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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Unions Spend Big, Win Big in California :: Fox&Hounds

Unions Spend Big, Win Big in California : Fox&Hounds

The idealistic hope that California voters would keep a firm grasp on their wallets, thus forcing the state to rein in pay and other costs, was a pipedream. Californians, who typically vote “no” when it comes to initiatives that directly increase taxes, gave Governor Jerry Brown’s income- and sales- tax boost (Proposition 30) a surprisingly decisive win, with nearly 54 percent of the vote.
The governor embraced modest pension changes and vetoed union-backed spending measures only at the last minute of the legislative session as a way to convince voters that he was serious about reform and that they should vote for 30. With new money  coming into the state coffers, there will be little impetus to rein in spending — at least until the Democratic- dominated Legislature blows the new money.

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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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