Criminology and Economic Theory
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Criminology and Economic Theory
In search of viable criminological theory
Curated by Rob Duke
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Gosport Hospital drugs policy killed 456 patients, report finds. Now families want justice.

Gosport Hospital drugs policy killed 456 patients, report finds. Now families want justice. | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The relatives of more than 450 patients who died after being over-prescribed drugs while in hospital have called for the British government to accept culpability for their deaths.
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Tesla sues ex-employee for hacking and theft. But he says he's a whistleblower

Tesla sues ex-employee for hacking and theft. But he says he's a whistleblower | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Tesla sues ex-employee accused of hacking its computers and stealing data, but he says he's a whistleblower, not a hacker.
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Public Employee Pensions: The Next Black Swan? - Nasdaq.com

In our post-Financial Crisis world, the term, “black swan” is not uncommon. It gets tossed about by financial pundits frequently, typically to.
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Soros-Backed California County Prosecutors Appear To Fail In 3 Races - capradio.org

Soros-Backed California County Prosecutors Appear To Fail In 3 Races - capradio.org | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
It appears that three California county district attorneys will keep their seats despite a well-financed national effort to elect reform-minded candidates sympathetic to reducing mass incarceration and prosecuting shootings by police.
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ACLU revises tactics to stop executions in California

ACLU revises tactics to stop executions in California | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The will of the people is being challenged as the courts continue to stall the implementation of the death penalty. Despite the passage of Prop 66 to speed up executions, California has not conducted an execution since 2006.  There are more than 750 people on Death Row. Of those, more than 20 have l
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I know what you’ll do next summer

I know what you’ll do next summer | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
ON WHAT does the administration of justice depend? Devotees of the Old Testament might say wisdom, as displayed in King Solomon’s judgment. Others might say a dispassionate objectivity. It also requires the threat of punishment—the basis of the modern state’s coercive power to enforce laws. But John Fielding knew that, before administrators of justice could mete out punishment or exercise wisdom, they needed something else: information.

Together with his half-brother Henry (a magistrate better remembered as the author of “Tom Jones”), in 1749 Fielding founded the Bow Street Runners, London’s—and the world’s—first professional police force, paid for largely with public funds. Information was at the centre of everything Fielding did. He retained descriptions of suspected criminals, for instance, as well as a “watch book”, which contained details of expensive timepieces to help prevent their resale if stolen.

The world’s most famous detective shared Fielding’s view; Sherlock Holmes retained an extensive indexed library of criminals and their crimes. The delight readers took in following him—a delight that makes crime fiction one of the great literary genres—also had information at its heart. What is a clue? What is a red herring? How does justice work? We pay homage to that tradition with the graphic story that illustrates these pages.

In fact as in fiction, the trend has continued. The Metropolitan police department, which has patrolled Washington, DC, since 1861, retains annual reports detailing crimes in each precinct. American homicide detectives record details of their cases in “murder books”, which are then filed for future consultation.

Historically, gathering information was an arduous process, requiring innumerable conversations, many of which later proved to be irrelevant; hours staking out a subject; researching documents and testimony; and reams of tedious paperwork. In illiberal countries, where governments do not care about their citizens’ civil rights, police could easily tap phones and open letters. Liberal countries make that harder; police who want to listen to someone’s phone calls can do so only for limited periods and specific purposes, and then only with judicial approval.

It’s not Cagney and Lacey

Now the relationship between information and crime has changed in two ways, one absolute, one relative. In absolute terms, people generate more searchable information than they used to. Smartphones passively track and record where people go, who they talk to and for how long; their apps reveal subtler personal information, such as their political views, what they like to read and watch and how they spend their money. As more appliances and accoutrements become networked, so the amount of information people inadvertently create will continue to grow.

To track a suspect’s movements and conversations, police chiefs no longer need to allocate dozens of officers for round-the-clock stakeouts. They just need to seize the suspect’s phone and bypass its encryption. If he drives, police cars, streetlights and car parks equipped with automatic number-plate readers (ANPRs, known in America as automatic licence-plate readers or ALPRs) can track all his movements.

In relative terms, the gap between information technology and policy gapes ever wider. Most privacy laws were written for the age of postal services and fixed-line telephones. Courts give citizens protection from governments entering their homes or rifling through their personal papers. The law on people’s digital presence is less clear. In most liberal countries, police still must convince a judge to let them eavesdrop on phone calls.

But mobile-phone “metadata”—not the actual conversations, but data about who was called and when—enjoy less stringent protections. In 2006 the European Union issued a directive requiring telecom firms to retain customer metadata for up to two years for use in potential crime investigations. The European Court of Justice invalidated that law in 2014, after numerous countries challenged it in court, saying that it interfered with “the fundamental rights to respect for private life”. Today data-retention laws vary widely in Europe. Laws, and their interpretation, are changing in America, too. A case before the Supreme Court will determine whether police need a warrant to obtain metadata.

