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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pro-union study twists stats, takes public for saps

By: Steven Greenhut
Special to The Examiner
October 24, 2010

California’s public employee unions have taken the public for suckers for years, so it’s understandable they now think they can play us for fools.

A study released Monday by a think tank that specializes in pro-union advocacy purports to show that public employees receive less total compensation than their counterparts in the private sector. Unfortunately, the study is being depicted in the media as a serious analysis that debunks public hysteria about overpaid and over-pensioned public employees in cities such as Bell. But it’s nothing of the sort.

“This is the kind of paper where they started with a conclusion and tailored the research around it,” said my Pacific Research Institute colleague Jason Clemens, an economist who directs PRI’s research efforts. Basically, the researchers took the total wages in the public and private sectors, averaged it out and then adjusted for educational levels and several other factors.

The researchers didn’t look at, say, a private sector janitor with a set amount of experience and compare his total compensation package to a similarly skilled janitor in the public sector. “Instead, the study relied on education levels —- ‘the single most important earnings predictor’ —- and other factors widely found to affect compensation levels, such as gender, race, ethnicity and disability, to compare the two sectors,” reported the San Francisco Chronicle. They also adjusted for average employee age.

How anyone could report that without noting that such an approach is bogus, is beyond my comprehension. Click here to read the rest of the article at the SF Examiner website or you canClick here to read the article at CalWatchDog.com.

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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database

Key

Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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