Court Documents Reveal Conflicting Accounts in Baby Sammy CPS Case

Reason TV has obtained court records in the
Samuel Nikolayev case
that spurred a statewide audit of
California’s Child Protective Services agencies. The documents
reveal a sharp difference of opinion between doctors regarding the
medical condition of the baby at the time he was seized from his
parents without a court order, as well as allegations of parental
neglect made by social workers and Sacramento County Child
Protective Services (CPS).

Reason TV produced a video featuring the case in August, but at
the time court documents were sealed, and Sacramento CPS claimed it
therefore wasn’t legally allowed to comment on the specifics of the
story. Sacramento Superior Court gave an undefined timeline for a
ruling on Reason TV’s petition to unseal the records.

 

On the day the above video was released, the court called and
said the petition to unseal the documents had been approved. When
asked, the court clerk denied that the timing had anything to do
with the video’s release. 

Since then, parents Anna and Alex Nikolayev have filed a lawsuit
against Sacramento County and will not comment on this story.
Sacramento County Health and Human Services Director Sherri Heller
also would not comment on the specifics of the case due to the
pending lawsuit. 

Ongoing Health Problems

At nine days old, Samuel Nikolayev was diagnosed with
Ventriculoseptial defect and Atrioseptal defect: essentially two
holes in the heart requiring daily medication. For the first five
months of his life, Samuel’s parents took him in for monthly
checkups to monitor his progress, which improved slightly as he
slowly gained weight and showed increased energy.

Still, pediatric cardiologist Dr. Hessam Fallah recommended
heart surgery as soon as Sammy reached a safe weight, according
to medical records
. But Fallah said Anna Nikolayev expressed
“doubts regarding surgery.” Fallah noted that the Nikolayevs spoke
of visiting a physician while in Germany who advised against
surgery until Samuel reached 8kg (17lbs). He called this advice
“not valid.” 

The Nikolayevs took Sammy to Colorado to visit his grandparents,
and it was on that vacation that he contracted the flu. Upon
returning to Sacramento, they took Samuel to Sutter Memorial
Hospital, where he was admitted to the ICU for Influenza B and
failure
to thrive
,” a medical term to describe an underweight
baby. 

Stuck in the Hospital

Samuel Nikolayev entered Sutter Memorial Hospital on April 16,
2013 with severe flu symptoms. Seven days later, his mother would
pull him out against the wishes of the medical staff and spur
Sacramento Child Protective Services into action. 

When Reason TV interviewed the Nikolayevs in August, Alex
Nikolayev told us, “They were coming up with some random stuff.
Finding another thing just to keep us there.”

This “random stuff” turned out to be concerns that Sammy was off
his heart medication,
according to medical records
. Hospital staff wrote that Anna
Nikolayev admitted to them that she had stopped giving Samuel his
medications while on vacation in Colorado for three weeks, and they
said Anna tried to treat a hernia Samuel had developed by
taping coins
to either side of it. The Nikolayevs’ attorney has

filed an objection
to these details, saying they amount to
hearsay and cannot be substantiated.

Hospital employees also wrote that Anna refused IVs and feeding
tubes that doctors recommended in order to get Samuel the hydration
and nutrition he needed, bringing the conflict to a head.  On
April 23, she left the hospital with Samuel, against the medical
advice of the staff.

A social worker employed by the hospital reported Anna’s
behavior to California Child Protective Services, saying that the
baby’s life was in imminent danger. 

A Second Opinion 

The Nikolayevs have always contended that they were unhappy with
how employees at Sutter Memorial treated them and that they only
wanted a “second opinion.” And this is partially confirmed by the
fact that they did take Samuel directly to another hospital in the
area, Kaiser Permanente.

The Kaiser visit was hectic, with police officers showing up an
hour in because of the CPS complaint and then
leaving once they found Samuel under competent medical
supervision.
The Nikolayevs believe this should have been their
last interaction with the police and CPS. After all, the doctor at
Kaiser
wrote that
“clinically the patient is well appearing, smiling,
tolerating PO formula while in ED and hydrated
appearing.” 

The doctor at Kaiser told the Nikolayevs that removing a child
from the hospital “without proper discharge” as they did at Sutter
Memorial was not a good idea but said he could understand the
mother’s concern for her son and her belief that she “can help him
improve at home faster than him receiving NG (feeding) tube and IV
line.” He
discharged Samuel hours later
with instructions to follow up
with Samuel’s pediatrician the next day, noting that he did “not
have concern for the safety of the child at home with his parents
as they do appear competent and concerned [with] the child’s best
care” and “are aware of how to give medication at home since [they]
have been doing this since he was first diagnosed.”

