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Police: Man Stole Brains from Museum, Sold Them on Ebay for Cash

inimanstealsbrains

Bill McCleery  reports:  The details sound like the plot of a bad horror movie: Desperate for cash, a young man breaks into a warehouse to steal the brains of dead mental patients, and the body parts are later sold on eBay.

This story line, however, is real.

Authorities say David Charles, a 21-year-old Indianapolis resident, is accused of breaking into the Indiana Medical History Museum multiple times this year and stealing jars of human brain tissue and other preserved material. A tipster who paid hundreds of dollars on the online auction site helped bring the organ entrepreneurism to an end.

The museum, 3045 W. Vermont St., is the site of the former Central State Hospital, which served patients with psychiatric and mental disorders from 1848 to 1994. Indianapolis police had investigated several break-ins at the museum’s storage facility before a California phone call led police to Charles.

A San Diego man who had bought six jars of human brain tissue off eBay for $600, plus $70 shipping, called the museum after noticing labels on the containers and suspecting some kind of skulduggery, according to court documents.

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Health Reform Will Not Cut Emergency Room Visits

emergency-roomJohn Sexton writes:  One of President Obama’s constant refrains during the battle over health reform has been that expanding coverage would reduce inefficiency in the system. In particular, he often cited expensive expensive emergency room visits as something that reform could help reduce. But it turns out, Obamacare, like Romneycare before it, is likely to increase emergency visits, maybe substantially.

MIT News reports on a newly published Harvard study of Medicaid users in Oregon:

Adults who are covered by Medicaid use emergency rooms 40 percent more than those in similar circumstances who do not have health insurance, according to a unique new study, co-authored by an MIT economist, that sheds empirical light on the inner workings of health care in the U.S.

Emergency room visits are many times more expensive than primary care visits for similar treatment. This is why, both before and after health reform was passed, politicians cited reducing emergency room visits as a reason the law was a good idea.

Wonkblog cites two examples today, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and HHS Secretary Sebelius who said back in 2009 “Our health care system has forced too many uninsured Americans to depend on the emergency room for the care they need.”

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8 Things Liberals Do to Avoid Having an Honest Debate – Broken Down to a Science

From  :  We’ve all been there: Stuck in a hopelessly circular argument with a liberal who won’t get to the point, acknowledge basic facts even exist, or get past juvenile name-calling in debates. It can be really frustrating.

One thing people can do to fight back is just to code all the non-responses to logical or rational arguments. Cryptically flipping back “Give me a break with that number 5 nonsense” or “Man, number 3, again?” can really humiliate people whose stupidity is broken down to a science.

So with no further adieu, here is your Rosetta Stone of Liberal Rhetoric (and it can be done with less-than-bright members of other political persuasions).

1. Ad Hominem (Name-Calling aka “You’re a Racist!” etc.)

2. Distracting (aka “Pivoting” aka “Changing the Subject”)

3. Somebody Else Did It Before (aka Two Wrongs Make a Right)

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Independent Journal Review


[VIDEO] Dr. Monica Wehby’s Campaign Challenge: ‘Keep your Doctor, Change Your Senator’

From HotAir‘s Guy Benson:  WaPo’s Chris Cillizza called this spot running against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen “the ad every Democrat should be scared of in 2014.”  Worry away, Jeff Merkley:

This web ad was produced by the campaign of Dr. Monica Wehby, a female medical doctor who’s a leading candidate to challenge Merkley in the fall.  Over-the-air commercials will need to be shorter, of course, but there’s obviously an avalanche of ammunition waiting to be unleashed.  As a phsyician, Wehby would occupy the high ground on Obamacare (which has been especially horrible in Oregon), and would make it rather difficult for Merkley to play the “war on women” card as demagogic plan B.

The Greenroom


Books: Pulp Paranoia

manfrommarsThe Man From Mars: Ray Palmer’s Amazing Pulp Journey, by Fred Nadis, Tarcher, 289 pages, $28.95.

  writes:  One winter day in 1943 an odd letter arrived at the offices of the sci-fi pulp magazine Amazing Stories. The author, a steelworker named Richard Shaver who had spent some time in mental institutions, claimed to have uncovered “an immensely important find”: the ancient alphabet of a “wiser race” that preceded humanity on Earth. An amused staffer read some entertainingly weird bits of the correspondence out loud, and dropped the document into the trash.

