Archive for February, 2012

Jared Polis Unimpressed By Colorado’s New Top Drug Cop

Posted by on Feb 29 2012 | boulder, congress, Drug Policy, federalism, PPC, War on Drugs

The Denver Post’s crime blog, cleverly called The Rap Sheet yesterday introduced readers to the new chief of the Denver office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Colorado Congressman Jared Polis, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee is, to say the least, unimpressed with Colorado’s new head federal drug warrior. Here’s what Jared has to say on his facebook page:

There are so many things wrong with (new regional Drug Enforcement Agency Director) Agent Roach’s approach in today’s Denver Post article. I’ll call her soon to discuss my concerns. Let me know yours. In this article she manages to insult not just my hometown of Boulder but our state Capital of Denver and so many other cities in Colorado: “Right now, she is choosing a city for her husband and two children to live in where no marijuana dispensaries are allowed.”

Her choice of where to live in our state is absolutely her own decision (though I question her judgment, she is entitled to her decision) but to publicly state shortly after arriving in a state that living in our premier city and many of our great towns is outright unacceptable to you is nothing short of an affront to our entire state.

As for her judgment, why should it matter if there is a dispensary across town? I mean, by all means don’t get a place next to a dispensary if you dislike them so intensely, but who cares if there is one somewhere else in town? Personally as a father, I would much rather have a well-regulated dispensary as a neighbor than a seedy liquor store, but neither one would absolutely disqualify an otherwise perfect place to live with good schools and a safe neighborhood.

Then Agent Roach just gets, well, weird: “People are not taking into account what can happen to those who are growing it (marijuana). There are homes with mold and water damage in the hundreds of thousands.” Oh my. That’s just a very strange thing to say. No doubt that some idiots have flooded their basements growing marijuana. No doubt that some idiots have flooded their basements growing tomatoes. I stained my tiles in my living room last year growing narcissus. Ok. So for this we need a federal cop busting people?

I mean, if you are dumb enough to flood your basement or create hundreds of thousands of dollars of mold damage, that is entirely your own fault and federal law enforcement should NOT be in the business of preventing you from ruining your basement. The fact that an opponent of medical marijuana uses arguments like “it causes water damage to homes” shows how bankrupt that side is of facts.

I truly wish Agent Roach well. In her defense, she’s a cop not a public speaker or public relations person, but I hope she is more careful with her words in the future.

She concludes that her goal is to “focus on dismantling the “top echelon” of drug organizations.” And “to strive for the large drug trafficking organizations – not just domestically, but internationally.”

On this, I wish her well. Ironically, Colorado’s legalized and regulated marijuana industry has probably done more damage to large drug trafficking organizations than her work will ever accomplish, but I certainly wish her well in her efforts unless she starts raiding legal Colorado businesses who are abiding by our laws.

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Remote gun detectors

Posted by on Feb 29 2012 | Fourth Amendment, guns, Right to carry

A few weeks ago, the New York Times reported that the NY Police Department was working with the Department of Defense on a remote firearms detector. According to the article, the detectors are  presently effective at a 3 to 5 meter range at finding guns that are being carried concealed. The objective is to improve the detectors so that they work from a distance of 25 meters.

Commentators, what do you think of this? Does is raise Fourth Amendment concerns? Second Amendment issues? Any other constitutional or policy questions?

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To All Our Fallen, Wooden Brethren

Posted by on Feb 28 2012 | boulder, PPC

Quick update from my sensible hometown of Boulder. I haven’t seen such grieving since the great prairie dog massacre of 1998.

For those of you who wanted to know what a memorial service for a tree looks like, ENJOY!

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Independence Institute Writers In The News

Posted by on Feb 27 2012 | education, Health Care, PPC, privacy

Freeing Colorado’s cottage food entrepreneurs, medical privacy snatching bureaucrats, and new teacher effectiveness evaluations are all topics of recently published opinion pieces by Independence Institute writers.

In the Denver Post, Krista Kafer explains that lawmakers have an opportunity to pass “one sweet piece” of cottage foods legislation. Writes Krista:

Commendably, two Colorado legislators, Sen. Gail Schwartz and Rep. Laura Bradford have advanced bills through their respective chambers to allow cottage food commerce. In order to allow Coloradans the greatest freedom to buy and sell homemade wares, the legislature should send a bill to the governor that contains the strengths of both bills.

Read the whole sweet thing here.

In the Colorado Springs Gazette, Linda Gorman and Amy Oliver Cooke make the case for repealing Colorado’s medical privacy snatching All Claims Payer Database. According to Linda and Amy:

Colorado officials have no business forcing people to choose between medical care and exposing their personal lives to hackers, busybody bureaucrats, and commercial interests. Nor do they have any business increasing the cost of health care by requiring those who pay for their own health care to participate in the latest database boondoggle.

Read all about it here.

In the Summit Daily, Ben DeGrow gives a thumbs-up to the recently passed educator effectiveness evaluation law, Colorado’s House Bill 1001.

While the process may be moving forward more slowly than many would like, positive steps have been taken. Teachers will have to earn and keep tenure protections by demonstrating effectiveness, and seniority no longer can trump performance as a factor in lay-offs. Principals as instructional leaders will share accountability with classroom teachers for promoting student growth, which must make up at least half of educator evaluations.

Read the whole thing here.

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Reason’s Nick Gillespie on the Rise of the Independent Voter

Posted by on Feb 25 2012 | Idiot Box (TV Show), PPC

Reason.com and Reason TV editor Nick Gillespie (and the infamous black leather jacket) joined me on my show last night, just in case you missed him at our annual Founders’ Night dinner last Thursday.

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Nick Gillespie On Devil’s Advocate Tonight

Posted by on Feb 24 2012 | Idiot Box (TV Show), PPC

Friday night means the Independence Institute’s public affairs television show Devil’s Advocate. Tonight is a can’t miss show as host Jon Caldara is joined by Reason.tv and Reason.com executive editor Nick Gillespie to talk about his new book (co-authored with Reason Magazine editor Matt Welch) “The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong With America.” That’s tonight at 8:30 p.m. on Colorado Public Television 12. Re-broadcast Monday at 1:30 p.m.

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Last 2 Devil’s Advocate Episodes

Posted by on Feb 23 2012 | Idiot Box (TV Show), PPC

Syndicated columnist Jay Ambrose sits down to talk about the GOP primaries and who, if anyone, can beat Obama in 2012.

Former Westword editorial cartoonist Kenny Be drops in to chat about cartooning with me!

And the latest episode that aired this past Friday night features Fox 31 reporter Eli Stokols and Denver Post reporter Lynn Bartels on what the heck is going on down there at the statehouse.

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II’s Education Experts: House Bill 1146 “Worthy Of Support”

Posted by on Feb 18 2012 | education, PPC

From the Independence Institute’s Education Policy Center comes this about a bill aimed at helping high school dropouts and kids at risk for dropping out in Colorado:

Earlier this week the House Education Committee approved House Bill 1146, which would ensure that the “Dropout Recovery Concurrent Enrollment Program” can continue to serve a small group of Colorado’s at-risk high school students. Some people had expressed concerns about the original fiscal note that showed the bill would raise the burden on taxpayers.

However, the legislation only makes another opportunity available to youths who otherwise would not have their educational needs served and could end up as a burden on society as high-school dropouts. We know that the traditional public school setting does not meet the needs of every child.

Under the amended version of HB 1146, per-pupil revenue (PPR) will follow students, allowing them to “complete their high school diploma while simultaneously earning credits toward an associate’s degree or certificate at their local community college.”

The “Dropout Recovery Concurrent Enrollment Program” allowed by HB 1146 will provide an option for students who for various reasons are at risk of dropping out of school or who have already dropped out. Since only PPR will be used to pay for the program, there will be no additional cost to the state. The furtherance of such an educational program is worthy of support.

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Fox 31, Denver Post Reporters On Devil’s Advocate Tonight

Posted by on Feb 17 2012 | Capitol Crazies, Idiot Box (TV Show), Politics, PPC

Who needs a love life when you have Friday night public affairs television with the Independence Institute. On tonight’s Devil’s Advocate, Fox 31 political reporter Eli Stokols and Denver Post reporter Lynn Bartels join host Jon Caldara for a Colorado legislative session update from the reporters who cover the statehouse beat. That’s tonight at 8:30 p.m. on Colorado Public Television 12. Re-broadcast Monday at 1:30 p.m.

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This First Amendment Defense Fails

Posted by on Feb 14 2012 | Constitutional Amendments, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, First Amendment, Health Care, health control law, obamacare, PPC, U.S. Constitution

The religious and conservatives among us might not want to hear this, but I think it’s important to point out. Our Constitutional scholar Rob Natelson just wrote on the contraceptives and Catholic Church controversy. Many are making a First Amendment case against the Obamacare mandate forcing the church to provide products and services they find immoral. After all, the First Amendment protects religious freedom. However, Rob disagrees with this particular defense. He writes,

Does the mandate forcing Catholic hospitals to offer abortifacients and contraception violate the First Amendment? The surprising answer is: Probably not.

Read Rob’s constitutional arguments on his blog. You might be surprised to see that not all religious refuge can be taken in the First Amendment. A big thanks goes out to Rob for being true to objective constitutional scholarship – even if it means not giving an answer people want to hear.

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