A final line in the discharge report reads, simply, “CPS has
been made aware from Sutter facility.”

“Expressed Frustration” 

On the afternoon of April 24, officers and a social worker
showed up at the Nikolayevs’ apartment, and the removal of Samuel
Nikolayev, captured on tape by Anna’s camcorder and depicted in the
opening moments
of Reason TV’s video, played out. 

So how did the Nikolayevs go from “competent and concerned” with
Samuel’s care to being raided and having their baby removed within
24 hours? Court records reveal that the Sutter Memorial social
worker, who had originally reported the case to CPS, didn’t trust
the work done at Kaiser. 

Although the Kaiser staff consulted with nurses and doctors at
Sutter before discharging Samuel, they did not provide enough
information to satisfy the social worker, citing medical privacy
laws. Upon learning that Samuel was discharged with instructions to
follow up with a pediatrician, the social worker “expressed
frustration at this
because the child needs immediate follow up
with his pediatric specialist doctors, including the cardiologist,
not just his pediatrician.” 

It’s unclear why, given the relatively
benign discharge instructions
from Kaiser, Sacramento CPS took
the extreme measure of removing a child from the custody of its
parents without a court order and without notifying the parents of
where he was being taken. Department head Sherri Heller would not
comment directly on the case but did defend the practice in an
August interview with Reason TV. 

“The law is clear that it is appropriate for the agency to act
without a court warrant if children are in imminent danger of
physical harm,” said Heller. 

Samuel Nikolayev was taken back to Sutter Hospital and held for
eight days, and Alex and Anna were allowed periodic, supervised
visits. In early May, Samuel underwent a successful heart surgery,
but only after the Nikolayev’s received a signed letter from the
hospital’s cardiologist making clear that the surgery was
necessary but “not an emergency.” 

Audit CPS

All of the information is finally public, but it raises nearly
as many questions as it answers. Was this a case of an erratic
mother whose stubborn, backwards ideas about medicine put the life
of her baby at risk, as Sutter Memorial and Sacramento CPS would
like you to believe? Or did hospital staffers and social workers
use the power of the state to bully two young parents into
accepting their dictums on what constitutes proper treatment and
prevent them from seeking a second opinion, as the Nikolayevs say?
Was baby Samuel’s life in imminent danger, and was it necessary for
CPS and the police to storm the house and take him away without a
court order, especially given that they sought treatment at a
different hospital?

Some of the answers depend on whose words you believe, though it
is clear that more than one medical professional believed that an
eventual heart surgery was necessary for the baby’s long-term
survival. It’s also clear that the Nikolayevs sought medical
attention for their baby on a regular basis in those first five
months of his life, visiting a pediatrician at least once a month.
They appear to have sometimes ignored medical advice, but how often
that was the case is still somewhat unclear. 

What remains evident is that this incident would never have come
to light if Anna hadn’t placed a camcorder on her kitchen counter
and pressed “record” moments before the police entered her house
and took Samuel. No court document or medical record can come close
to conveying the raw terror felt by a mother losing her child in
the way that video can. Time and time again, we’ve seen cheap video
equipment answer
the question
, “Who will watch the watchers?”

But in the case of a powerful agency like Child Protective
Services, that’s still not enough. A video may have opened up the
debate in California, but only increased transparency will begin to
solve the long-term, systemic problems.

An audit is underway, and nobody knows for sure whether it will
uncover more abuses of power like those
documented in Orange County
or if it will largely exonerate
wrongly maligned agencies and tell a story of social workers doing
the best they can in impossibly tough situations. Either way, a
one-time audit may not go far enough.

Transparency is about accountability for day-to-day operations.
Protecting patient privacy is a legitimate consideration, but in a
case like the Nikolayevs’, where neither party necessarily wants
the court records sealed, it’s hard to see who wins by keeping it
under wraps. Many other states have open family and juvenile courts
that allow the media and public to easily access information that,
in California, can require months of waiting and cost hundreds of
dollars to maybe, eventually obtain.

Reason Foundation Director of Education and Child Welfare
Lisa Snell
has made other common sense reform suggestions as well, such as
treating child abuse and neglect cases as criminal matters that
guarantee due process rather than administrative matters that give
CPS carte blanche power to strongarm families. 

