My friend Jonathan Stray put together an entirely fact-based FAQ on American gun violence for The Atlantic. Everybody can learn something from this. →
Basically it’s a net gain for Fluvanna Republicans. The good news is that Morton finally found that election fraud she was so concerned about. →
The Washington Institute for Public and International Affairs Research has analyzed the DNA from a sample of men convicted of sexual assault from 1973–1987 and found that somewhere between 8–15% of them were wrongly convicted (depending on how you count). This should result in some serious soul-searching about how the Virginia justice system works. →
Miami-Dade County, famously, has established laws that prohibit sex offenders from being within half a mile of a park, school, day care, or any place where children could hypothetically gather. In reality, that made it impossible for the city’s sex offenders to live anywhere at all, other than camping under the Julia Tuttle Causeway. (Until a few years ago, probation officers were instructing newly released prisoners to go live there.) It turned out there was another legal spot—a chunk of vacant, city-owned land—and a dozen sex offenders had started camping there, at the advice of probation officers, the men say. So the city established a “park” there—they plopped some rusty toys on the 100-by-40 foot parcel of land and declared it consequently off-limits to sex offenders. →
They knowingly, deliberately put an insecticide in their bird seed that would kill birds, and then covered it up from the government by faking documentation. →
Earlier this month, in the last few days of his term, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour pardoned five men, including four convicted murderers, who worked in his mansion. The AP FOIAed the records about their pardons and—darnedest thing—there aren’t any. The attorney general says that they’re nowhere to be found. This is headed to court in a couple of weeks. →
- New York Times: Nearly a Third of Americans Are Arrested by 23, Study Says
30.2% of us have been arrested for something more serious than a minor traffic violation. (I say "us," but I haven't been arrested.) As Sen. Webb points out, either Americans are the most evil people on the planet, or something is fundamentally wrong with our criminal justice system.
- AP: Tennessee home burns as firefighters watch
When a couple in rural Tennessee found their home on fire, they called 911 and got out. When the firefighters arrived, they stood and watched as the home burned to the ground. The couple couldn't afford the annual $75 firefighting subscription fee that the county charges, so the responding crew wasn't allowed to so much as turn on a hose.
- Maciej Cegłowski: Don’t Be A Free User
The developer of Pinboard explains the importance of relying on businesses that have a business model that involves actually making money. Comes with a handy chart. When I grow up, I want to be Maciej Cegłowski.
- Bloomberg: Koch Brothers Flout Law With Secret Iran Sales
The Koch Brothers have secretly, criminally sold millions of dollars of petrochemical equipment to Iran, an enemy of the United States with whom it is unquestionably illegal to do business. This is no aberration for these bastards—they're out for a buck, and they don't care how they get it.
- Commonwealth Data Point: Expenditures by Agency
Wondering what the state spends its money on? Here's the state's checkbook, by agency, so read to your heart's content. A warning: good luck with the weird menu system. Somebody apparently thought that rather than menu items, it would be fun to just give people a single letter to try to decipher. O? F? S? P? I don't get it.
- MSNBC: Bachmann condemns Arab Spring, blames it on Obama
If stupid were bricks, she'd have a lot of bricks.
- New York Times: Inmate Visits Now Carry Added Cost in Arizona
Want to visit inmates in Arizona prisons? That'll cost you $25. And it could be a couple of months before your application is approved. It would be difficult to list all of the reasons why this is an awful, awful idea.
- New York Times: Obama Moves Jobs Speech After Skirmish With Boehner
"The Senate Historical Office knows of no instance in which Congress refused the president permission to speak before a joint session of Congress."
- Cato Institute: Vouchers ARE Government Money, and That’s the Problem
"There is simply no way around the fact that vouchers are government funds, subject to whatever constitutional and statutory restrictions a state may place on their use." Yup.
- Wikipedia: The National Road
One of the first highways in the country was the aptly named "National Road," running from Cumberland, Maryland to south-central Illinois, the road was to continue clear to Missouri, but the project ran out of cash. Construction of the 620-mile road ran from 1811–1838, having been authorized five years prior by President Thomas Jefferson. Today it's U.S. Highway 40. (Fun fact: U.S. highways with numbers that end in a zero run clear across the country, or at least did at one time.)
- The Washington Post: Ubiquitous ‘tiny belly’ online ad part of scheme, government says
Must we all pretend to be shocked that these awful ads are a scam? The surprising thing is that so many people didn't know—enough that losses to this fraud may exceed $1B.