Mission Accomplished (Really)! Reason Webathon 2013 Succeeds Where Bush, Obama Fail!

Over the last two weeks, Reason
ran its annual webathon, in which we ask readers of this website
to make
tax-deductible donations
to the 501(c)3 nonprofit that
publishes Reason magazine, Reason.com, and Reason TV.

We started out by asking for $100,000 over an eight-day period
but after a tremendously generous gift of $50,000 from a single
donor), we upped the total to $150,000. I’m happy to report that
650 of you ginned up $165,000 in support.

From all of us at
Reason, thank you. Your support is essential to our efforts to
produce cutting-edge journalism that makes the case for “Free Minds
and Free Markets” in politics, culture, and ideas. Without it, we
wouldn’t be able to publish 11 issues of Reason a year, post
thousands of articles and blog entries at Reason.com, or produce
hundreds of videos at Reason TV.

So thank you, thank you, thank you.

Here’s a little Remy, to keep the mood upbeat:

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/13/mission-accomplished-really-reason-webat
via IFTTT

Emily Ekins on Americans’ Mixed Feelings Over the Minimum Wage

CashNearly three-fourths of Americans favor raising
the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, while 26 percent
oppose according to the latest Reason-Rupe poll. However,
points out Emily Ekins, director of polling for Reason Foundation,
support flips and 57 percent oppose a hike if raising the minimum
wage causes some employers to lay off workers or hire fewer
workers, while only 38 percent would favor the move.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/13/emily-ekins-on-americans-mixed-feelings
via IFTTT

Emily Ekins on Americans' Mixed Feelings Over the Minimum Wage

CashNearly three-fourths of Americans favor raising
the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, while 26 percent
oppose according to the latest Reason-Rupe poll. However,
points out Emily Ekins, director of polling for Reason Foundation,
support flips and 57 percent oppose a hike if raising the minimum
wage causes some employers to lay off workers or hire fewer
workers, while only 38 percent would favor the move.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/13/emily-ekins-on-americans-mixed-feelings
via IFTTT

Video: Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe on the High Cost of College

“If we are lending money that ostensibly we don’t have to kids
who have no hope of making it back in order to train them for jobs
that clearly don’t exist, I might suggest that we’ve gone around
the bend a little bit,” says TV personality Mike Rowe, best known
as the longtime host of Discovery Channel’s
Dirty Jobs
.

Rowe recently sat down with Reason’s Nick Gillespie to discuss
the problem with taxpayer-supported college loans, the disconnect
between the way we educate versus the job opportunities that are
available, the hidden costs of regulatory compliance, and more.

Watch above or click below for full text, links, and
downloadable versions.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/13/video-dirty-jobs-mike-rowe-on-the-high-c
via IFTTT

Video: Dirty Jobs' Mike Rowe on the High Cost of College

“If we are lending money that ostensibly we don’t have to kids
who have no hope of making it back in order to train them for jobs
that clearly don’t exist, I might suggest that we’ve gone around
the bend a little bit,” says TV personality Mike Rowe, best known
as the longtime host of Discovery Channel’s
Dirty Jobs
.

Rowe recently sat down with Reason’s Nick Gillespie to discuss
the problem with taxpayer-supported college loans, the disconnect
between the way we educate versus the job opportunities that are
available, the hidden costs of regulatory compliance, and more.

Watch above or click below for full text, links, and
downloadable versions.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/13/video-dirty-jobs-mike-rowe-on-the-high-c
via IFTTT

Russia’s Largest Bank Proposes Bitcoin Alternative

Hot on the heels of JPMorgan’s “web cash” developments in the virtual currency arena, the CEO of Russia largest bank – Sberbank – appears to be looking for alternatives…

  • *SBERBANK CEO GREF SAYS FUTURE BELONGS TO VIRTUAL CURRENCIES
  • *GREF SAYS DEVELOPMENT OF VIRTUAL CURRENCIES ‘CAN’T BE STOPPED’
  • *SBERBANK CEO CALLS FOR GREATER REGULATION OF VIRTUAL CURRENCIES
  • *SBERBANK MAY FORM OWN VIRTUAL CURRENCY ON BASIS OF YANDEX MONEY

When a pseudonymous ‘Japanese’ coder creates a crypto-currency that gains acceptance among thousands of vendors, it’s dismissed by the powers-that-be and called a ponzi scheme by the MSM. One wonders what happens when the largest banks of the US and Russia sanction the ‘idea’ of a decentralized, unregulated, ‘money’ transfer system.

Via Bloomberg,

“We are at a new stage of technological development. I can’t imagine how it can be stopped,” Sberbank CEO Herman Gref tells reporters in Moscow.

 

Gref says virtual currencies need greater regulation

 

“These experiments must end in one or two crashes” before virtual currencies become firmly established, Gref says

 

Says Yandex Money isn’t “a currency but it’s a first step in that direction”

 

Of course, the difference is – the banks want to own it…


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/etc5q9NHbLE/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Russia's Largest Bank Proposes Bitcoin Alternative

Hot on the heels of JPMorgan’s “web cash” developments in the virtual currency arena, the CEO of Russia largest bank – Sberbank – appears to be looking for alternatives…

  • *SBERBANK CEO GREF SAYS FUTURE BELONGS TO VIRTUAL CURRENCIES
  • *GREF SAYS DEVELOPMENT OF VIRTUAL CURRENCIES ‘CAN’T BE STOPPED’
  • *SBERBANK CEO CALLS FOR GREATER REGULATION OF VIRTUAL CURRENCIES
  • *SBERBANK MAY FORM OWN VIRTUAL CURRENCY ON BASIS OF YANDEX MONEY

When a pseudonymous ‘Japanese’ coder creates a crypto-currency that gains acceptance among thousands of vendors, it’s dismissed by the powers-that-be and called a ponzi scheme by the MSM. One wonders what happens when the largest banks of the US and Russia sanction the ‘idea’ of a decentralized, unregulated, ‘money’ transfer system.

Via Bloomberg,

“We are at a new stage of technological development. I can’t imagine how it can be stopped,” Sberbank CEO Herman Gref tells reporters in Moscow.

 

Gref says virtual currencies need greater regulation

 

“These experiments must end in one or two crashes” before virtual currencies become firmly established, Gref says

 

Says Yandex Money isn’t “a currency but it’s a first step in that direction”

 

Of course, the difference is – the banks want to own it…


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/etc5q9NHbLE/story01.htm Tyler Durden

UN Agency Pissed Off That Uruguay Legalized Marijuana

Here comes the backlash: one day after Uruguay became the first
country in the world to
legalize marijuana
, a United Nations drug control agency issued
a
press release
condemning the country’s decision.

The agency, the International Narcotics Control Board,
is an independent and quasi-judicial body of the UN. It was
established in 1968, in the wake of the 1961 Single
Convention on Narcotic Drugs treaty
, to serve a primarily
advisory role to countries. For instance, it has been charged
with
identifying “the weaknesses in national and international
[illicit drug] control systems and contribut[ing] to correcting
such situations.” So naturally, the organization remains
steadfastly opposed to drug legalization, including marijuana.

From the INCB’s 2002 annual report:

States have a moral and legal responsibility to protect drug
abusers from further self-destruction. States should not give up
and allow advocates of legalization to take control of their
national drug policies. Governments should not be intimidated by a
vocal minority that wants to legalize illicit drug use. Governments
must respect the view of the majority of lawful citizens; and those
citizens are against illicit drug use.

In response to Uruguay’s decision, the INCB
expressed
“regret” and “surprise” that Uruguay’s leaders would
go against the international treaty they are a part of – and that
they would not take up the organization’s calls for a “dialogue”
before passing the law.

The INCB
explained
why it still opposes efforts to legalize marijuana
anywhere. According to its president, Raymond Yans, marijuana poses
serious health consequences, including addiction:

The decision of the Uruguayan legislature fails to consider its
negative impacts on health since scientific studies confirm that
cannabis is an addictive substance with serious consequences for
people’s health. Cannabis… may also affect some fundamental brain
functions, IQ potential, and academic and job performance and
impair driving skills.