She also says we should examine funding incentives that increase
agencies’ budgets based upon the number of abuses
reported. For the past 12 years, California has put far more
children into the foster care system than any other state in the
U.S., more than Texas and New York combined, according to
the
Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting
System.
 

There are limits to what any one case, especially one as
complicated as the Nikolayev case, can teach us about a statewide
bureaucracy. But in the absence of open records and due process
protections–the most basic elements of transparency and
accountability–it’s impossible to even know the extent of the
problems that may need fixing. 

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/06/baby-sammy-court-documents-reveal-confli
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This Dog Can Authorize Anal Probes

Yesterday Brian
Doherty
noted
a federal lawsuit by a New Mexico man, David Eckert, who
was forcibly subjected to anal probings, stomach X-rays, enemas,
and a colonoscopy because police officers who pulled him over for a
rolling stop suspected he had drugs hidden inside of him. No drugs
were found. Now KOB, the Albuquerque TV station that reported
Eckert’s story, has
discovered
another motorist who was forced to undergo a
similarly rigorous search of his digestive tract after being
stopped for a minor traffic violation. According to police reports,
Timothy Young was pulled over for failing to signal a turn and
ended up exposed to the prying hands and eyes of cops and doctors
acting on their behalf. No drugs were found. In both cases, KOB
reports, the same police dog, Leo, triggered these intimate
examinations by alerting to a car seat. It turns out that Leo is
not so good at identifying vehicles (or people) containing
drugs:

[Leo] seems to get it wrong pretty often. He might be getting it
wrong because he’s not even certified in New Mexico.

If you take a look at the dog’s certification, the dog did get
trained. But his certification to be a drug dog expired in April
2011. K-9s need yearly re-certification courses, and Leo is falling
behind.

“We have done public requests to find anything that would show
this dog has been trained, we have evidence that this dog has had
false alerts in the past,” Eckert’s attorney Shannon Kennedy
said.

According to the Supreme Court, none of this necessarily
disqualifies Leo as an informant reliable enough to obtain a
warrant authorizing the sort of humiliating searches that Eckert
and Young underwent. Last February the justices unanimously

ruled
 that “a court can presume” an alert by a
drug-sniffing dog provides probable cause for a search “if a bona
fide organization has certified a dog after testing his reliability
in a controlled setting” or “if the dog has recently and
successfully completed a training program that evaluated his
proficiency in locating drugs.” In practice, this means that if
police say a dog is properly trained, they can get a search warrant
based on nothing more than the animal’s purported alert, and that
search will be upheld unless a defendant can present evidence
showing the dog is unreliable. Police need not produce (or even
keep) data on the dog’s actual performance in the field, evidence
the Court deemed inferior to the results of tests in a “controlled”
(i.e., rigged) setting.

Hence if it turns out that Leo’s alerts frequently lead to
fruitless searches, that does not necessarily mean he will be
deemed unreliable, even if he is wrong more often than he is right
(which is
often the case
with drug-detecting dogs). According to police
(and the Supreme Court, which essentially has adopted their point
of view), what look like mistakes may actually be alerts to traces
of drugs so minute that their existence cannot be confirmed. Hence
you can never definitively say that a police dog erred, even though
there are
many possible sources of error
, including distracting smells
and conscious or subconscious cues by handlers. Not to mention the
ever-present possibility that cops who want to search someone can
falsely claim a dog alerted. The upshot is that if a cop wants to
explore a motorist’s anus, stomach, intestines, and fecal matter,
all he needs is a dog and a judge who takes to heart the Supreme
Court’s unjustified faith in canine capabilities.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/06/this-dog-can-authorize-anal-probes
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Bitcoin Price Hits a New High as the Virtual Currency Grows in Popularity

It’s pretty clear that U.S. federal officials hoped Bitcoin
would dry up and blow away when they
busted the Silk Road drug marketplace
, but that’s not what
happened. That’s because, as anybody clued-in (like our own Brian
Doherty) could have explained, Bitcoin is
useful for so many more things
than purchasing illegal
intoxicants on the Internet, not that there’s anything wrong with
such transactions. In fact, Bitcoin briefly hit an all-time high,
price-wise, relative to U.S. dollars just today. The Mt. Gox exhange recorded Bitcoin as
touching $272 at one point (the solid line in the chart below is
volume; the broken line is price). As it turns out, Bitcoin isn’t
quite ready to go away, and people aren’t losing interest.

Bitcoin price

Among the companies newly adopting Bitcoin payments is
Tomcar Australia
, a manufactirer of all-terrain vehicles that
hopes to ease international sales by using the virtual
currency.

