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By John Stossel

       They live on the street, often foraging through dumpsters. Some threaten us. Occasionally, they assault people.
        Thousands of mentally ill people cycle in and out of hospital emergency rooms. They strain our medical system, scare the public and sometimes harm themselves.
        Most, says DJ Jaffe, are schizophrenic or bipolar and have stopped taking their medication.
        Jaffe gave up a successful advertising career to try to improve the way America deals with such people.
        "John Hinckley shot President Reagan because he knew, not thought, knew that was the best way to get a date with Jodie Foster," Jaffe tells me in my latest internet video collaboration with City Journal.
        Years ago, such people were locked up in mental hospitals. That protected the public, but the asylums were horrible, overcrowded places, where sick people rarely got good treatment.
        "We decided we would largely replace that system with mental health care in the community," says Stephen Eide, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
        Community treatment made sense. Care would be easier and cheaper in the patients' own neighborhoods. Patients would be closer to their families, who could visit.
        But community treatment never really happened. Politicians didn't fund it. Neighborhood mental health facilities were not popular with their constituents.
        Many mentally ill people now end up in prison. "Prison is no place for somebody with schizophrenia," says Eide. "However, that's where they're going to remain.
        Today, more seriously mentally ill people are locked up in Los Angeles County Jail, Cook County Jail and New York's Rikers Island jail than in any mental hospital.
        In jail, they barely get treatment. As a result, they stay in jail longer than other inmates.
        "They get abused and victimized and thrown in solitary, and they can't visit their families," says Jaffe. "It's a horrific place to be."
         America has some high-quality mental hospitals, but they don't have enough money to give the extended treatment that most seriously ill people need.
        Jaffe says, "It's become harder to get into Bellevue (a New York City mental hospital) than Harvard. If you're well enough to walk into a hospital and ask for care, they're going to say you're not sick enough to need it."
        Hospitals often practice what Jaffe calls "treating and streeting." The police call it "catch and release."
        Jaffe says that a big part of the problem is that governments, instead of treating the sickest people, often offer "something for everyone."
        That's a line from Chirlane McCray, wife of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. De Blasio named his wife director of the city's program to combat mental illness. McCray promised to spend "almost a billion dollars" on "54 initiatives."
        Unfortunately, most of those initiatives address people who are not very sick. "They wrap anything that makes you sad -- bad grades, poverty, coming from a single-parent household -- in a mental health narrative," says Jaffe.
        "Blurring the lines between mild mental disorders such as anxiety or mild depression -- and schizophrenia -- is not a bug; it's a feature of the program," says Eide. "They believe the only way New Yorkers will support improvements to mental illness policy is if they are convinced that everybody has a mental illness."
        So most funds don't go to helping the people diving into dumpsters or to protecting us from threatening people on the street.
        "If we're going to spend all our money on people who are anxious or can't sleep, what's left for the seriously ill?" asks Jaffe. "Ask any cop what we need, he's going to say: more hospitals, easier civil commitment, so that when I bring somebody they're admitted. We need to keep them on their medications so they don't deteriorate."
        Why then do authorities focus on comparatively minor problems? "They don't cost as much to help! Serving the seriously mentally ill is a really difficult task," he adds.
        So the seriously mentally ill live on the street or get locked up in jails.
        "We tend to think of ourselves as a very compassionate society," says Eide, "but a century from now, when people look at the situation with the seriously mentally ill, they're going to look back on us and wonder how compassionate we really were."
        John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit

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by Laura Lollar

Those of us who lost homes and businesses to Colorado wildfires, know full well the importance of mitigating your property to create defensible space and minimize risk. When I bought my log cabin in the woods, I was thrilled to be living under century old pine trees and wouldn’t have considered cutting them down. After the 2013 Black Forest Wildfire, a reporter asked me if I’d ever choose to live in the woods again.

I sure would and still do. There are tradeoffs for every choice we make in life. Mitigation is essential, but to remove every tree within 100-200 feet of our home would have been costly.

The same is true with Proposition 112.

The Costs of Proposition 112

Proposition 112, which will be on the November 2018 ballot, would prohibit NEW oil and gas drilling within 2500 feet of homes, schools, parks and water sources like lakes and streams. The existing setback is 500 feet from homes and 1000 feet from schools and other areas designated as vulnerable.

