Ray Rice in one sentence

The Onion so nails this:

NFL Announces New Zero-Tolerance Policy On Videotaped Domestic Violence

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Photo of the day

From the Telegraph’s animal photos of the week.  Certainly the most dramatic photo I’ve seen of a goose:

Urban Wildlife Lee Acaster,“The Tourist”, Greylag Goose, London, England

The British Wildlife Photography Awards celebrates both the work of amateur and professional photographers who have captured the beauty and diversity of British wildlife. The winning picture ‘The Tourist’ (above) was taken by Lee Acaster. His image depicts a Greylag Goose in London. ‘It was a real privilege to have such a close encounter with a wild bird in the very heart of London,’ explains Lee Acaster. ‘I vividly remember the excitement I felt as she patiently waited for me to get the shot, and I knew immediately this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, I’m just grateful that she didn’t lose interest as quickly as my children do when I’m taking photographs of them.’Picture: Lee Acaster

 

Big local government

Great article by Jon Chait on how big local government represents the biggest threat to Americans’ freedom because of ideological blind spots on both the left and the right.  If you’ve been following the series of articles on the horrible government in Ferguson (police militarization aside) you have seen a great example of the problem.  And, as David Simon would point out, with the decline of newspapers, there’s just not enough accountability for local politicians.  Anyway, here’s some of the best parts, though I strongly recommend you read the whole thing:

The shame of it is Ferguson has exposed a genuine opening for thinking about public life in a way that cuts across traditional ideological lines. The problem is what you might call Big Small Government.

The town of Ferguson, while tiny in scale, is an Orwellian monstrosity. Its racially biased Police Department is the enforcement wing of a predatory system of government described in scathing detail in a recent report by ArchCity Defenders, a Missouri legal-aid nonprofit. The city’s white-dominated council governs a mostly black city, and its oppressive, biased justice system is an instrument of fiscal (in additional to social) domination. Court fines account for a fifth of the city’s revenue. Police officers disproportionately search black drivers, even though they disproportionately discover contraband among white ones. The city issues three warrants per household, and its draconian justice system appears designed to bleed its victims. The report notes, “A Ferguson court employee reported that the bench routinely starts hearing cases 30 minutes before the appointed time and then locks the doors to the building as early as five minutes after the official hour, a practice that could easily lead a defendant arriving even slightly late to receive an additional charge for failure to appear.” While arming these officers with Green Zone–style weaponry may restrict their ability to engage in humane policing, the deeper problem is that they simply don’t want to.

There are not many people who find their freedom so unjustly impaired by the government in Washington as the people of Ferguson are by their local government. And yet while Ferguson—an unusual city populated mostly by blacks and governed mostly by whites—lies somewhat outside the norm, it is hardly a freakish anomaly. Big Small Government is all around us. We simply haven’t trained our minds to notice it…

[Rand] Paul was expressing an almost axiomatic belief on the right that bad government equals big government, and big government equals centralized government. It is not that American conservatives consistently favor the expansion of state and local government, but merely that they see it as inherently superior to the federal version…

This has frequently left conservatives in the odd position of neglecting to tout powerful cases where their anti-government formula has a genuinely useful application…

Why do coastal states lack affordable housing? Because regulations prevent dense construction. City dwellers want to keep out new high-rises. Suburbanites keep out low-rise apartment buildings and townhouses. Housing regulations spread the housing supply too thin. Washington, D.C.’s commuter neighborhoods now extend into West Virginia.

Here is a genuine case of onerous regulation with dire economic consequences…

Liberals, who dominate the municipal governments responsible for restricting land use, have trouble conceiving of regulatory overreach as a legitimate public-policy issue. They are more often focused on what land-use regulation can do, like preserving historically significant buildings or small-scale neighborhoods that feel like urban villages. Zoning fights tend to fixate on the role of developers, who would, of course, make money by supplying needed housing, which makes them morally suspect.

Lots more good stuff in here, too.  I especially liked the part about how state legislatures:

The political scientist Steve Rogers recently studied state legislative elections and found something disheartening and, if you think about it, utterly unsurprising. Since 1910, state house elections almost perfectly track U.S. House elections. The correlation, to be precise about it, is 0.96. Which is to say virtually none of us—even those of us who bother to vote—form judgments of any kind regarding our state legislators. We respond to the national mood, which is shaped by our response to Washington, mainly the president, whose party we punish or reward depending upon national conditions. This means that state legislators operate almost entirely free of any practical accountability from their constituents.

I’m hoping for the remaining .04 to be the case here in NC this year, but it likely will not be (gerrymandering– it’s good stuff).  Anyway, it is frustrating to see that where there is generally bad government it is largely getting a pass from liberal and conservative politicians (though, not journalists, of late).  Would be great if the attention to government in Ferguson began to change things– but I’ll not be holding my breath for that.

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