Bitcoin has also become
attractive for tech-savvy international investors
intrigued by
the virtual currency’s resilience, and the fact that it can be
manufactured only in finite quantities—unlike the U.S. dollar.
Interestingly, the biggest Bitcoin exchange is now, apparently,

BTC China
, which just pushed past Mt. Gox and Bitstamp in
volume. Bitcoin has apparently become popular in that country as a
store of value, since few businesses actually accept payment in the
currency.

Bitcoin is unlikely to be the final development,
virtual-currency-wise. Use of Bitcoin still raises some privacy concerns,
though following payments
remains difficult
if people make an effort to cover their
tracks. But with virtual currency growing in popularity,
improvements and new developments are guaranteed.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/06/bitcoin-price-hits-a-new-high-as-the-vir
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Read This If You Believe Your Candidate Lost Due to Third-Party Voters

If it weren't for him ... Cuccinelli still would have lost, so get over it.So it turns out Terry McAuliffe
and Ken Cuccinelli were able to draw away enough votes to keep
Robert Sarvis from winning Virginia’s governor’s race. I hope the
folks who put those guys on the ballot are happy.

Last night, my Twitter feed had quite a few conservatives laying
the blame on Sarvis for costing Cuccinelli the election (which
really isn’t true
according to polls, and it probably wouldn’t
even had been a close outcome but for the Obamacare mess). So in
the spirit of reconciliation, here are some tips from a typical
third-party voter to major party movers and shakers who are trying
to figure out how to approach us. Note: I live in California and
therefore did not vote in Virginia’s gubernatorial race. If I had,
I probably would have voted for Sarvis.

We don’t like your candidate. Really, this
should go without saying. We are not voting for your candidate
because we don’t like your candidate and what he or she stands for.
At least, he or she stands for enough things we don’t like to want
to see your candidate lose. Even if Sarvis voters did cause
Cuccinelli to lose, it’s extremely important to understand that
this is what these voters wanted. That the outcome was McAuliffe’s
victory is also unfortunate, but don’t assume that Sarvis voters
actually saw Cuccinelli as the lesser of two evils.

You need to make an actual case for your
candidate.
Once you wade out of the red team versus blue
team fight, you have to set aside the mentality that comes with it.
Too many folks were still making the argument that Cuccinelli was
better than McAuliffe when they needed to be making the argument
that Cuccinelli was better than Sarvis. Timothy Carney at the
Washington Examiner
took on this task
later in late October and made some good
points about Cuccinelli. It probably wouldn’t have been enough to
get my vote, but it was at least enough to make me think it
over.

Don’t presume to tell us what we believe. Oh,
look, conservative
National Review
says Sarvis isn’t a real libertarian and
libertarians shouldn’t vote for him. Libertarians are used to
having their positions misunderstood, misappropriated and
mischaracterized by both the left and the right. Anybody trying to
come explaining libertarianism to libertarians better be able to
make a good case. Sarvis has been hit over his position on taxes,
particularly on paying for roads with a mileage tax. The mistake
here is assuming that libertarians are supposed to believe in a
world without taxes entirely. Not entirely true, depending on where
an individual libertarian falls on the spectrum. As has been noted
before, Adrian Moore of the Reason Foundation has himself spoken

in favor of mileage taxes
as a way to pay for roads using the
money of the people who actually use them. From my background in
covering and watching municipal politics I’m a skeptic. I don’t
think it’s a bad idea – I just don’t trust that it will be
implemented as a replacement tax and will just add to citizens’
burdens, and I don’t trust that the money would actually go to
roads. This doesn’t make either Moore or myself non-libertarians.
We are assessing the likely outcomes of the policy in different
ways.

No really, don’t pull this blue versus red crap
on us.
The Blaze noted that an
Obama bundler
helped pay for the petitioning process to get
Sarvis on the ballot. So … guilt by association? I guess Sarvis
should have just not run for governor if he needed assistance from
somebody experienced in political processes because it’s from the
left? According to The Blaze’s own reporting, the guy gives money
to both libertarians and Democrats. We get the same crap
from the left whenever the Koch brothers money finds its
way into hands of conservatives as well. Strangely, this piece is
the one getting thrown at me the most, but it has the least
compelling argument. It’s pointless left vs. right purity test
crap.