This proposition expands and modifies the definition of vulnerable areas to include playgrounds, any occupied building including homes, schools and hospitals, as well as sports fields, drinking water sources, irrigation canals, reservoirs, lakes, rivers, streams, etc. Current drilling activity would not be affected, but re-entering old, abandoned oil and gas wells would qualify as new development and the setback requirements would apply.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Commission report states Proposition 112 (formerly 97) would put as much as 85% of Colorado’s non-federal lands off-limits to new development. It would also eliminate new production in 94 percent of the state’s top five producing oil and natural gas counties of Weld, Garfield, La Plata, Rio Blanco and Las Animas. Read the report and view maps here.

A study by the Common Sense Policy Roundtable states Prop 112’s passage would cost Colorado over $230 million in tax revenue in its first year. By 2030, lost tax revenue would grow to $1 billion annually and jobs lost could reach 147,800 by 2030. That’s a lot of jobs! Read the study here.

Basically, Proposition 112 will significantly reduce energy production in Colorado and have a devastating impact on our economy. Read more about Prop 112, including the organizations and officials who support it here.

Updated Rules and Protections

In a perfect Colorado, there would be no air pollution from wildfire smoke, no claims from hail damage and no deaths from riding bikes, hiking mountains or rafting rivers. There is inherent risk in every part of life, but we still take measures to minimize it. Thankfully, our Legislators, the Governor, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, oil and gas companies and local municipalities have not been sitting idly by when it comes to energy industry regulations. We have some of the strongest in the country, including:

– Updated rules now require companies inform Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission regulators where pipelines will be installed and provide information on old lines they know about. A new task force will explore inspection technology to detect leaks and locate existing pipelines. (Source:

– Colorado was the first state in the nation to pass methane regulations requiring capture of air pollutants released during oil and natural gas operations. (Source:

– First state to require water sampling before and after drilling. (Source:

– First state to require oil and gas companies to find and fix methane leaks and require 95% capture of pollutants from oil and natural gas operations. (Source:

No Ideal Solutions, Only Tradeoffs

If we want energy independence, affordable utility bills and access to more than 6000 made-from-petroleum plastic products (tires, fishing lures, panty hose, trash bags, surf boards, sun glasses, heart valves, drinking cups, contact lenses, etc.), we must be willing to make tradeoffs. We cannot put substantial chunks of Colorado land off-limits from oil and gas production and expect to still reap affordable benefits from the energy industry.

Wind and solar cannot yet shoulder the full load of supplying our energy needs. And according to some, the more wind and solar we use as an energy source, the more expensive electricity becomes due to the cost of preparation and delivery. Read more on this perspective here.

Also, if we value personal property rights so owners can develop their land and minerals, like oil and gas, then are we willing to compensate them for the loss of that value? Amendment 74 is also on the November ballot; it’s worth considering what’s at stake when a government action takes or devalues property. Is it fair to move the goalpost after the fact and force property owners to take a loss?  

In November, please vote “NO” on Proposition 112. Join increasing numbers of Coloradans, business leaders and elected officials who say Prop 112 is no good for our state. Even both Gubernatorial candidates, Republican Walker Stapleton and Democrat Jared Polis, along with almost every Mayor in Weld County, Colorado agree this is a losing Proposition.

Laura Lollar is a business owner, writer, USAF Veteran, outdoors enthusiast and wildfire survivor. Follow @LauraLollar

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by John Stossel

    Watching this video upset me. Students and even faculty members won't let Dave Rubin speak. They constantly interrupt, shouting "hate speech!" and "black lives matter!"
    Rubin was once a man of the left. He even was a co-host on The Young Turks network.
    But then he started a podcast.
    He did long interviews with people like talk show host Larry Elder. In that interview, Rubin referred to "systemic racism" and said that "cops are more willing shoot if the perpetrator is black."
    "What's your data for that?" replied Elder. Then he gave Rubin answers the left doesn't like to hear, like, "Seventy percent of homicides are black-on-black..." and "The idea that a racist white cop shooting black people is a peril to black people is complete and total b.s."
    "He just beat me with fact over fact about how systemic racism doesn't exist -- not that racism doesn't exist," Rubin told me.
    The more people Rubin interviewed, the more he became convinced something was missing in the left's picture of the world.
    "I realized not everyone that (the left) disagreed with could be a racist and a bigot and a homophobe and a sexist. That was the argument constantly being laid out. If a Republican gave a speech and said, 'We should lower taxes,' their answer was, 'he's racist'. Now that actually makes no sense."
    Rubin now considers himself a classical liberal. That means he believes in liberalism roughly as it was before today's liberals added big government to the philosophy and subtracted belief in individual freedom. "If you believe in the individual, then you fundamentally understand that individuals are different, so you are willing to sit down with someone different than you," says Rubin.
    He still disagrees with conservatives about many things -- he's a married gay man who is pro-pot and pro-criminal justice reform. But he found that conservatives are willing to debate those topics. "For all the differences that we have -- I'm pro-choice; most of them are pro-life. I'm against the death penalty; most of them are for the death penalty -- they're all willing to sit down and discuss ideas."
    Some of his podcasts last one or more hours. I never thought people would be interested in such long interviews, but I was wrong. Millions listen and watch his YouTube videos.
    "I didn't know what was going to happen, but I started doing these long-form interviews, and people kept watching. Suddenly, I realized, 'Whoa, there're a lot of people thinking the things that I'm thinking.'"
    Today, his former left-wing colleagues hate him.
    "He's a puppet for the right wing," said Ana Kasparian on Rubin's old Young Turks network. "He was lazy when he worked here. He's lazy now with his ridiculous show."
    To me, she sounded jealous.
    "I lose friends now," says Rubin. "This goes to the laziness of the argument of the left. They truly believe that if you disagree, you're evil."
    Many on the left have also come to believe that words themselves are a form of violence, so some now said Rubin's words must not be heard.
    As he tried to speak at the University of New Hampshire, a women's studies professor  screamed, "We don't want you in the LGBT community, so get the f--- out!"
    "It's an oppression Olympics," Rubin told me. "The more marginalized you claim to be, the more political clout you have on campus or in left-wing circles... If you have a limp, you're this much oppressed; if you're a Jew, this much oppressed; Muslim, this much oppressed. Everyone wants to be oppressed."
    Of course, many minorities have suffered genuine oppression. Rubin acknowledges that but says the left misses what's special about America.
    "No society's perfect, but the United States, by and large, has given more freedom to more people from every walk of life, regardless of your skin color, your sexuality... Do we have problems? Yes. We can talk about those things, but to tell me those are because you are 'oppressed'?! It ain't true. And that idea needs to be decimated."
    John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit

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by Walter E. Williams

    I'm thankful that increasing attention is being paid to the dire state of higher education in our country. Heather Mac Donald, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, has just published "The Diversity Delusion." Its subtitle captures much of the book's content: "How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture." Part of the gender pandering at our universities is seen in the effort to satisfy the diversity-obsessed National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, each of which gives millions of dollars of grant money to universities. If universities don't make an effort to diversify their science, technology, engineering and math (known as STEM) programs, they risk losing millions in grant money.
    A UCLA scientist says, "All across the country the big question now in STEM is: how can we promote more women and minorities by 'changing' (i.e., lowering) the requirements we had previously set for graduate level study?" Mac Donald says, "Mathematical problem-solving is being deemphasized in favor of more qualitative group projects; the pace of undergraduate physics education is being slowed down so that no one gets left behind."
    Diversity-crazed people ignore the fact that there are systemic differences in race and sex that influence various outcomes. Males outperform females at the highest levels of math; however, males are overrepresented at the lowest levels of math competence. In 2016, the number of males scoring above 700 on the math portion of the SAT was nearly twice as high as the number of females scoring above 700. There are 2.5 males in the U.S. in the top 0.01 percent of math ability for every female, according to the journal Intelligence (February 2018).
    In terms of careers, females are more people-centered than males. That might explain why females make up 75 percent of workers in health care-related fields but only 14 percent of engineering workers and 25 percent of computer workers. Nearly 82 percent of obstetrics and gynecology medical residents in 2016 were women. Mac Donald asks sarcastically, "Is gynecology biased against males, or are females selecting where they want to work?"
    "The Diversity Delusion" documents academic practices that fall just shy of lunacy at many universities. Nowhere are these practices more unintelligent and harmful to their ostensible beneficiaries than in university efforts to promote racial diversity. UC Berkeley and UCLA are the most competitive campuses in the University of California system. Before Proposition 209's ban on racial discrimination, the median SAT score of blacks and Hispanics at Berkeley was 250 points below that of whites and Asians. This difference was hard to miss in class. Renowned Berkeley philosophy professor John Searle, who sees affirmative action as a disaster, said, "They admitted people who could barely read." Dr. Thomas Sowell and others have discussed this problem of mismatching students. Black and Hispanic students who might do well in a less competitive setting are recruited to highly competitive universities and become failures. Black parents have no obligation to make academic liberals fe!
el good about themselves by allowing them to turn their children into failures.
    Many readers know that I am a professor of economics at George Mason University. A few readers have asked me about "Black Freshmen Orientation," held Aug. 25 and advertised as an opportunity for students to learn more about the black community at George Mason University. GMU is not alone in promoting separation in the name of diversity and inclusion. Harvard, Yale, UCLA and many other universities, including GMU, have black graduation ceremonies. Racial segregation goes beyond graduation ceremonies. Cal State Los Angeles, the University of Connecticut, UC Davis and UC Berkeley, among others, offer racially segregated housing for black students.
    University administrators and faculty members who cave to the demands for racially segregated activities have lost their moral mooring, not to mention common sense. I'm sure that if white students demanded a whites-only dormitory or whites-only graduation ceremonies, the university community would be outraged. Some weak-minded administrators might make the argument that having black-only activities and facilities is welcoming and might make black students feel more comfortable. I'm wondering whether they would also support calls by either white or black students for separate (themed) bathrooms and water fountains.
    Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at

