User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

     

by John Stossel

   South Carolina mom Debra Harrell worked at McDonald's. She couldn't afford day care for Regina, her 9-year-old daughter, so she took her to work.
        But Regina was bored at McDonald's.
        One day, she asked if she could just play in the neighborhood park instead. "I felt safe there," tells me in my new video, "because I was with my friends and their parents."
        "She had her cellphone, a pocketbook with money in it," says Debra. "She had everything she needed."
        Regina was happy. Debra was happy.
        But one parent asked Regina where her mom was, and then called the police. Officers went to McDonald's and arrested Debra.
        In jail, they berated her.
        "You can't leave a child who is 9 years old in the park by herself!" said one officer. "What if some sex offender came by?"
        People interviewed by the media were also outraged.
        "What if a man came and just snatched her?" asked one.
        "This day and time, you never know who's around!" said another.
        But what are they talking about? Crime in America is way down, half what it was in the '90s. Reports of missing children are also down.
        If kids are kidnapped or molested, it's almost always by a relative or an acquaintance, not by a stranger in a park.
        Nevertheless, prosecutors charged Debra Harrell with "willful abandonment of a child," a crime that carries up to a 10-year sentence.
        They also took Regina away from her mom -- for two weeks. "I would cry as night because I was really scared," Regina told me. "I didn't know where I was, or what was going on."
        Fortunately, attorney Robert Phillips took Debra's case for free. He didn't like the way police and media portrayed her.
        "Here was this black female that society gives a hard time. 'Welfare queens, living at home, not getting a job!' Well, that's what she was doing," he said. "She was out working, trying the best she could to take care of her child. And now we're beating her up because we didn't like the way she took care of her child."
        The cops said that Harrell should have sent her daughter to day care. But even if she could have afforded it, it's not clear that day care is safer. "We found 42 incidents of sexual molestations, rapes in day cares," said Phillips. "We couldn't find (in South Carolina in the last 20 years) a single abduction in a park."
        Philips blames people in my business for scaring people about the wrong things. "The media has brought up this 'stranger danger' to where, if you're not under the protective wings of mom and dad 24/7, then you're exposing your child to some unknown danger."
        That has frightened police and child welfare workers into taking absurd steps when parents leave children alone.
        In Maryland, police accused parents of child neglect for letting their kids roam around their neighborhood.
        In Kentucky, after police reported a mom who left her kids in the car while she dashed into a store, child welfare workers strip-searched the kids to make sure they weren't being abused.
        This doesn't protect kids. It mostly scares parents into depriving their kids of chances to learn. "When you don't let them spread their wings, that's when they get in trouble!" says Debra.
        She was fortunate that her case got enough attention that even Nikki Haley, then South Carolina's governor, asked that Regina be given back to her mom.
        Prosecutors finally dropped the child abandonment charge.
        It's just not right that when stranger kidnappings are increasingly rare, police and child welfare workers are more eager to punish parents who let kids play on their own.
        "A Utah law guarantees that giving kids some reasonable independence isn't 'neglect,'" says Lenore Skenazy, of the nonprofit Let Grow, "More states need this!"
        Of course, some parents are so neglectful that government should intervene.
        But as lawyer Phillips put it, they should intervene "only if you are subjecting your child to a real harm. We should not have unreasonable intrusions by the government telling us every little detail how to raise our children."
        John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2020 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

 

by Walter E. Williams

       Here are a few headlines about an African tragedy: "Africa's Worst Locust Plague in Decades Threatens Millions" (The Wall Street Journal), "'Unprecedented' Locust Invasion Approaches Full-Blown Crisis" (Scientific American), "Somalia Declares Locust Outbreak a 'National Emergency'" (The National) and "UN Calls for International Action on East Africa Locust Outbreak" (Bloomberg Green). This ongoing tragedy is mostly man-made, according to an analysis by Paul Driessen, who is a senior policy adviser with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise.
        Driessen says that billions of desert locusts have attacked the eastern Africa nations of Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia. According to the U.N., the locust attack in Kenya is the worst in 70 years and the worst in 25 years for other east African nations. Locusts are destroying crops and threatening tens of millions of Africans with lost livelihoods and starvation. These locust swarms can blanket 460 square miles at a time and consume more than 400 million pounds of vegetation daily. They reproduce fast, too, meaning locust swarms could be 500 times bigger in six months.
        Africa's locust plague is man-made. Economic development organizations and activist nongovernmental organizations have foisted "agroecology" on the poorest nations -- an organic-style agriculture. They promote the virtues of peasant farming. So how do these poor farmers fight the locust plague? Driessen says: "Desperate Africans are responding with 'time-tested' methods: whistling and shouting loudly, banging on metal buckets, waving blankets and sticks, crushing the bugs perhaps even roasting and eating them, under UN-approved nutrition programs. In Eritrea, they are using 'more advanced' methods: hand-held and truck-mounted sprayers. In Kenya, police are firing machine guns and tear gas into the swarms!"
        Antonio Guterres of Portugal, the U.N. secretary-general, claimed global warming as a cause of the problem. He said there is a link between climate change and the unprecedented locust crisis plaguing Ethiopia and East Africa. Guterres said: "Warmer seas mean more cyclones generating the perfect breeding ground for locusts. Today the swarms are as big as major cities and it is getting worse by the day."
        Guterres' suggestion that global warming is the cause of today's plague is sheer nonsense. Locust infestations have been feared and revered throughout mankind's history. Devastating locust attacks in Egypt around 1446 B.C. were mentioned in the Book of Exodus in the Bible. "The Iliad" describes locusts taking flight to escape fire. Plagues of locusts are also mentioned in the Quran.
        Driessen concludes: "A primary reason this plague of locusts has overwhelmed East Africa -- indeed, perhaps THE primary reason -- is that the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, other UN agencies and multiple environmentalist NGOs have been extolling and imposing 'agroecology' on Africa. This highly politicized 'movement' rabidly opposes hybrid seeds, synthetic insecticides and fertilizers, biotechnology, and even mechanized equipment like tractors! Acceptance of its tenets and restrictions has become a condition for poor farmers getting seeds and other assistance, and their countries and local communities getting development loans and food aid."
        By the way, locusts are not only a threat to crops; they threaten people in another way. In early January, a Boeing 737 on final landing approach to Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, found itself in the midst of a massive cloud of locusts swarming above the airport. The insects were sucked into the plane's engines. Their bodies were splattered across the windshield blinding the pilots to the runway ahead. The Boeing 737 climbed above the swarm. The pilot depressurized the cabin so he could open the side window and reach around to clear the windshield by hand. Diverting to Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, the pilot was able to land the plane safely.
        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 www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
by Walter E. Williams

        Before former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg threw his hat into the 2020 presidential race, he defended the New York Police Department's use of "stop, question and frisk" policing. At a United States Naval Academy's 2019 Leadership Conference, Bloomberg said, "We focused on keeping kids from going through the correctional system ... kids who walked around looking like they might have a gun, remove the gun from their pockets and stop it." He claimed that as a result of his policy, New York's murder rate fell from 650 a year to 300 the year he left office.
        In the cases of Terry v. Ohio, Sibron v. New York, and Peters v. New York, the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1968, granted limited approval to officers to stop, question and frisk, even though they lacked probable cause for an arrest, if the officer believed the subject to be dangerous. The Court's decision made suspicion of danger to an officer grounds for a "reasonable search."
        The stop, question and frisk policy has taken on racial overtones because most of the people stopped are black men. Let's look at the numbers. Last year, NYPD data showed that 93% of suspects arrested for murder were black or Hispanic. Ninety-six percent of those nabbed in shootings were also minorities. Eighty-eight percent of New York City's homicide victims were black or Hispanic as were 96% of shooting victims. While these percentages have been roughly the same for decades, New York police have brought the absolute number of crimes, including homicides, way down from its 1990 peak at 2,245 to 289 homicides in 2018. Since blacks and Hispanics are the major victims of homicide, as a result of the NYPD's proactive response to crime, possibly tens of thousands of blacks are living today who would otherwise be dead.
        For a law-abiding black person to be stopped, questioned and frisked -- in a word or two, be racially profiled -- is truly insulting. However, to analyze the policy, let's look at the origins of racial profiling or any other kind of profiling. First of all, policemen are neither mind readers nor are they equipped with X-ray vision. That means good policing requires learning how to use an easily observed physical characteristic as a guess or proxy for some other difficult-to-observe characteristic. Thus, the reason people profile is that information is costly and they seek methods to economize on information costs. One way to do that is through profiling.
        The reality is that race and other behavioral characteristics are correlated, including criminal behavior. That fact does not dispel the insult, embarrassment, anger and hurt a law-abiding black person might feel when being stopped by police, being watched in stores, being passed by taxi drivers, standing at traffic lights and hearing car door locks activated or being refused delivery by merchants who fear for their safety in his neighborhood.
        Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a politician in pursuit of his own agenda. President Donald Trump is also a politician in pursuit of his own agenda. Both will deny their support for and talk down the policy of stop, question and frisk in an effort to curry favor with black voters. Most Bloomberg and Trump supporters don't live under the horrible conditions that so many blacks live under in high crime cities like Baltimore, St. Louis, Chicago and Detroit. Black people must ask what needs to be done to stop criminals from preying on them and making so many of their communities economic wastelands. If stop, question and frisk can contribute to that goal, so be it. They need not listen to politicians, academics, talking heads on the news and others.
        I'll add that even if the police, intimidated by leftists, are not doing their job to safeguard black residents in high crime communities, that doesn't mean that black people should not organize to take independent measures to protect themselves.
        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 www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

 

by John Stossel

       Good for Mike Bloomberg.
        During his first debate, he slammed Bernie Sanders by saying: "We're not going to throw out capitalism. We tried that. Other countries tried that. It was called communism, and it just didn't work!"
        Exactly right. It's safe to say Bloomberg is not a communist. I wonder if that means there's still room for him in the Democratic Party.
        Unfortunately, Bloomberg is no principled, limited-government capitalist, either.
        Like his fellow New York billionaire Donald Trump, he's used to getting his own way at his own company.
        Unfortunately, he assumes government should function in a similar fashion.
        Instead of a predictable governing philosophy, Bloomberg has whims -- lots of them.
        The Media Research Center's Craig Bannister tallied "32 Bloomberg Bans" (some were overturned).
        While he was mayor of New York City, Bloomberg targeted smoking, flavored tobacco products, fattening sodas, cars on certain Manhattan streets, loud music, grass clippings, cellphones in schools, salt, guns, Styrofoam, restaurant menus without calorie counts and restaurants without extra bathrooms for women.
        When challenged about how his ban on big soft drinks inconvenienced consumers, Bloomberg contemptuously replied that you could always buy two smaller containers.
        "Could be that it's a little less convenient to have to carry two 16-ounce drinks to your seat(, but) I don't think you can make the case that we're taking things away."
        But he was taking something away -- freedom of choice. It's hard to do what we choose if nannies like Bloomberg control parts of our private lives.
        During his tenure as mayor, police expanded crowd-control cordons at public events like parades and marathons.
        Now, it's harder to see the parade. And sometimes, to cross one street, you have to walk a long way.
        If Bloomberg ends up in the White House, he'd bring his nanny approach to the whole planet.
        Still, in my state's primary, I'll vote for him over Bernie Sanders.
        He knows how to manage people. He was a pretty good mayor of my city, much better than the political hack we have now. He sometimes even cut spending to pull the city out of debt.
        He criticizes some of the Democrats' ruinously expensive proposals, saying "Medicare for All" "would bankrupt us!"
        He recognizes the value of work. "In America, we want people to work... to set the alarm clock and punch the time clock. That's what America's all about."
        Unfortunately, now that Bloomberg's a Democrat, he says "the free market is not always perfect," and he wants paid family leave, a higher minimum wage and higher taxes.
        Although he criticized the "Green New Deal" as "pie in the sky," now Bloomberg has his own expensive "solutions." He would cut greenhouse gases by half by doing things like banning new natural gas plants. There's no way to do that without making it much harder for people to heat their homes and buy gasoline.
        He spends millions pushing more gun control while issuing groveling apologies for tough-on-crime programs he once believed in.
        Five years ago, he bragged about putting "a lot of cops... where the crime is, which means in the minority neighborhoods."
        Now he apologizes "for the pain that (statement) caused."
        But it was accurate, and most of his policies made life better for people in minority neighborhoods.
        Bloomberg thinks he can have it both ways, being a Republican or a Democrat depending on which is most convenient for his ambition -- and his autocratic tendencies.
        That leads him to admire places like China, where dissent is not allowed. As CEO, he was quick to cooperate with the Chinese government.
        Sociologist Leta Hong Fincher writes how Bloomberg's company tried to ruin her financially when she tweeted about corruption in Beijing. Her husband had a nondisclosure agreement with Bloomberg. That meant the company could stop him -- not her -- from saying anything that might upset Chinese Communist authorities.
        Bloomberg's love of power even led him to get a special exception to New York City's term limits on mayors. He got the city council to let him run for a third term -- not all future mayors, just Bloomberg.
        Trump jokes about running for a third term, but Mike actually did it.
        Bloomberg, unfortunately, is yet another unprincipled power-hungry political egomaniac.
        I think Nanny Bloomberg has given enough orders for one lifetime.
        John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2020 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
by Walter E. Williams

    A recent Pew Research Center survey finds that only half of American adults think colleges and universities are having a positive effect on our nation. The leftward political bias, held by faculty members affiliated with the Democratic Party, at most institutions of higher education explains a lot of that disappointment. Professors Mitchell Langbert and Sean Stevens document this bias in "Partisan Registration and Contributions of Faculty in Flagship Colleges."
    Langbert and Stevens conducted a new study of the political affiliation of 12,372 professors in the two leading private and two leading public colleges in 31 states. For party registration, they found a Democratic to Republican (D:R) ratio of 8.5:1, which varied by rank of institution and region. For donations to political candidates (using the Federal Election Commission database), they found a D:R ratio of 95:1, with only 22 Republican donors, compared with 2,081 Democratic donors.
    Several consistent findings have emerged from Langbert and Stevens' study. The ratio of faculty who identify as or are registered as Democratic versus Republican almost always favors the Democratic Party. Democratic professors outnumber their Republican counterparts most in the humanities and social sciences, compared with the natural sciences and engineering. The ratio is 42:1 in anthropology, 27:1 in sociology and 27:1 in English. In the social sciences, Democratic registered faculty outnumber their Republican counterparts the least in economics 3:1. The partisan political slant is most extreme at the most highly rated institutions.
    The leftist bias at our colleges and universities has many harmful effects. Let's look at a few. At University of California, Davis, last month, a mathematics professor faced considerable backlash over her opposition to the requirement for faculty "diversity statements." University of California, San Diego, requires job applicants to admit to the "barriers" preventing women and minorities from full participation in campus life. At American University, a history professor recently wrote a book in which he advocates repealing the Second Amendment. A Rutgers University professor said, "Watching the Iowa Caucus is a sickening display of the over-representation of whiteness." University of California, Berkeley, professor and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich chimed in to say: "Think about this: Iowa is 90.7% white. Iowa is now the only state with a lifetime voting ban for people with a felony conviction. Black people make up 4% of Iowa's population but 26% of the prison pop!
ulation. How is this representative of our electorate?" A Williams College professor said he would advocate for social justice to be included in math textbooks. Students at Wayne State University no longer have to take a single math course to graduate; however, they may soon be required to take a diversity course.
    Then there's a question about loyalty to our nation. Charles Lieber, former chairman of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard, was arrested earlier this year on accusations that he made a materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statement about work he did for a program run by the Chinese government that seeks to lure American talent to China. He was paid $50,000 a month and up to $158,000 in living expenses for his work, which involved cultivating young teachers and students, according to court documents. According to the Department of Justice, Lieber helped China "cultivate high-level scientific talent in furtherance of China's scientific development, economic prosperity and national security."
    It's not just Harvard professors. Newly found court records reveal that Emory University neuroscientist Li Xiao-Jiang was fired in late 2019 after being charged with lying about his own ties to China. Li was part of the same Chinese program as Lieber. A jury found a University of California, Los Angeles, professor guilty of exporting stolen U.S. military technology to China. Newsweek reported that he was convicted June 26 on 18 federal charges. Meanwhile, NBC reported that federal prosecutors say that University of Texas professor Bo Mao attempted to steal U.S. technology by using his position as a professor to obtain access to protected circuitry and then handing it over to the Chinese telecommunications giant, Huawei.
    The true tragedy is that so many Americans are blind to the fact that today's colleges and universities pose a threat on several fronts to the well-being of our nation.
    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 www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM