Snips 

Ideas you won't hear from a major party. From an August 30 press release from Jerry Kohn, the Illinois Libertarian candidate for the U.S. Senate, who advocates cutting off the $4 billion in annual U.S. aid to Israel and the $3 billion to its immediate neighbors: "U.S. aid to Israel is one of the reasons so many Arabs resent the United States and is another source of anti-American terror," he states. "Israel is the most powerful nation in that region, and they are perfectly capable of defending themselves....If Americans want to voluntarily contribute their families' money to Israel or Egypt or Palestine or Jordan, or anywhere else, they should be free to do so, but it is not the job of the federal government to take our money and give it to foreign governments that can take care of themselves."

Economic research trumps conservative dogma. Hilary Sigman of Rutgers University writes in an August working paper (number w10717, published by the the National Bureau of Economic Research) that decentralizing pollution-control responsibilities can harm the environment. One example: when states take over responsibility for enforcing federal clean-water laws, downstream water quality drops--at a cost to other states of an estimated $17 million a year.

Slow learners in the suburbs. Jim Nugent writes in the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation's "Bike Traffic" (September): "In 1985, [south suburban] New Lenox township officials refused to participate in [Old Plank Road Trail] planning efforts. In 1989, residents passed a non-binding referendum opposing the use of tax dollars for trail purposes." Nevertheless, the trail opened in 1997, and now "opposition to trails has declined in the New Lenox area. In the past five years the town has built two spur trails that intersect the OPRT, and it now plans to build a connection to the town's commons area and to provide a safe link for kids to access a new movie theater complex."

Give us your tired, your poor, your hungry--and we'll run them through kangaroo courts and kick 'em out. A joint report released August 4 by the American Bar Association and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund finds that recent changes to immigration law have set up a two-tiered system of justice. Among other things, "Low-level immigration officers are making what can be life-and-death decisions with no standards of due process or judicial oversight. Expanded grounds for deportation have led to far tougher penalties for those born outside the United States than for those born within," even business travelers, people fleeing genocide, abandoned children, abused women, and the developmentally disabled. "Because many of these new laws were made retroactive, lawful permanent residents have been detained and deported for activities that occurred years ago, before they were deportable offenses."

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