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By John Stossel

   I just zipped down a city street on an electric scooter. It cost me 15 cents a minute. Fast and fun!
    My scooter was just lying on the ground. I picked it up, activated it with my phone and rode away. When I was done, I simply abandoned it.
    Won't it be stolen? No, because you need an app to activate the scooter and a GPS device keeps track of it.
    My wife loves using the newish Citi Bike shared bicycles that are locked in a big dock near our apartment. They were a good innovation.
    But then entrepreneurs came up with "dockless" bikes. They're even better.
    Better still are these shared scooters. They're small, flexible, cheap and convenient. Maybe these scooters will be the next revolution in urban transit!
    But politicians may kill them off before we get a chance to find out how useful they are.
    Some places have already banned the scooters. San Francisco said they "endanger public health and safety." City attorney Dennis Herrera complained about "broken bones, bruises, and near misses."
    Sigh. Yet San Francisco also complains about not having enough transportation options.
    In San Francisco and other cities, scooter companies tried doing what Uber and Airbnb did: They dodged destructive regulation by simply putting their services out on the street, hoping that by the time sleepy regulators noticed them, they would be too popular to ban.
    That worked for Uber and Airbnb. We consumers got cool new ways to travel and alternatives to hotels, and investors got rich -- all because they didn't ask for permission. Permissionless innovation brings good things.
    But flying under the radar is harder for scooter companies. Scooters on sidewalks are very visible.
    "Unfortunately," Mercatus Center tech policy analyst Jennifer Skees told me for my latest video, "cities haven't learned from their experiences with companies like Uber and Airbnb. They want innovators to come ask for permission and go through the regulatory processes."
    But the "regulatory processes" take years. "That prevents consumers from accessing a transportation option that could be accessible now!" said Skees.
    After a four-month ban, San Francisco granted permits to two small scooter companies. The politicians stiffed Lime and Bird, the innovators that started the business -- presumably because they didn't kiss the politicians' rings and beg for permission first.
    Still, even I acknowledge that there may be a role for government here. A public square needs some rules. Scooters, especially speedy electric scooters, can be dangerous.
    "We haven't seen a large number of accidents or injuries," says Skees. "We don't ban bicycles because somebody might get hurt. ... Social norms (like hand signals) will evolve."
    Whenever there's something new, the media hype the problems. The L.A. Times reports that some people hate the scooters so much that they "have been crammed into toilets, tossed off balconies and set on fire." Internet videos show scooters abandoned in the Pacific Ocean.
    But scooter companies say the vandalism isn't so bad.
    "It's a low percentage," said Lime's Maggie Gendron. In one city, "we had 10,000 rides and 18 vandalism complaints."
    I wanted to try out scooters in my state, New York, but I couldn't, because craven politicians who claim to represent me banned scooters.
    So I took our camera crews to a city that's been more reasonable.
    Oddly, that's a place that overregulates most everything: Washington, D.C. But the capital embraced scooters.
    So, the district has transportation that is green and good exercise and takes up less space than cars.
    Maybe politicians will find it in their hearts to leave scooters, their makers and customers alone.
    One innovation can make many others possible.
    Cars take people to jobs they couldn't do in their own neighborhoods, allowing them to collaborate with people they might never have met if they walked or rode horses.
    Planes, trains and ships bring down costs by allowing inventors to use exotic materials they can't find in their own back yards.
    If any of those forms of transportation had been crushed by regulation, we'd never know how many benefits we'd lost.
    Don't kill scooters. Let's see where they take us.
    John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit