Trump motorcade driver detained by Secret Service after gun discovered

Source: Fox News

“The Secret Service said Monday it detained someone scheduled to drive a press van in President Trump’s motorcade in Florida after agents discovered a personal firearm during a security check. ‘All Secret Service security measures worked,’ the agency said in a statement, stressing that nobody under their protection was ever in any danger. The incident occurred Monday in Palm Beach, where Trump was spending Presidents Day at his resort. According to the agency, the unnamed individual was a ‘staff contracted driver’ who was found to be ‘in lawful possession of a prohibited item.’ It occurred outside the secure area at a Secret Service security screening checkpoint. The Secret Service said they investigated and resolved the incident with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. The agency said the driver was only detained briefly.” [editor’s note: Why was he detained at all? – TLK] (02/19/18)

Tech’s ethical dark side

Source: Notes on Liberty
by Rick Weber

“Far be it from me to tell people to avoid spending time considering ethics. But something seems a bit silly to me about all this. The ‘experts’ are trying to teach students the consequences of the complex interactions between the services they haven’t yet created and the world as it doesn’t yet exist. My inner cynic sees this ‘ethics of tech’ movement as a push to have software engineers become nanny-state-like social engineers. ‘First do no harm’ is not the right standard for tech (which isn’t to say ‘do harm’ is). Before 2016 Facebook and Twitter were praised for their positive contribution to the Arab Spring. After our dumb election the educated western elite threw up our hands and said, ‘it’s an ethical breach to reduce our power!’ Freedom is messy, and ‘do no harm’ privileges the status quo.” (02/19/18)

Congress sets sights on pretending it can regulate cryptocurrency

Source: Reuters

“Jolted by the global investment craze over bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, U.S. lawmakers are moving to consider new rules that could impose stricter federal oversight on the emerging asset class, several top lawmakers told Reuters. Bipartisan momentum is growing in the Senate and House of Representatives for action to address the risks posed by virtual currencies to investors and the financial system, they said. Even free-market Republican conservatives, normally wary of government red tape, said regulation could be needed if cryptocurrencies threaten the U.S. economy.” [editor’s note: Republican conservatives are seldom either “free-market” or “wary of government red tape.” At best they occasionally feign reluctance to seize the power they want to seize instead of publicly reveling in it like their Democratic counterparts – TLK] (02/19/18)

When school kids lose their recess time

Lenore Skenazy

Source: Reason
by Lenore Skenazy

“Most child development experts believe that kids need some unstructured run-around time during the day. The American Academy of Pediatrics has declared that ‘recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child’s development and, as such, it should not be withheld for punitive or academic reasons.’ And yet schools aren’t just shrinking the number of recess minutes per day in order to shoehorn in more class time and test prep: Many allow teachers to take away recess as a form of punishment. Long Island’s Patchogue-Medford School District is moving in the opposite direction. It has doubled the amount of lunch and recess time its students get from 40 to 80 minutes a day, with felicitous results: lower absenteeism and fewer disciplinary problems.” (for publication 03/18)

Peru: Fujimori ordered to stand trial again

Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“Peru’s ex-President Alberto Fujimori has been ordered to stand trial for the 1992 killings of six farmers. It comes just over a month after he was released from prison, where he was serving 25 years for human rights abuses and corruption. The former leader was given a pardon on health grounds but the court in Lima says this does not apply to the new case. The court also wants to try 22 others for the death-squad killings. When current President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski granted the pardon, there were street protests, Fujimori is a deeply divisive figure in Peru, respected by some and reviled by others for his government’s crackdown on two violent insurgencies during his tenure from 1990-2000.” (02/19/18)

Trump is, in fact, taking on high drug prices

Source: Investors Business Daily
by staff

“Health reform advocates complain that President Trump’s budget doesn’t do enough to tackle high drug prices, which they say are rapidly driving up health costs. Neither claim, it turns out, is true. Concern about high drug prices are legion. But these stories often lack any context. The Los Angeles Times, for example, reported last week that prescription drug prices are slated to climb 6.3% a year, on average, over the next decade, which is faster than overall health spending. It goes on to say that drug prices are one of the ‘biggest drivers’ of health costs and this, in turn, has sparked ‘growing calls by Democrats for more government regulation of prices.’ But a look at the data the Times used actually tells a much different story. Despite all of the hue and cry about drug prices, prescription drugs account for slightly less than 10% of national health spending. That share is almost identical to where it was in 1960, when the array of drugs available was far more limited.” (02/19/18)

Punk Rock Libertarians Podcast, episode 149

Source: The Daily Liberator

“Parkland shooting and gun control, Philly DA drops marijuana charges, Bitcoin going up and more.” [various formats] (02/19/18)

DNA secrets of how vampire bats became bloodthirsty revealed

Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“DNA analysis is giving clues to how the vampire bat can survive on blood alone. The bat can drink up to half its weight in blood a day unlike other relatives, which dine on fruit, nectar or insects. Blood is low in nutrients and can harbour deadly viruses. Vampire bats have key differences in genes involved in immunity and food metabolism compared with other bats. The researchers say the bat’s gut microbes are also distinct. They found evidence of more than 280 types of bacteria in the bat’s droppings that would have made most other mammals unwell.” (02/19/18)

Church property cases and “neutral principles”

The Volokh Conspiracy

Source: The Volokh Conspiracy
by Samuel Bray

“The U.S. Supreme Court has just been asked to review a major church property decision. At issue is who owns the land and buildings of 29 formerly Episcopal parishes in South Carolina. Some of these parishes have had their property for a long time — one of these parishes dates back to 1680, about a century before the Episcopal Church even existed as an entity in the United Sates. But notwithstanding this history, and even though the local congregations hold title to all these properties, the South Carolina Supreme Court held 3-2 that all of the properties belong to the national denomination, the Episcopal Church. In other words, the court held that the local congregations didn’t really own their property, they just held it it in trust for the national denomination. What is at issue is much more than the property of these 29 parishes. The case raises a fundamental question about how the First Amendment interacts with church property cases.” (02/19/18)

Much ado about nothing on Mueller’s indictment

Source: Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G Hornberger

“I confess deep amusement at the enormous reaction of the U.S mainstream press to the 37-page federal grand-jury indictment that special prosecutor (and former FBI Director) Robert Mueller has secured against 13 Russians and three companies or, as the mainstream media puts it, against ‘Russia.’ Why am I so amused? One reason is how reporters and editorial boards of the mainstream press are treating the indictment — as solid evidence of guilt. From reading all of the mainstream reporting and commentaries on the indictment, you would think that ‘Russia’ had just been convicted of the heinous crime of ‘meddling’ in a U.S. presidential election. At the risk of raining on the anti-Russia parade, that’s pure nonsense.” (02/19/18)