Today’s Links: December 5, 2011


RADLEY BALKO: “SWAT Raids, Stun Guns, and Pepper Spray: Why the Government is Ramping Up the Use of Force
“In February of last year, video surfaced of a marijuana raid in Columbia, Mo. During the raid on Jonathan Whitworth and his family, police took down the door with a battering ram, then shot and killed one of Whitworth’s dogs within seconds of entering the home and they wounded the other. They didn’t find enough pot in the home to charge Whitworth with even a misdemeanor. (He was, however, charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia when police found a pipe.) The disturbing video went viral in May 2010, triggering outrage around the world. On Fox News, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer and Bill O’Reilly cautioned not to judge the entire drug war by the video, which they characterized as an isolated incident.”

ROBERT H. FRANK: “Does Inequality Matter?
“Republicans have never wanted to talk about inequality, and many Democrats now seem afraid to. As a congressional Democratic adviser quoted by the New York Times reporter Jackie Calmes recently put it, the party is having difficulty articulating its position “in a way that doesn’t get us pegged as tax-and-spenders.'”

ARTHUR M. HAUPTMAN: “The Federal Role in Pricing
“Persistently rising college tuitions, high spending per student, and mounting student debt burdens have re-emerged as key issues in Washington. Secretary Arne Duncan has called on college and university officials to show more urgency in keeping down their prices and spending, the House subcommittee on postsecondary education has held another hearing to wring its hands about college unaffordability, and President Obama has now summoned a select group of college presidents and higher education thought leaders to consider what can be done.”


USPS – First Class Mail: Just a Little Bit S-l-o-w-e-r
“Already mocked by some as ‘snail mail,’ first-class U.S. mail will slow even more by next spring under plans by the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service to eliminate more than 250 processing centers.”

SECURITY – Power to Homes, Businesses Face Cyber Threat, MIT Finds
“The U.S. needs standards to guard against cyber attacks on power lines that run to homes and businesses, according to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology report.”