Respect that voters determine their own political
priorities.
I criticized Carney’s column because it felt
to me like he was saying that those libertarians who were voting
against Cuccinelli because of his social conservatism should
deprioritize these concerns. He argued that “identity politics” was
helping sink Cuccinelli. As frustrating as “identity politics” can
be, it’s important not to confuse the term with the idea that
voters have different priorities than you have. Voting against a
candidate because you believe he will try to implement policies
that will harm you or people you care about is not identity
politics, even if the policies are connected to your identity. I
have read a number of folks lamenting that voters turned against
Cuccinelli on these “social issues.” The outcome of such a
complaint is giving the voter the impression that you don’t care
about or don’t respect their personal priorities when choosing a
candidate. If that’s the case, how can you ever expect them to vote
for yours?

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/06/read-this-if-you-believe-your-candidate
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Undercover Cop Sleeps With Alleged Drug Dealer She Was Targeting, Blows Partners’ Covers

now ex copSeveral week ago, Jessica Dever-Jakusz resigned
her position as a police officer in Tempe, Arizona. A memo from the
police chief confirming her resignation led to a public records
request, which revealed that Dever-Jakusz had told an alleged drug
dealer she was having sex with that she and two other females
buying “Molly” (MDMA,
mostly, kinda
) from him were undercover cops investigating him.
Cops found out what happened when the target of the investigation
showed up at a police station to tell them.
The Arizona Republic explains
:

The report said the suspect went to a police substation
and told officers about Dever-Jakusz’s statements about two or
three days later. He told police he was not “emotionally tied” to
Dever-Jakusz, though the affair started in August. The undercover
buys with the suspect started in June, the report said.

While revealing her identity to the suspect, Dever-Jakusz said her
“ex,” a Chandler police officer, was “looking up a bunch of stuff”
on him, the report said. She suspected his motivation was “for
other than a legitimate purpose as a law-enforcement officer,” the
report said.

Chandler police confirmed last week that Officer Garrett Dever is
the subject of an internal-affairs investigation and is married to
Jessica Dever-Jakusz, but refused to release other details until
the investigation is complete.

The report did not say why the suspect came forward, but it said
his decision to divulge Dever-Jakusz’s statements to police made it
impossible for them to file charges against him for drug sales to
Dever-Jakusz.

The department apparently considered Dever-Jakusz, a 14-year
veteran, a “shining star.” She was “hand-picked” by supervisors for
an
unnamed reality show
where she was sent to Switzerland, along
with another officer, earlier this year.The police report said
Dever-Jakusz believed investigators were joking when they first
asked her about the affair with the alleged drug dealer,
according
to the local CBS affiliate.

In their report, the Tempe Police Department recommended to
county prosecutors that Dever-Jakusz be charged on two counts of
“hindering prosecution”. The alleged drug dealer had been targeted
for four months before his visit to the police station appears to
have ended it, for now.

More Reason on the “Molly” panic
here
and how drug criminalization lowers the quality of MDMA
available on the market and hurts consumers
here
, and you can add scorned lovers who carry badges as
another reason you should worry about government surveillance even
if you have “nothing
to hide
.”

h/t sarcasmic

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/06/undercover-cop-sleeps-with-alleged-drug
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John Stossel Says Privatize Everything

The market is fine for some things, people
will say, but other activities are too important to be left to the
market. Or too complicated. Or too fundamental to our democracy.
John Stossel points out that we let people sell blood. And sperm.
And eggs. Why not kidneys? Why not privatize everything?

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/06/john-stossel-says-privatize-everything
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Greenhouse Gas Concentrations in the Atmosphere Reach New Record

Global Warming? That’s the headline on the
World Meteorological Organization’s
press release
for its latest
Greenhouse Gas Bulletin
report issued just before the
19th
Conference of the Parties
(COP-19) of the U.N. Framework
Convention on Climate Change convenes later this month in Warsaw.
The release notes:

The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new
record high in 2012, continuing an upward and accelerating trend
which is driving climate change and will shape the future of our
planet for hundreds and thousands of years.

The World Meteorological Organization’s annual Greenhouse Gas
Bulletin shows that between 1990 and 2012 there was a 32% increase
in radiative forcing – the warming effect on our climate – because
of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping long-lived gases
such as methane and nitrous oxide.

Carbon dioxide, mainly from fossil fuel-related emissions,
accounted for 80% of this increase. The atmospheric increase of CO2
from 2011 to 2012 was higher than its average growth rate over the
past ten years, according to the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.