His boss immediately retrieved it. “You call yourself an editor?” he asked.

The man who salvaged and then published the papers was Ray Palmer, the Milwaukee-bred subject of Fred Nadis’s new biography The Man From Mars. Palmer’s editorial instincts turned out to be sound: Shaver’s letter may have been ludicrous, but it inspired a lot of reader interest. And it made Shaver a part of theAmazing Stories stable, an association that proved very profitable for Palmer’s magazine.

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Poll: Faith in Government? Not So Much

AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

WASHINGTON (AP) — Charles Babington and Jennifer Agiesta report:  Americans enter 2014 with a profoundly negative view of their government, expressing little hope that elected officials can or will solve the nation’s biggest problems, a new poll finds.

Half say America’s system of democracy needs either “a lot of changes” or a complete overhaul, according to the poll conducted by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Just 1 in 20 says it works well and needs no changes.

Americans, who have a reputation for optimism, have a sharply pessimistic take on their government after years of disappointment in Washington.

The percentage of Americans saying the nation is heading in the right direction hasn’t topped 50 in about a decade. In the new poll, 70 percent lack confidence in the government’s ability “to make progress on the important problems and issues facing the country in 2014.”

The poll comes about two months after partisan gridlock prompted the first government shutdown in 17 years.

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[VIDEO] Reality Check: 2014 Electorate More Likely to Be Angry About Obamacare than Happy

Goldberg: 2014 Electorate – NRO


Bound by Bad Precedent, Judge Rules Against Free Speech in Boston

jihad-ads-AFP

Pamela Geller  writes:  My organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) tried to place pro-Israel ads in Boston, countering anti-Israel ads that ran there. Our ad read, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.”

The ad was rejected, and we sued. Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Gorton ruled against us in our preliminary injunction against Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA). No surprise here, during our hearing Judge Gorton said that he did not have the authority to rule on matters out of his jurisdiction. Still, Gorton dropped the ball on the question of “reasonableness.”

This is Boston, after all, site of the most recent jihad bombing in America, so Gorton’s ruling is sad and regrettable. We will, of course, appeal.

A couple of weeks ago I headed to Boston to cover a hearing concerning our pro-Israel ads that had been barred from running by the MBTA. Such abusive violations of our freedoms have become catalysts for historical resistance and actions in the defense of freedom. And these dangerous restrictions on speech must be fought.

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[VIDEO] Legal Weed For Sale: First Customers Buy Pot for Recreational Use in Colorado

The world’s first state-licensed marijuana stores legally permitted to sell pot for purely recreational use to the general public have opened for business. In Denver, TV cameras and journalists filled Denver’s Discreet Dispensary, as the store’s first customer, Sean Azzariti, purchased a legal amount of marijuana. Azzariti, an Iraq war veteran, said he purchased the drug to alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Possession, cultivation and private personal consumption of marijuana by adults for the sake of just getting high has already been legal in Colorado for more than a year under a state constitutional amendment approved by voters. But as of Wednesday, cannabis was being legally produced, sold and taxed in a similar way to alcohol. Report by Mark Morris.

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Lost Generation

adoption

Adoption in America has collapsed; here’s what to do about it. 

Kevin D. Williamson  writes:  Adoption is an unexpectedly rare phenomenon in the United States, and that’s a supply-side problem. The United States is the third-most populous country in the world, and each year more than a third of our country’s 4 million births are to unmarried women, but it is estimated that in a typical year the total number of mothers who voluntarily relinquish their children for adoption is fewer than 14,000 — barely enough to make a statistical radar blip on the demographic Doppler. Would-be parents trek to the Far East and mount expeditions to South America because there are so few infants available for adoption in the United States.

