Thousands of Rapists Are Not Behind Bars Because Cops Focus on Marijuana Users

Every dollar and police hour spent on nonviolent drug offenders takes away from real crime. A piece in the Washington Post highlights the growing backlog of untested rape test kits that are sitting in police storage units while rapists run free and victims suffer.  Missing from the story, however, is one of the biggest contributors to this backlog, the enormous amount of police and tax resources spent targeting drug crimes, particularly marijuana possession. The backlog is a disgrace. The total number of rape test kits that have never been sent to laboratories for testing exceeds 100,000. In some cases, the kits have been sitting in storage for decades. From the Washington Post: “In 2009, authorities found more than 11,000 unprocessed kits at the Detroit crime lab after it was closed for improperly handling weapons evidence. After testing the first 2,000 kits, authorities identified 127 serial rapists and made 473 matches overall to known convicts […] Read More

The Decline Of Small Business And The Middle Class

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog, The only way to not just survive but thrive as an entrepreneurial enterprise is to destroy fixed costs and labor overhead. It is not coincidental that the middle class and small business are both in decline. Entrepreneurial enterprise and small business have long been stepping stones to middle class incomes and generational wealth, i.e. wealth that is passed down to future generations rather than consumed. As the headwinds to entrepreneurial enterprise and small business rise, the pathway to middle class prosperity narrows. The Washington Post published a study that found U.S. businesses are being destroyed faster than they’re being created. While not exactly a surprise, it was sobering evidence that small enterprise is in structural decline: The decline of small business also hurts employment. Successful small businesses expand and hire employees. As small businesses close, jobs vanish en masse. I have addressed this systemic decline many […] Read More

2013: What San Francisco’s Bat Kid Tells Us About America

A fascinating watermark in America’s obsession with superhero culture, and geek culture. The following first appeared on Think Progress: It used to be that the Make-A-Wish Fund would hook up a chronically or terminally-ill child with a trip to Disney World or a meeting with one of their favorite celebrities. Now, in a sign that times–and culture–have changed, something much more ambitious has happened. At the request of a five-year-old named Miles, who has leukemia that’s gone into remission, and with the help of many, many volunteers, including San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr and the San Francisco Giants, big parts of San Francisco will be turned into a fantasy of Gotham so that Miles can pretend to be Batman for the day, while his younger brother is dressed up as Robin. The event’s gone viral, prompting tweets from as high up as President Obama, and some questions about the allocation of […] Read More

2013: This Is Democracy?! Billionaires Flooding Campaign Coffers of Greedy Virginia Politicians

Money distorts democracy. Exhibit A: Virginia. If you want to see how grossly money can distort democracy, just go to the state of Virginia, where there are no limits on how big a check can be written for statewide office. Groups and individuals from outside the Old Dominion are taking full advantage, pouring millions into a governor’s race they see as a dry run for the tactics they’ll use in the 2014 midterms and the 2016 presidential race – sort of the way the Spanish civil war turned out to be a testing ground for many of the deadly weapons of World War II. Billionaires like environmentalist Tom Steyer on the left and the Koch Brothers on the right are placing their bets, but as they say at the track, the horses they’re backing are just a couple of hay burners. Once the home of Washington and Jefferson, James Madison and […] Read More

2013: US moves East African drone base following series of crashes

 AFP Photo / Saul Loeb A series of blunders and near-accidents involving drones at the US military’s biggest base in East Africa have led to the whole fleet of unmanned aircraft being relocated farther inland, away from the city of Djibouti, to allay residents’ fears. The move, first reported by The Washington Post, could hamper President Barack Obama administration’s counterterrorism initiative in the region, as the Camp Lemonnier base in Djibouti is a major US military hub, where drones took off and landed on average 16 times a day. Djiboutian officials this month started sounding the alarm that the drones’ recent series of crashes showed them to be dangerous and prompted fears of collisions with passenger planes in civilian airspace. Causes of drone crashes have included human error, navigation systems failure and onboard computer malfunctions, resulting in the unmanned vehicles spinning out of control and often landing within a […] Read More

The American Dream has Become a Burden For Most

As wages stagnate and costs rise, US workers recognize the guiding ideal of this nation for the delusional myth it is. The final chapter of America’s Promise, a high-school textbook on American history, ends with a rallying cry to national mythology. “The history of the United States is one of challenges faced, problems resolved, and crises overcome,” it states. “Throughout their history Americans have remained an optimistic people, carrying this optimism into the new century. The full promise of America has yet to be realised. This is the real promise of America; the ability to dream of a better world to come.” Such are the assumptions beamed from the torch of Lady Liberty, coursing through the veins of the nation’s political culture and imbibed with mothers’ milk. Their nation, many will tell you, is not just a land mass but an ideal – a shining city on the hill beckoning […] Read More