CKI Daily Wrap

16 Nov
Criminal Justice and Policing Reform:
Matthew Feeney. “Body Camera Policies Leave a Lot to Be Desired.”Cato At Liberty.

Feeney describes a recent body camera scorecard jointly released by the Leadership Conference on Human Rights and Upturn. The scorecard evaluates body camera policies usage by various U.S. police departments “on a range of issues including public access to body camera policies, restrictions on biometric technology, allowing officers to view body camera footage before making a statement, and officer discretion.” Feeney finds that the results of the scorecard are “not encouraging,” arguing that “body cameras are a relatively new technology with great potential, but this potential could go unrealized if lawmakers are not careful.” Feeney advocates for careful application of body camera policies that will “provide increased transparency and accountability in law enforcement” without rushing through the process and creating policies with “worrying privacy implications.”

Sabrina Siddiqui. “Alicia Keys Laments ‘Heartless’ Justice System in Reform Pitch to Congress.” The Guardian.

Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys presented to congressional staffers this week to support criminal justice reform. According to Siddiqui, Keys spoke not as an “international superstar,” but “as a mother.” Keys objected to the treatment of juveniles by the American justice system, arguing that “nowhere in the rest of the western world are juveniles being tried as adults, or even worse, sentenced to life sentences without parole.  Is this who we are now? Is this who we want to be?” Also speaking with Keys was Senator Cory Booker and activist Van Jones, two prominent voices in the criminal justice reform movement. Booker argued that reform is necessary because “we are conducting our criminal justice system in a way that is incredibly expensive, it’s not making us more safe, and it’s just destroying human potential.”

Cronyism and Corporate Welfare:
Ray Long and Michael J. Berens. “Gov. Rauner Ends Tax Break for Firms That Add Jobs in One Place, Cut in Another.” Chicago Tribune.

This article reports that Gov. Bruce Rauner of Illinois is changing the way tax incentives to businesses will be handed out in the future. In fact, the Chicago Tribune published the results of an investigation into the Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) program last October, which notably revealed that businesses were allowed to receive tax incentives while never creating an additional job, laying off people, or ultimately moving out of the state without any penalty. The authors describe the program as “a billion-dollar giveaway hobbled by widespread failure and scant accountability.” The changes in the program, the authors explain, will prevent businesses from collecting tax incentives “for creating jobs at one office while eliminating a greater number of jobs at another location.” This story is a good example of how corporate welfare distorts the market and encourages businesses to focus their resources on getting preferential treatment from government instead of creating value for their customers.

Technology and Innovation:
Amie Tsang and Cao Li. “Singles Day in China Draws New Suitors: Foreign Sellers.” New York Times.
This article details the phenomenon of Singles Day, a Chinese sales event falling on 11/11. Although the sales “festival” originally catered to single shoppers, the article notes how the phenomenon has grown much larger. This is evidenced by the sheer volume of sales on China’s predominant online shopping website, Ali Baba. This year, Ali Baba’s sales hit $14.3 billion for the 24 hour period, up from $9 billion last year. The article’s main focus is on the opportunity these numbers present for foreign companies, including those from the United States. One of Ali Baba’s main competitors,, has sites exclusively featuring foreign goods, as Chinese consumers have developed preferences for some foreign products. The authors note that “They are more likely to buy beauty products from France and South Korea, shoes and bags from Italy and health care products from Australia, according to Nielsen research.” Also, “after several food safety scandals in China, foreign produce is often seen as safer” as well. This article provides a compelling example of how online shopping has opened up marketplaces to businesses all over the globe, encouraging mutually beneficial interactions between producers in one country and consumers abroad. Internet technology continues to facilitate positive sum transactions among individuals who may never interact face-to-face.
Editorial Board. “An Adult on Campus.” The Wall Street Journal.
Contrasting the recent protests at the University of Missouri and Yale University, Mitch Daniels, the President of Purdue University, released a letter to the Purdue community. In the letter he outlines the student-led initiative at Purdue that produced campus policies that highly protect free speech. It is highly refreshing that a university president is not only in favor of free speech, but leads a campus that is equally supportive. Purdue, and other universities that have adopted similar policies supporting free speech, provide a counterpoint to the physical and intellectual chaos taking place at many institutions around the country.
Editorial Board. “College Encourages Lively Exchange of Idea.” The Onion.
This satirical article pokes fun at the climate on many college campuses where only one side of a debate is allowed to be presented and those expressing unpopular opinions are barred from speaking. Rather than suppress free speech and a diversity of thought, colleges should produce policies that broadly protect the ability of individuals to be exposed to all sides of an argument.
Contributors: Michelle Newby, Carine Martinez-Gouhier, Eric Alston, Rick Barton
Editor: Austen Bannan
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