At the same time, a half million children languish in foster care, awaiting permanent adoptive homes. There are would-be parents who want to adopt them, too, but this situation is more complex: Older children are less eagerly sought after, and the longer a child is in foster care the less likely he is to find a permanent home. The lot of these foster children has been made worse by years of bad public policy discouraging transracial adoptions — a significant barrier, since most of the couples looking to adopt are white and the children in foster care are disproportionately nonwhite. Supply and demand are wildly out of sync: If we were talking about consumer goods instead of children, we’d call this a market failure. And some of the most incisive critics of U.S. adoption policy are calling for reforms that would make adoption policies look a lot more like a market — that is, a system characterized by free and open cooperation — and a lot less like a welfare bureaucracy.

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Good News: Crack-smoking Mayor Seeking Reelection

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Caroline May  reports:  Buckle up, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has registered to run for another term.

Ford — who faced hot pressure to resign in 2013 due to his drug use and bizarre behavior — was the first person to register Thursday morning, according to CBC/Radio-Canada.

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Obama’s 2014 War on the Poor

obama-finger

More unemployment benefits and a higher minimum wage? Couldn’t be worse for struggling Americans

Michael Tanner  writes:  To put it in today’s standard D.C. terms, Democrats sure must hate poor people.

That’s silly, of course. But there’s no doubt that Democrats are preparing to push policies that are likely to hurt struggling low- and middle-income Americans.

Both the Obama administration and the Democratic leadership in Congress have announced that their top priority when Congress returns later this month will be extending unemployment benefits and raising the minimum wage. Both policies are likely to leave more Americans jobless — especially low-income workers with few skills, the very people Democrats claim they want to help most.

Take the extension of unemployment insurance. Labor economists may disagree on the extent to which unemployment benefits increase or extend spells of unemployment, but the fact that they increase the duration of unemployment and/or unemployment levels is not especially controversial. As Martin Feldstein and Daniel Altman have pointed out, “the most obvious and most thoroughly researched effect of the existing UI systems on unemployment is the increase in the duration of the unemployment spells.”

In fact, even Paul Krugman, in the days when he was an actual economist rather than a partisan polemicist, wrote in his economics textbook:

Public policy designed to help workers who lose their jobs can lead to structural unemployment as an unintended side effect. . . . In other countries, particularly in Europe, benefits are more generous and last longer. The drawback to this generosity is that it reduces a worker’s incentive to quickly find a new job. Generous unemployment benefits in some European countries are widely believed to be one of the main causes of “Eurosclerosis,” the persistent high unemployment that affects a number of European countries.

President Obama’s former Treasury secretary Larry Summers estimated in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics that “the existence of unemployment insurance almost doubles the number of unemployment spells lasting more than three months.”

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The Price of Political Ignorance: More Government

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Geroge F. Will writes:  It was naughty of Winston Churchill to say, if he really did, that “the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” Nevertheless, many voters’ paucity of information about politics and government, although arguably rational, raises awkward questions about concepts central to democratic theory, including consent, representation, public opinion, electoral mandates and officials’ accountability.

In “Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is Smarter” (Stanford University Press), Ilya Somin of George Mason University law school argues that an individual’s ignorance of public affairs is rational because the likelihood of his or her vote being decisive in an election is vanishingly small. The small incentives to become informed include reducing one’s susceptibility to deceptions, misinformation and propaganda. And if remaining ignorant is rational individual behavior, it has likely destructive collective outcomes.

Somin says that during the Cold War in 1964, two years after the Cuban missile crisis, only 38 percent of Americans knew the Soviet Union was not a member of NATO. In 2003, about 70 percent was unaware of enactment of the prescription drug entitlement, then the largest welfare-state expansion since Medicare (1965). In a 2006 Zogby pollonly 42 percent could name the three branches of the federal government.

Voters cannot hold officials responsible if they do not know what government is doing, or which parts of government are doing what. Given that 20 percent thinks the sun revolves around the Earth, it is unsurprising that a majority is unable to locate major states such as New York on a map. Usually only 30 percent of Americans can name their two senators. The average American expends more time becoming informed about choosing a car than choosing a candidate. But, then, the consequences of the former choice are immediate and discernible.

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