Less shoe leather

If you drive in a city anywhere in the developed world, ANPRs are almost certainly tracking you. This is not illegal. Police do not generally need a warrant to follow someone in public. However, people not suspected of committing a crime do not usually expect authorities to amass terabytes of data on every person they have met and every business visited. ANPRs offer a lot of that.

To some people, this may not matter. Toplines, an Israeli ANPR firm, wants to add voice- and facial-recognition to its Bluetooth-enabled cameras, and install them on private vehicles, turning every car on the road into a “mobile broadcast system” that collects and transmits data to a control centre that security forces can access. Its founder posits that insurance-rate discounts could incentivise drivers to become, in effect, freelance roving crime-detection units for the police, subjecting unwitting citizens to constant surveillance. In answer to a question about the implications of such data for privacy, a Toplines employee shrugs: Facebook and WhatsApp are spying on us anyway, he says. If the stream of information keeps people safer, who could object? “Privacy is dead.”

It is not. But this dangerously complacent attitude brings its demise ever closer. One of the effects technology has on law enforcement is to render its actions less visible. You would notice if a policeman took photos of every parked car and pedestrian on your street. But ANPRs and body-worn cameras (“bodycams”) let officers do that as an unnoticed matter of course. That makes speaking up about privacy concerns more important, not less.


Technology used responsibly and benignly by one country or agency can be used for sinister purposes by another. Activists in, say, Sweden or New Zealand may have few concerns that police will use their technological prowess to arrest them on trumped-up charges, because rule of law is strong and those governments generally respect citizens’ civil liberties. Activists in China or Russia have far more to fear.

Some people argue that those who have done nothing wrong need not worry. But that justifies limitless state surveillance, and risks a chilling effect on citizens’ fundamental civil liberties. After all, if you are not planning crimes while talking on the phone, why not just let police officers listen to every call? Police need oversight not because they are bad people but because maintaining the appropriate balance between liberty and security requires constant vigilance by engaged citizens. This is doubly true for new technologies that make police better at their jobs when policy, due process and public opinion have not caught up.

This report will examine the promise and the dangers of those technologies. It explores several arenas in which technology is radically changing how the justice system operates—in street-level surveillance, the ease with which law enforcement can bypass encryption, the use of electronic monitoring as an alternative to prison, and the introduction of algorithms by police and courts.

It examines technology’s effects on crime and criminals, and on innocent people caught up in a tech-dominated approach to policing. The report does not demand the wholesale rejection of these technologies. Instead it calls for rigorous oversight, which has been shown to benefit both citizens and law enforcement, and which is the only way to ensure that, in their quest for security, societies do not inadvertently surrender too much liberty.
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California considers taking custody of some street people - A fine balance

California considers taking custody of some street people - A fine balance | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it

A bill before the state legislature must weigh legal rights against well-being


Print edition | United States
May 31st 2018 | SAN FRANCISCO
IN 1967 Ronald Reagan, then governor of California, signed into law the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, an ambitious reform of the state’s mental-health laws. It was part of a wave of changes that closed asylums in the state and around the country. Half a century later, the state legislature is reviewing those decisions.

In February Scott Wiener, a state senator who represents San Francisco, introduced Senate Bill 1045. The bill aims to make it easier for his home city, as well as Los Angeles, to oblige chronically homeless people who suffer from mental illness or addiction to accept the appointment by a judge of a person or institution to look after them (a concept called “conservatorship”). London Breed, who is running for mayor of San Francisco, has backed the proposal.

The bill would affect between 40 and 60 homeless people in San Francisco, reckons Barbara Garcia of the city’s Public Health Department. That is less than 1% of its official homeless population. Along with a number of similar bills aimed at loosening the legislation of 1967—including two that would expand the “gravely disabled” standard for involuntary treatment—it represents a shift in ideas about how to care for addicted or mentally ill homeless people. But it raises the knotty problem of balancing an individual’s mental health against their civil liberties.

Current law in California allows authorities to confine those who are gravely disabled or present a danger to themselves for, at first, 72 hours, then an additional 14 days and then a further 30 days. But if patients show a minimal degree of competence—finding food and clothing, for example—at the end of any of those periods, they must be released. Many relapse, and some end up in the arms of the law. “Mentally ill people are still being institutionalised,” says Dominic Sisti of the University of Pennsylvania and the lead author of a paper arguing for the return of asylums. “They are just in jails.”

The fate of the bill may eventually be determined by public opinion. California’s homeless population has become both more visible and, with the presence of drugs like fentanyl, more violently unpredictable. That may be moving legislators to embrace what Mr Sisti terms a “parentalist” mode of care: Mr Wiener’s bill passed its first three committees by 6-1, 7-0 and 5-2 votes.

Rob Duke's insight:

See David Rothman's excellent: "The Discovery of the Asylum: Order and Disorder in the New Republic" for the history that led up to a widespread abandoning of the asylum in the U.S.

