Sunday, July 16, 2017

28.4 - For the Record: Yemen, GOPpers and education, Nevada marijuana, Belgium's niqab ban, and voter ID

For the Record: Yemen, GOPpers and education, Nevada marijuana, Belgium's niqab ban, and voter ID

Finally for this week, we have an occasional feature called For the Record, where we cover several items briefly just to make sure they do not pass unnoted.

So first up, For the Record: A quick follow-up on last week's Outrage of the Week about Yemen is that according to the Red Cross, the number of cholera cases there has surpassed 300,000.

For the Record: According to a new poll by Pew Research, a majority of GOPpers now maintain that colleges and universities are bad for America, that they, in the words of the poll question, are "having a negative effect on the way things are going in the country these days." 58% of those polled felt that way, an increase of 21 percentage points since 2015 as they adjust their brains to get in tune with the age of TheRump.

For the Record: On July 7, Governor Brian Sandoval of Nevada issued a "statement of emergency." You see, recreational marijuana became legal in Nevada on July 1 and retailers already were running out of stock to sell.

Turns out the problem was a legal snafu because the places that are licensed to sell recreational marijuana don't have the authority to restock their inventory on their own but must obtain it through alcohol wholesalers licensed to be distributors - and no such licenses had been issued.

The statement of emergency allows for a wider range of applicants for the distribution licenses than just those alcohol retailers.

A quick sidebar: One of the objections to legalized marijuana is that the areas around retailers would be magnets for crime.

But according to a new study out of the University of California at Irvine, when Los Angeles used new regulations to close down 439 medical marijuana dispensaries in 2010, crime in the those immediate areas rose 12% while crime in the areas around the dispensaries allowed to remain open was unchanged. That echoed a finding from Denver, where the Police Department saw that through the first nine months of 2010, crime was down 8.2% from the previous year after a dispensary was opened in the neighborhood.

For the Record: In what I find a rather disturbing development, on July 11 the European Court of Human Rights upheld a ban imposed in Belgium on wearing the full-face niqab veil in public. The court ruled that the restriction was for "social cohesion," the "protection of the rights and freedoms of others," and was "necessary in a democratic society."

A woman wearing the niqab
While I realize the niqab has for many become a symbol of the oppression of women under Islam, I still admit to being very uncomfortable with the idea that we can define for others what they will find oppressive and that "social cohesion" is "necessary," particularly when you consider what sorts of oppression such terms have justified in the past.

Finally for this week, For the Record: ProPublica has an interview with a former member of the Wisconsin legislature who now regrets his support for the voter suppression goals of Gov. Scott Walkalloveryou. Better late than never, I suppose, although regrets don't change the laws imposed and a better way to express regret would be to actively campaign to get those laws overturned.

I bring this up because voter ID and voter suppression have again become headlines in the wake of the demands of TheRump's so-called Presidential Advisory Commission On Election Integrity for all sorts of information about every registered voter in the US. I didn't address that this week because there are some other things as well going on about voter suppression and I want to address them together, which I will next week.

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