Human beings need sleep. Homeless people are human beings. Therefore, homeless people need sleep and shouldn’t be banned from getting it in what is often the only place they can: outdoors. That’s the simple argument the Justice Department is making in a case out of Boise, Idaho, one of the many U.S. cities with inadequate shelter space that have nonetheless attempted to bar unhoused people from sleeping outside.
The Obama administration is changing some rules about how people can repay their student loans based on their income, to make that debt repayment somewhat less onerous for people whose incomes are low. Which is good. But not as good as it could be. As in many operations of our society, the lower class is helped less than the middle and upper classes. This happens often in the system of government we have designed. It is not a good system.
A new report from the New York Civil Liberties Union says that police in New York are "consistently misusing and overusing Tasers." The study of hundreds of taserings found that the majority of them "did not meet expert-recommended criteria;" that 15% were "clearly inappropriate" cases, such as shocking someone who was already handcuffed; and that only 15% of Tasering victims were armed when the police zapped them.
Yesterday the New York Times had an anthrax scare at its headquarters. White powder in an envelope! The lobby was closed. People were barred from the main elevators. Who knows how many grammatical errors were made by scared and distracted reporters? Turned out the white powder was "some kind of pebbles." You know what? All this irrational anthrax fear is going to have to stop. Think about it: A lone nut was able to effectively seal off the entire New York Times building—and get an entire floor evacuated—by filling up an envelope with some fish tank pebbles or something. The same thing happened to the Times a month after 9/11, and they evacuated the entire newsroom. Also, "since then, there have been several other cases of suspicious materials being sent to The Times. None turned out to be harmful." It doesn't take much extrapolation to figure out that you could cost the NYT millions of dollars over the course of a year with just a box of safety envelopes and two scoops of baking soda. (And the Times can't afford it!) And really, is anthrax still a thing? It takes an incredibly sophisticated scientist to produce weapons-grade anthrax, and we haven't had any real anthrax attacks since that one rash we had several years back. It's basically the skyscraper equivalent of being made to remove your shoes when you go on planes. One single dude ruined it for everyone. So our suggestion: If you receive some powder in the mail, calmly call the cops. Don't shut down the building. Don't evacuate everyone. A decent actuary will tell you that, hey, in the long run your odds are extremely good. And that's what the New York Times stands for: facts, statistics, and a life chained to a desk. Back to work! [We reserve the right to change our minds when we receive anthrax here.]