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Real public servants are free enterprising individuals who, inspired, embrace challenge, take risks, and create, sometimes big, and often, they create jobs in the process, all out of their ideas, and self initiative...

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Politics Of Public Sector Unions | CalWatchDog

Instead of paring back union benefits and rooting out various abuses, ranging from those double-dipping DROP programs (Defined Retirement Option Plan) to “airtime” benefits that allow employees to buy additional retirement credits at a fraction of the cost to the taxpayer, the state Legislature continues to, at best, nibble around the edges of reform and even in some cases expand benefits, in the case of those cancer and heart-attack presumptions for public safety workers. Once, when asked what it is he ultimately wants for his members, a union president retorted, “more.” But despite lean times – in a state where unemployment averages above 12 percent, and where those numbers often exceed 20 percent in rural locales – the unions continue to implement more aspects of their benefit-expanding agenda.
The Politics Of Public Sector Unions | CalWatchDog

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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


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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