Since the start of the industrial era in 1750, the global
average concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by
41%, methane by 160% and nitrous oxide by 20%. What is happening in
the atmosphere is one part of a much wider picture. Only about half
of the CO2 emitted by human activities remains in the atmosphere,
with the rest being absorbed in the biosphere and in the
oceans.

Interestingly, the GHG Bulletin notes that the amount
of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased by 32 percent
since 1990. Yet global average temperatures have been
more or less flat for the last 15 years
. Curious.

Heads up: I will be writing daily dispatches from the COP-19
in Warsaw from November 18 to its end on November 22.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/06/greenhouse-gas-concentrations-in-the-atm
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GMO Labeling Disinformation Campaign May Suffer Defeat in Washington State

KillerTomatoesAnti-biotech luddites tried to scare the
citizens of Washington State into voting for the I-522 initiative
that would have mandated labels on foods containing ingredients
derived from genetically modified crops, even those crops are as

safe or safer than
conventional or organic crops. Styled as a
“right to know” initiative, the scientifically dishonest proponents
of labeling actually hope that confused consumers would mistake
them as “warning labels,” and thus avoid purchasing foods made from
cheaper and more environmentally
friendly
biotech crops.

All the votes are not yet in – a lot of in Washington State
residents vote by mail, but the trend looks promising. As
Politico
reports
:

Washington state’s GMO labeling measure appears to be going down
in defeat, early results show.

With slightly less than a million votes counted, the current
tally on Ballot Initiative 522, which would require the labeling of
foods that contain genetically modified organisms, show those
opposed leading by about 536,000 (54.8 percent) to 442,000 (45.2
percent). The figures represent about a quarter of the state’s 3.9
million registered voters, but not all of the votes have been
counted.

The delay in the final vote total is due to the fact that
Washington is a mail-in ballot state, and it will count any ballots
postmarked by Nov. 5, even if those ballots arrive at the end of
the week. As a result, the tally on election night often only
reflects about 60 percent of the votes that ultimately will be
received, according to Brian Zylstra, a spokesman for Washington’s
Office of the Secretary of State.

If that holds true in this election, with 997,566 ballots
counted on election night, another 665,044 could be in the
mail.

Here’s hoping that good sense will ultimately prevail among
Washington voters and this scientifically ignorant measure fails.
It’s a pity that the food and farming industries have to
waste so much money
to counter this egregious anti-biotech
propaganda.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/06/gmo-labeling-disinformation-campaign-may
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JFK Still Dead, Baby Boomers Still Self-Absorbed

In a new
column up at The Daily Beast, I look upon the avalanche of books
about John F. Kennedy coming out to mark the 50th anniversary of
this assassination and despair.
Here’s a snippet
:

Each fall since November 22, 1963, regular programming is
pre-empted and whole rainforests are clear-cut to bring us books
filled with the latest minor (and often delusional) variations on
who killed Kennedy and why; the supposedly transformative effect of
the “Camelot” years on contemporary geo-politics and, more
plausibly, the hat-wearing habits of the American male; and
counterfactuals about just how awesome—or awful—JFK’s second term
would have been.

Whatever emotional immediacy, contemporary relevance, and news
value this all once inarguably possessed, can we now admit that the
topic has grown thinner than the post-1963 resume of Kennedy
impersonator Vaughn Meader? It now lives on mostly as a sort
of repetition-compulsion disorder through which the baby
boom generation (born between 1946 and 1964) seeks to preserve its
stultifying cultural hegemony even as it slowly—finally!—begins to
exit the stage of American life on a fleet of taxpayer-funded
Rascal Scooters.


Read the whole thing.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/06/jfk-still-dead-baby-boomers-still-self-a
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A. Barton Hinkle on the Potential Economic Viability of Small Stadiums

BallparkWhat we know—based on decades of research—is that
publicly financed sports stadiums are a sucker’s bet for everyone
except the rich team players and their even richer owners. But some
recent research suggests smaller clubs and smaller facilities might
not be the economic sinkholes their bigger cousins are. The work
comes from Nola Agha, an assistant professor of sports management
at the University of San Francisco and arrives at what Agha terms
“an unexpected outcome”: Certain types of teams and facilities can
produce gains in regional income (albeit small ones: about $67 to
about $117 per capita). Agha cautions that her research doesn’t
include any cost-benefit analysis, “so there is no implication that
cities should invest in AA or rookie stadiums.” Still, writes A.
Barton Hinkle, the economic case against sports stadiums used to be
open and shut in every instance. Now, in some cases, it is simply
open.

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from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/06/a-barton-hinkle-on-the-potential-economi
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