are agreed on," he said.

 

Dyukov said nine of ten consumers had agreed to switch to euros.

 

ITAR-TASS reported earlier that Gazprom Neft considered the possibility to make payments in roubles under contracts. Some contracting parties agree to switch from dollars to euros and Yuans.

 

"The so-called Plan B is already partially worked out. The switch of dollar contracts to euros and Yuans is agreed on with some of our contracting parties. Under consideration is the possibility to switch contracts to roubles," Dyukov said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

As we concluded previously,

And as we have explained repeatedly in the past, the further the west antagonizes Russia, and the more economic sanctions it lobs at it, the more Russia will be forced away from a USD-denominated trading system and into one which faces China and India.




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Paul Feine on America’s Longest War: A Film About Drug Prohibition

Drug
prohibition has failed, says Paul Feine. Drug usage rates have not
declined, and illegal drugs are more available—and cheaper—than
ever before. At the same time, the costs of the drug war are
staggering. More than $1 trillion taxpayer dollars have been spent.
More than 50,000 SWAT raids occur each year. Hundreds of thousands
of non-violent drug offenders are wasting their lives away in
prison at our expense. And more than 60,000 people have been
murdered in Mexico over the past six years. America’s Longest
War 
provides a brief history of drug prohibition,
beginning with Nixon’s declaration of war in 1971 and ending with
Obama’s broken promise to allow states to determine their own
medical marijuana policies. 

View this article.

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The Death And Decay Of Detroit In Real Time, As Seen From The Streets

With the stock market hitting record highs day after day, it is easy to move on and forget that one of American’s once premier cities, Detroit, has been bankrupt for nearly a year. But out of mind doesn’t mean out of sight, especially now that Google has launched its street view Time Machine, which provides for 7 years worth of street images, capturing the time shift of the tumultuous period period starting in 2007. One blogger who decided to take this time lapse data and apply it to the city of Detroit is GooBing Detroit who, as the following time-lapse photos demonstrate, has captured Detoit’s unprecedented slow-motion collapse into death and decay in what is the closest we have to “real time.”

Perhaps what is most stunning about the following series of photos is not the ultimate fate of the bankrupt city, but how quickly a once vibrant metropolis has succumbed to blight and sheer desperation.

Hopefully not coming to a street near you.

All photos from the Goobingdetroit tumblr depict various areas and streets in Detroit, then and now.

Brightmoor neighborhood. 

 

Around 7 Mile, West Side

 


Northwest, near Grand River

 

West Golden Gate, Detroit

 

Southwest Detroit

 

East side, near Alter Road

 

Patton Street, NW Detroit 

Feel like you can kind of see how this scene unfolded:

 

In the top photo, the tree is blocking the view of that yellow house in the middle — that house isn’t in great shape, but it’s ok. The house to the left has neatly trimmed hedges and a chair on the porch. The house on the right has been gutted by fire.

 

I imagine that middle house – since it’s been demo’d by 2012 – caught on fire and caused the further damage to the house at the right. Whoever had been living in the nicely maintained house on the left, moved out, and that house was gutted.

 

In the last photo — with the nicely maintained house farthest to the right — you see another nice house on the left, with a boarded up, but fairly stable, house in the middle. By 2012, both nice houses are gutted, as is the boarded up one in the middle.

 

Springwells Village

 

Near City Airport. Wonder why they didn’t take down the one next door while they were at it…

 

From top to bottom: 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013. Hickory Street between Manning and Pinewood, northeast Detroit.

 

Of the 12,093 properties in this Detroit neighborhood, 1,037 are owned by the City of Detroit, mostly due to tax foreclosure. Another ~4,500 are either subject to tax foreclosure right now, or will be in the next year or two.

 

Eastwood between Queen and MacCray, Northwest Detroit. Just east of Osborn, in “Burbank”… if anyone actually calls it that.  Of the 34 properties on this block, 24 have been tax foreclosed, 13 are at risk of foreclosure, and precisely 1 property is in good tax standing.

 

Corner of Thaddeus and S. Leigh Street, Southwest Detroit. That’s a lotta washing machines…

 

Hazelridge between Celestine and MacCray, Northeast Detroit

This block is incredible. Still pretty dense with housing, but only one of them is occupied. If you go a block to the west, the housing stock changes to brick and the neighborhood looks pretty stable.

 

The New York Times visited this block during the Motor City Mapping survey:

 

“Blight, as Karl Baker, one Detroit resident, has seen, tends to spread. Along his block of Hazelridge Street on the East Side, he is the only remaining tenant. “Everyone went bye-bye,” Mr. Baker said the other day as he walked up the center of the silent street to get to his house since no sidewalks had been shoveled.

 

Most of the houses nearby are standing but abandoned, and visitors have clearly passed through — empty liquor bottles lie along debris-covered floors near broken windows and doors, every memory of a metal appliance or gutter seems to be gone from some of the homes, and two old couches that were dumped along a lawn are now blanketed by a thick layer of snow.

 

The last neighbor left six months ago, he said, and the single streetlight overhead has not worked for months. “I love the quiet, but if something went wrong, the city isn’t going to come,” Mr. Baker said. “They don’t do anything.”

 

Hoyt between Liberal and Pinewood, Northeast Detroit

 

Arndt between Elmwood and Ellery, East Side, Detroit

Lady waving to the street view car in the first image, c. 2009. Nearby the Heidelberg Project, and in the style, though not sure if a Tyree or not.

 




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China May Build “Artificial Island” Military Base In South China Sea

Submitted by Zachary Zeck of The Diplomat,

China is considering plans to build an artificial island in the South China Sea to use as a military base from which to project power, according to the South China Morning Post.

According to the report, which cited prominent Chinese scholars and a navy expert, the artificial island would be constructed on the Fiery Cross Reef, where China already maintains some installations. The reef is part of the Spratly Islands and is disputed by the Philippines and Vietnam.

“China is looking to expand its biggest installation in the Spratly Islands into a fully formed artificial island, complete with airstrip and sea port, to better project its military strength in the South China Sea,” the report said.

The South China Morning Post report follows similar ones in some of China’s press late last month that said plans had been drawn up on constructing an artificial island on the Fiery Cross Reef. Those reports said that the project would cost $5 billion and take ten years, and would ultimately produce a five-square-kilometer military base. The reports said that the strategic value of the base would “be equivalent to that for building an aircraft carrier.”

“The artificial island at Fiery Cross Reef will be an unreplaceable military base with great strategic significance due to its location and size. Such a base will realize the value of the South China Sea for China and ensure China’s status in South East Asia,” the Chinese-language reports said, according to Filipino media. The Filipino media noted that the base would fall within the Philippines 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone.

Such a base would greatly enhance China’s ability to project offensive power in the disputed South China Sea.

The South China Sea Morning Post’s sources—which included Jin Canrong, a well-known professor of international relations at Renmin University—said that the artificial island would most likely be used in part to enforce a future Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea. China caused fierce backlash throughout the region last year when it established an ADIZ in the East China Sea, which overlapped with South Korea, Japan and Taiwan’s existing ones.

At the time the East China Sea ADIZ was first announced, Chinese officials said that future ones would be established when conditions warranted them. The U.S. has since repeatedly warned China explicitly against establishing a South China Sea ADIZ.

Tensions have been especially high in the South China Sea in recent months. Most notably, Vietnam and China have repeatedly clashed over Beijing placing an oil rig in disputed wars. Meanwhile, the Philippines has been accusing China of reclamation of the Johnson South Reef, another one of the Spratly Islands. Manila has also raised concerns about China activities around the Gavin Reef (Gaven Reef) and Calderon Reef (Cuarteron Reef), which Philippine officials said were also consistent with reclamation.

In the SCMP report, Jin, the Renmin University Professor, said that decision on whether to proceed with building the artificial island on the Fiery Cross Reef would depend on progress on reclamation at Johnson South Reef.

“It’s a very complicated oceanic engineering project, so we need to learn from the experience” on Johnson South, Jin said, SCMP reported.

 




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The Onion Satirizes Police Brutality

not the onionThe satirical newspaper The Onion took a
crack at police brutality with a story headlined “New
Law Enforcement Robot Can Wield Excessive Force Of 5 Human
Officers
.” A handful of the new robots can do the work of a
whole precinct:

The tactical robotic units, known as the AP-12, are reportedly
equipped with on-board mechanisms to target both criminals and
innocent bystanders, and possess a variety of retractable
instruments that allow them to effortlessly subdue and restrain up
to four individuals at once. According to sources, just a dozen of
the new robots will be able to collectively carry out the physical
and psychological abuse typically spread out amongst the officers
of an entire precinct.

The robo-cop’s got furtive movements down:

“In many ways, these robots’ actions are indistinguishable from
those of our brave men and women in uniform,” McClintock added.

According to its designers, the AP-12 is outfitted with numerous
features that make it ideal for abruptly resorting to extreme
measures, including a highly sensitive motion detector that
perceives most gestures as an act of resistance necessitating
physical force.

And panic firing:

Engineers say the robot is also equipped with a sophisticated
audio command program that recognizes and subsequently ignores such
phrases as “Stop” and “I give up” and is programmed to apply
pressure to a prostrate suspect’s neck with a force of up to 500
PSI both before and after he’s stopped moving. Its operating system
is also reportedly loaded with advanced visual recognition software
that allows the robot to identify nearly any object in the
subject’s hand as a weapon, prompting it to rapidly empty the clip
on its extendable .40-caliber firearm.

And for those good cops worried about bad apples, the robot cop
won’t let itself be made out into one:

After doing so, the machine is configured to automatically place
a pistol on or near the disabled suspect while wirelessly
corroborating fabricated details of the confrontation with any
other on-scene units well ahead of a potential internal affairs
investigation.

Read about the rest of the
features
here, and Reason on the actual incidences of
police brutality that make this the best kind of satire,
believable, here.

h/t Jason J.

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California’s Parent Trigger Law Is (Finally) Helping Improve Public Schools

Lawmakers in California passed the Parent Trigger law back in
2010. The law allows parents of children attending failing public
schools to force major changes if half of the parents sign a
petition. Last year, parents of children attending Desert Trails
Elementary School in Adelanto, Calif., pulled the parent trigger
and transformed the school to a public charter school called Desert
Trails Preparatory Academy. “We’ve seen major, major progress…since
the beginning of the year,”
says Debra Tarver, executive director of Desert Trails Preparatory
Academy
.  

In other California school districts,
just the threat of Parent Trigger is helping parents get what they
want
.

Back in 2011, Reason TV covered the first ever attempt by
parents, with the help of the non-profit organization Parent Revolution, to use the
Parent Trigger. While the effort by parents at McKinley Elementary
to use the Parent Trigger ultimately failed, parents at other
California schools are figuring out how use the law to their
advantage, and at least seven other states have adopted some form
of the Parent Trigger.

“California’s Parent Trigger Law: Compton Parents Take
on the Public School System,” produced by Paul Feine and Alex
Manning. About 8:30 minutes.

Original release date was March 2, 2011. The original writeup is
below.

Last year, parents of students in failing California public
schools were given a reason to be hopeful when Sacramento
politicians passed something called the “parent trigger” law. The
way the law works is that if 51% of parents at a failing school
sign a petition, they can turn the school into a charter school,
replace the staff or simply use the petition as a bargaining chip
to initiate a conversation about change.

On December 7, 2010, with help from the non-profit group Parent
Revolution, parents of children attending McKinley Elementary in
Compton became the first group of parents to pull the parent
trigger. Their dream was to transform the school into a Celerity
charter school. Instead, the Compton parents were thrust into a
prolonged fight with supporters of the status quo: the Compton
Unified School District, the teachers’ unions, Gov. Jerry Brown and
Tom Torlakson, the newly elected Superintendent of Public
Instruction.

This is the story about a group of parents in Compton who are
fighting to give their children a better education.

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