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California community colleges are losing students

In Politics by Michael Rae

Despite an offer of free tuition, Californians are shying away from community colleges. Although public investments in two-year public institutions have animated many political leaders at the state and federal levels, it may be time for California’s 73 community college districts to downsize and adapt to an environment where there’s reduced demand for their services.

The COVID-19 pandemic and recession upended much of what we thought we knew about community college enrollment. Historically, when individuals become unemployed or find it more difficult to enter the job market, attending a community college has offered an opportunity to gain skills to improve their

Read more at Reason.org

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Annual Privatization Report 2022 — Surface Transportation

In Politics by Michael Rae

Part 1 Overview

Governments have used long-term public-private partnerships (P3s) for surface transportation projects for the past 60 years. As documented by José A. Gómez-Ibáñez and John Meyer, the phenomenon began in the 1950s and 1960s as France and Spain emulated the model pioneered by Italy prior to World War II.1 Italy’s national motorway systems were developed largely by investor-owned or state-owned companies operating under long-term franchises (called concessions in Europe). In exchange for the right to build, operate, and maintain the highway for a period ranging from 30 to 70 years, the company could raise the capital needed to

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Phone Searches at the Border: Bill S-7 Fails to Protect Privacy

In Rights by poladmin

A long-awaited attempt to amend the Customs Act signals a belated and half-hearted recognition by government that searching through the intimate details of our lives contained on our phone or laptop is not the same as digging through a box or suitcase holding a couple shirts and some socks. Bill S-7, which would amend the Customs Act and the Preclearance Act, 2016 (the “Acts”), was recently introduced in the Senate and will soon be sent to the Standing Committee on National Security and Defence for study.
The Bill was made necessary by a key judgement in the

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Applying the Charter Outside of Canada

In Rights by poladmin

Does the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms apply to the actions of law enforcement agencies when they are pursuing an investigation outside of Canada? That is the issue that will be before the Supreme Court of Canada on May 19, 2022 in McGregor v Her Majesty the Queen (SCC 39543). In that case, Corporal McGregor, a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, was being investigated by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) for alleged criminal violations. Although the CFNIS was doing the investigation and conducted a search of Cpl McGregor’s residence in the United

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My Thank You to David Theroux

In Analysis by Michael Rae

I was deeply saddened to hear that David Theroux recently passed away. Being a huge fan of the Independent Institute since college and someone who benefited from David’s encouragement and support for years, the loss is especially difficult.
I first met David shortly after getting my first academic job at San Jose State University in 2017. Knowing the Independent Institute was nearby, I sheepishly asked a mutual contact to see if David would meet with me. David graciously made time.
He asked me about my research after introducing me to much of his staff and giving me a tour of the building

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Conflicts of Interest at the National Institutes of Health

In Analysis by Michael Rae

On May 11, acting National Institutes of Health (NIH) director Lawrence Tabak conceded that $350 million in undisclosed royalty payments to Dr. Anthony Fauci, his deputy Clifford Lane, former NIH director Francis Collins, and hundreds of NIH employees presented “an appearance of a conflict of interest.” Tabak, deputy ethics counselor of NIH since 2010 and in 2009 acting principal deputy director, seemed unaware of developments at his own agency. 
Francis Collins received 14 royalty payments, Dr. Fauci 23 payments, and his deputy, Clifford Lane, eight payments, but the NIH heavily redacted the information. Adam Andrzejewski of Open the Books told reporters,

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Zelensky still wants to negotiate, Iran nuclear deal falters, deadly killing in West Bank and more

In Opinion by Michael Rae

UKRAINE UPDATE 
Last week’s Ukraine update emphasized some fundamental realities:

Reducing the risk of nuclear war means taking steps to end the Ukraine conflict.
Maximalist demands from the West take us further away from a negotiated settlement.
We need a conflict off-ramp for both Russia and Ukraine.

Unlike most mainstream media, the paywalled Financial

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Utah should abolish qualified immunity, implement the common law standard

In Politics by Michael Rae

Utah State Senator Wayne Harper introduced a resolution earlier this year supporting qualified immunity. While the resolution ultimately failed to pass, it made several misleading arguments that are commonly used to support the doctrine. These arguments mirror those made across the country by qualified immunity proponents, but are they accurate? The facts say otherwise.

Among the resolution’s most questionable statements was the assertion that “qualified immunity applies to public safety workers in narrow and well-defined circumstances.” Calling the circumstances in which qualified immunity applies narrow and well-defined is like calling Mount Everest a small hill. Qualified immunity prevents victims from holding

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Eliminating the cultivation tax would help California’s legal cannabis industry compete with the illicit market

In Politics by Michael Rae

It’s long been obvious that California’s high taxes were limiting the legal cannabis industry’s ability to compete with less expensive products on illicit markets. But now, as a growing number of cannabis farmers and licensed marijuana businesses warn that big parts of the state’s legal marijuana industry could collapse, it’s clear that California legislators need to remove some of the taxes and regulatory obstacles they’ve put in place. For starters, California should eliminate its cannabis cultivation tax.

No other agricultural good faces a cultivation tax similar to the one imposed on marijuana.  Eliminating the cultivation tax would allow farmers and licensed

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California’s high-speed rail line will share track with commuter rail, slowing trains and increasing accident risks

In Politics by Michael Rae

As confirmed by a new California High-Speed Rail Authority Environmental Impact Report (EIR), at least 91 miles of the 438-mile San Francisco to Los Angeles route will not be dedicated to high-speed rail but instead shared with commuter rail operators. 

According to the recent report and prior Environmental Impact Reports, the 77-mile portion of the system connecting San Francisco to Gilroy will be shared with Caltrain commuter service and the 14-mile portion connecting Los Angeles and Burbank will be shared with the region’s Metrolink trains. 

Although this “blended system” approach has long been discussed by those involved in the state’s high-speed rail

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How to make overdue reforms to the California Environmental Quality Act

In Politics by Michael Rae

It’s possible to argue that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) has done more to harm the lives of hard-working Californians than it has done to help the environment. The act has increased the costs of living and doing business in the state and is one of the reasons residents and employers flee to other states like Arizona and Texas.

Recently, and infamously, CEQA prevented the University of California-Berkeley from expanding because students would have had nowhere to live. In The New York Times, Ezra Klein wrote:

Zoom out from the specifics, though, and look at what it reveals about

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Over 100,000 died from drug overdoses in 2021 as public policy drives people to fentanyl

In Politics by Michael Rae

New data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) confirm that over 100,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2021, the highest level in American history. Various researchers and reporters have cited a plethora of causes, including people having less access to addiction treatment, higher levels of addiction due to “financial difficulties, mass unemployment, isolation, the fear and anxiety and uncertainty of the pandemic,” and insufficient distribution of naloxone during the pandemic. While all of these descriptions play a role in some overdose deaths, none of them are the driving cause of record overdoses. And accepting a false narrative

Read more at Reason.org