Additionally, the INCB expressed its doubt that legalization
could reduce drug-related crime. The organization claims the theory
is based “on rather precarious and unsubstantiated
assumptions.”

Uruguay’s leaders have not yet commented on the INCB’s
criticism.

Another of the UN’s drug control bodies, the United Nations
Office of Drugs and Crime, which offers advisory and financial
assistance to countries’ prohibition efforts, also criticized
Uruguay’s new law. “It is unfortunate that, at a time when the
world is engaged in an ongoing discussion on the world drug
problem, Uruguay has acted ahead of the special session of the UN
General Assembly planned for 2016,” said the
drug office’s spokesman, David Hodge.

Under the legalization bill, which President Mujica championed,

the government will
grow marijuana, distribute it to licensed
pharmacies, and impose a roughly $1/gram price cap. Adults will be
allowed to buy up to 40 grams (about 1.4 ounces) each month. The
bill also allows home cultivation of up to six plants.
Uruguay’s drug control agency has until mid-April to write
regulations for the new system.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/13/un-agency-pissed-off-that-uruguay-legali
via IFTTT

Politicians’ Drugs, in Order of Acceptability: Cocktails, Cannabis, Cocaine

Our three most recent
presidents all admitted (some more forthrightly than others) that
they had tried marijuana, and
survey data
suggest that something like half of all politicians
(assuming they resemble the general population in this respect)
have done so as well. But how do Americans feel about politicians
for whom pot smoking is an ongoing pastime rather than a youthful
indiscretion?

According to the latest

Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey
, most would not mind if they
learned that a public official unwinds with a few puffs of cannabis
in his spare time instead of a cocktail or two. Fifty-two percent
of respondents said they would “still support” such a politician.
Forty-three percent said they would not, however, and I suspect
that is a lot higher than the percentage who would reject a
candidate based on his after-work tippling.

Although some recent polls find
majority support
for legalizing marijuana, many Americans
evidently still believe alcohol is morally superior. Their numbers
seem to be shrinking, however. In a 2006 Pew Research Center
survey, 50
percent of respondents said smoking pot is “morally wrong,”
compared to 45 percent who said it was either “morally acceptable”
or “not a moral issue.” This year Pew found those numbers
had shifted substantially: Only 32 percent deemed marijuana
consumption “morally wrong,” while 62 percent did not find it
morally troubling. Still, if you take the third or so who deem
marijuana morally objectionable and add people who believe it is
wrong for public officials to break the law (even when the law is
irrational or unjust), you can see how two-fifths of Americans
might abandon a pot-smoking politician.  

As you might expect, younger
people are more accepting of a politician’s marijuana use: In the
Reason-Rupe
survey
, 65 percent of respondents younger than 35 said it was
no big deal, compared to 50 percent of 35-to-54-year-olds and 44
percent of respondents 55 or older. That pattern is similar to the
age trend in support for legalizing marijuana, which was 49 percent
overall in this poll but 56 percent in the under-35 group.

A cannabis-consuming candidate is in a much more favorable
position than one who favors cocaine. A whopping 85 percent of
respondents said they would “no longer support” a public official
who “uses cocaine occasionally in his or her personal time.” The
gap between cocaine and cannabis on this score reflects cocaine’s
scarier reputation, which is reinforced by the fact that the number
of Americans who have tried it is about one-third the number who
have tried marijuana, based on data from the
National Survey on Drug Use and Health
. Once you allow for a
bit of underreporting (which is likely in a survey asking about
illegal behavior), it looks like most American adults born after
World War II have smoked (or eaten) cannabis at some point. But
even if you assume that an equal percentage of cocaine users lie in
surveys, this drug is still distinctly a minority taste. People
tend to view relatively exotic intoxicants as
more frightening
(and more condemnable) than familiar ones.

That tendency was not lost on Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and U.S.
Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.), both of whom
blamed
their occasional cocaine use on their heavy drinking,
figuring the public would be more inclined to forgive the latter
than the former. An interesting question, given evolving public
opinion, is how those scandals would have played out if the illegal
drug had been marijuana rather than cocaine. Growing public support
for legalizing marijuana seems to go hand
in hand
with growing understanding of marijuana’s health and
safety advantages over alcohol, although a stubborn (and aging)
minority
refuses
even to consider the comparison. Would Ford or Radel
have tried to offer excessive alcohol consumption as an excuse for
consuming marijuana from time to time, or would they have worried
that voters might prefer an occasional pot smoker to a habitual
drunk? 

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/13/politicians-drugs-in-order-of-acceptabil
via IFTTT

Politicians' Drugs, in Order of Acceptability: Cocktails, Cannabis, Cocaine

Our three most recent
presidents all admitted (some more forthrightly than others) that
they had tried marijuana, and
survey data
suggest that something like half of all politicians
(assuming they resemble the general population in this respect)
have done so as well. But how do Americans feel about politicians
for whom pot smoking is an ongoing pastime rather than a youthful
indiscretion?

According to the latest

Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey
, most would not mind if they
learned that a public official unwinds with a few puffs of cannabis
in his spare time instead of a cocktail or two. Fifty-two percent
of respondents said they would “still support” such a politician.
Forty-three percent said they would not, however, and I suspect
that is a lot higher than the percentage who would reject a
candidate based on his after-work tippling.

Although some recent polls find
majority support
for legalizing marijuana, many Americans
evidently still believe alcohol is morally superior. Their numbers
seem to be shrinking, however. In a 2006 Pew Research Center
survey, 50
percent of respondents said smoking pot is “morally wrong,”
compared to 45 percent who said it was either “morally acceptable”
or “not a moral issue.” This year Pew found those numbers
had shifted substantially: Only 32 percent deemed marijuana
consumption “morally wrong,” while 62 percent did not find it
morally troubling. Still, if you take the third or so who deem
marijuana morally objectionable and add people who believe it is
wrong for public officials to break the law (even when the law is
irrational or unjust), you can see how two-fifths of Americans
might abandon a pot-smoking politician.  

As you might expect, younger
people are more accepting of a politician’s marijuana use: In the
Reason-Rupe
survey
, 65 percent of respondents younger than 35 said it was
no big deal, compared to 50 percent of 35-to-54-year-olds and 44
percent of respondents 55 or older. That pattern is similar to the
age trend in support for legalizing marijuana, which was 49 percent
overall in this poll but 56 percent in the under-35 group.

A cannabis-consuming candidate is in a much more favorable
position than one who favors cocaine. A whopping 85 percent of
respondents said they would “no longer support” a public official
who “uses cocaine occasionally in his or her personal time.” The
gap between cocaine and cannabis on this score reflects cocaine’s
scarier reputation, which is reinforced by the fact that the number
of Americans who have tried it is about one-third the number who
have tried marijuana, based on data from the
National Survey on Drug Use and Health
. Once you allow for a
bit of underreporting (which is likely in a survey asking about
illegal behavior), it looks like most American adults born after
World War II have smoked (or eaten) cannabis at some point. But
even if you assume that an equal percentage of cocaine users lie in
surveys, this drug is still distinctly a minority taste. People
tend to view relatively exotic intoxicants as
more frightening
(and more condemnable) than familiar ones.

That tendency was not lost on Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and U.S.
Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.), both of whom
blamed
their occasional cocaine use on their heavy drinking,
figuring the public would be more inclined to forgive the latter
than the former. An interesting question, given evolving public
opinion, is how those scandals would have played out if the illegal
drug had been marijuana rather than cocaine. Growing public support
for legalizing marijuana seems to go hand
in hand
with growing understanding of marijuana’s health and
safety advantages over alcohol, although a stubborn (and aging)
minority
refuses
even to consider the comparison. Would Ford or Radel
have tried to offer excessive alcohol consumption as an excuse for
consuming marijuana from time to time, or would they have worried
that voters might prefer an occasional pot smoker to a habitual
drunk? 

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/13/politicians-drugs-in-order-of-acceptabil
via IFTTT