Montana legislator introduces bills to give his state its own science | Ars Technica


It’s no secret that some of our federal legislators don’t have a firm grip on scientific evidence; it only takes watching a session of the House Science Committee, where one member suggested the climate-driven rise of the oceans might instead be caused by rocks falling into the ocean.What’s often overlooked is that state legislators are even worse (though it’s not clear how much this is a product of there simply being more of them). Each year, they oversee a variety of attempts to introduce pseudoscience into the public schools of a number of states.But it recently came out that a legislator in Montana was attempting to have the state officially renounce the findings of the scientific community. And, if the federal government decides to believe the scientists and do something about emissions, he wants the Treasure State to somehow sit those efforts out.

Source: Montana legislator introduces bills to give his state its own science | Ars Technica

South Carolina Cops Love Asset Forfeiture So Much They Take Cash From Crime Victims | Techdirt

Cash is king in South Carolina. Law enforcement loves taking it. Under the pretense of dismantling drug syndicates, law enforcement officers are taking money from waitresses, businessmen, and crime victims. Cash motivates law enforcement efforts — dubious drug-focused shakedowns that are often given far too much credibility by local journalists.This is state where county sheriffs run week-long events with cool names like “Rolling Thunder” and claim they’re disrupting the flow of drugs. The reality is there’s no disruption. People are separated from their cash and other property, but arrests and convictions are almost impossible to find, despite the discovery of a few hundred pounds of illegal substances. In 2017, the Spartansburg County Sheriff’s Department pulled over more than 1,100 vehicles during an operation, searched 158 of them, recovered enough drugs to fill a table for a press conference, but only ended up with eight felony convictions. It did end up with $139,000 in cash, which was the actual focus of the “drug interdiction” activity.The cases gathered from elsewhere in the state tell the same story: cash-hungry law enforcement agencies taking money from people and calling it a victory in the War on Drugs. African-Americans make up only 13 percent of the state’s population, but 65 percent of asset forfeiture cases target African Americans. If you’re white, you’re not only targeted less frequently but you’re twice as likely to get your property returned to you.

Source: South Carolina Cops Love Asset Forfeiture So Much They Take Cash From Crime Victims | Techdirt

Calling Out Copyright Troll Mathew Higbee | Techdirt

Over the last few months, I’ve been hearing an awful lot about a copyright trolling operation that goes by the name Higbee and Associates. We had written about them years back when they (incredibly) threatened Something Awful for using a photo in a movie review (which was clear fair use). A few months back we wrote about them again when they (you guessed it) threatened Something Awful again over someone in its forums hotlinking a picture of Hitler that was actually hosted on Imgur.While that’s all we’ve written about the firm on Techdirt, Higbee’s name keeps coming up in other conversations — among copyright lawyers who have been seeing a massive increase in Higbee demand letters, and even from some friends who have received such letters (which nearly always involve clearly bogus threats). One thing that has happened over and over with Higbee claims that I’ve been privy to is that they are over unregistered images, meaning that Higbee is unlikely to actually be able to sue over those images, and even if they could, it wouldn’t be for statutory damages. And yet, the threat letters tend to allude to statutory damages are part of the scare tactic.Public Citizen’s Paul Levy has apparently seen enough of Higbee and Associates and their trolling activity that he’s done a pretty thorough investigation of Higbee’s activities and written up a long description calling out many of the sketchy practices of the firm and its principal, Mathew Higbee

Source: Calling Out Copyright Troll Mathew Higbee | Techdirt

Sheriffs’ Union Boss Says Officers Have No Reason To Do Their Job If They Can’t Score Forfeiture Cash On The Side | Techdirt

If Wells Fargo account reps can’t sign people up for accounts without their knowledge or permission, why should they even show up to help people open accounts or deal with banking issues? If an entrepreneur can’t rope investors into a pyramid scheme, why even bother getting out of bed at 4 am to bathe in the glow of inflated self-worth? Come on, Bruder. How can you be so obtuse?

Jarrod Bruder, the executive director of the South Carolina Sheriff’s Association who frequently lobbies for law enforcement interests at the Statehouse, said that without the incentive of profit from civil forfeiture, officers probably wouldn’t pursue drug dealers and their cash as hard as they do now.If police don’t get to keep the money from forfeiture, “what is the incentive to go out and make a special effort?” Bruder said. “What is the incentive for interdiction?”

Source: Sheriffs’ Union Boss Says Officers Have No Reason To Do Their Job If They Can’t Score Forfeiture Cash On The Side | Techdirt

Mississippi Governor Extends Middle Finger To Constitution On Twitter While Applauding Asset Forfeiture | Techdirt

That conflict [of interest] is on full display in Richland, Miss., where construction of a new $4.1 million law enforcement training facility was funded entirely by forfeiture proceeds garnered by police in Richland—a town of just 7,000 people. A sign in the building’s window boasts: “Richland Police Station tearfully donated by drug dealers.”

Source: Mississippi Governor Extends Middle Finger To Constitution On Twitter While Applauding Asset Forfeiture | Techdirt

Portland Officer Gregg Lewis Tells Cops to Shoot Black People

According to the Oregonian, on Feb. 12, three days after Hayes was killed, Sergeant Gregg Lewis was instructing Portland Police Department’s Central Command on how to place civil holds on intoxicated suspects and take them to a detox center. Lewis explained that they should determine their actions based on the kind of person they encountered. As he explained what they should do when they encountered a drunk person in a suit and tie versus when they encounter a homeless person, someone noted that people were still mad about the extrajudicial killing of Quanice Hayes, so they should be careful, to which Lewis apparently responded:

“If they are black, just shoot them.”

Isn’t that just hilarious?

Source: Portland Officer Gregg Lewis Tells Cops to Shoot Black People

Here’s what the Sacklers didn’t want you to see in the OxyContin lawsuit | Ars Technica

From 2007 to 2018, the Sacklers paid themselves more than $4B from opioid sales.

Source: Here’s what the Sacklers didn’t want you to see in the OxyContin lawsuit | Ars Technica

Damning court docs show just how far Sacklers went to push OxyContin | Ars Technica

Secretive, wealthy Sackler family is at the heart of the opioid crisis, lawsuit alleges.

Source: Damning court docs show just how far Sacklers went to push OxyContin | Ars Technica

School Contractor in Texas Denied Work Over Pro-Israel Loyalty Oath

A CHILDREN’S SPEECH PATHOLOGIST who has worked for the last nine years with developmentally disabled, autistic, and speech-impaired elementary school students in Austin, Texas, has been told she can no longer work with the public school district after she refused to sign an oath vowing that she “does not” and “will not” engage in a boycott of Israel or “otherwise tak[e] any action that is intended to inflict economic harm” on that foreign nation. A lawsuit on her behalf was filed early Monday morning in a federal court in the Western District of Texas alleging a violation of her First Amendment right of free speech.

Source: School Contractor in Texas Denied Work Over Pro-Israel Loyalty Oath

Republicans Are Clinging to Power in Wisconsin. Expect to See More GOP Power Grabs.

The anti-democratic moves to strip power from incoming Democrats are now officially part of the Republican playbook.

Source: Republicans Are Clinging to Power in Wisconsin. Expect to See More GOP Power Grabs.