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DeVos: School Safety Panel Will Not Study Role of Guns - Campus Safety

DeVos: School Safety Panel Will Not Study Role of Guns - Campus Safety | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
“Will your commission look at the role of firearms as it relates to gun violence in our schools?” he asked.


Related: 12 School Security Ideas You Can Implement Today
“That is not part of the commission’s charge per se,” DeVos responded. “We are actually studying school safety and how we can ensure our students are safe at school.”

“So you are studying gun violence, but not considering the role of guns,” Leahy retorted.

He later asked DeVos whether she believes an 18-year-old high school student should be able to purchase an AR-15-style assault weapon, which has been used in many recent mass shootings.

“I believe that’s very much a matter for debate,” DeVos replied.

Additionally, DeVos said that the commission will not look into best practices of foreign nations that have much lower rates of gun violence when asked by Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat. Since 2009, the United States has had 57 times more school shootings than other G-7 countries combined, Shaheen said.

DeVos said the panel will examine 27 different issues surrounding school safety but did not elaborate, according to The Sun Sentinel. The commission aims to produce a report on best practices by the end of the year.
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William Kelley's comment, June 10, 2:11 AM
I fail to see the need to specify different types of violence in such cases. Violence can come from anyone in any form using any tool. A hammer is a tool, a knife is a tool, a firearm is a tool, people are the source of violence.
Dalston's comment, June 11, 4:22 AM
This woman makes no sense. Clearly the problem is guns yet she doesn't want to focus on that. If that's the case then what is the point of analyzing any sort of violence in the schools? This entire administration is a mess and I really do not understand how this happened. She knows nothing about public schools and is doing nothing for them. This is a disgrace and utterly embarrassing.
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Supreme Court rules for Colorado baker in same-sex wedding cake case - CNNPolitics

Supreme Court rules for Colorado baker in same-sex wedding cake case - CNNPolitics | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The court held that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed hostility toward the baker based on his religious beliefs. The ruling is a win for baker Jack Phillips, who cited his beliefs as a Christian, but leaves unsettled broader constitutional questions on religious liberty.
"Today's decision is remarkably narrow, and leaves for another day virtually all of the major constitutional questions that this case presented," said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law. "It's hard to see the decision setting a precedent."
The ruling, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, held that members of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed animus toward Phillips specifically when they suggested his claims of religious freedom was made to justify discrimination.
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William Kelley's comment, June 10, 2:06 AM
There must be some deeper insecurities at play to take such a small matter so far. The man is running a private business and has the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason.
Dalston's comment, June 11, 4:15 AM
I honestly wish that people would just let others live their lives. There are so many other important issues to discuss in the country and we focus on the most insignificant ones and wonder why nothing is achieved.
Devon Smale's comment, June 16, 11:00 PM
This case went way too far. Business owners have a right to refuse service to anyone. I feel bad for the gay couple that the man did not want to bake them a cake for their wedding but the man did offer to make something else for them, going against his religious beliefs. I feel bad for all parties involved but you have to respect a person's Christian beliefs whether or not you agree with them or not.
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LA County orders review of at least $60 million in leases implicated in bribery scandal, includes 4 El Monte buildings –

LA County orders review of at least $60 million in leases implicated in bribery scandal, includes 4 El Monte buildings – | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A county employee told federal investigators there was an exchange of money while negotiating the leases at least four buildings in El Monte, one in Pasadena, one in Hawthorne and one in Los Angele…
Rob Duke's insight:

A common WCC....for bids, for leases, for contracts for services...sales reps know that they can sometimes offer perks (trips to vegas, small electronics, etc.) in quid pro quo trade for preferred treatment.

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US millionaire charged with labourer's nuclear bunker death

Daniel Beckwitt, 27, had been building the bunker because of his fear of "international threats, including from North Korea", his lawyer said.

In September, 21-year-old Askia Khafra died after a fire broke out in a network of tunnels under the house.

Mr Beckwitt was charged with involuntary manslaughter last week.

Officials in Bethesda, Maryland - a wealthy suburb of Washington DC - have also charged Mr Beckwitt with "depraved heart second-degree murder" because they say he acted with wanton disregard for human life.
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The Supreme Court Is Stubbornly Analog — By Design

The Supreme Court Is Stubbornly Analog — By Design | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The Supreme Court is an openly — even proudly — technophobic institution. Cameras are forbidden, which means there are no images or videos from high-profile cases, and briefs and other legal filings only recently became available at the court’s website. Chief Justice John Roberts argued in 2014 that these Luddite tendencies are just part of the legal system: “The courts will always be prudent whenever it comes to embracing the ‘next big thing.’” The justices — who communicate mostly on paper, rather than via email — can sometimes seem as analog as the institution they serve. There was the moment when in a 2014 case about cell phone privacy, Justice Samuel Alito asked what would happen if a suspect were carrying personal information on a “compact disc.” That same year, Justice Stephen Breyer was ribbed for spinning out an extended hypothetical about a “phonograph record store.”

There are systemic reasons for the court’s reluctant approach to technology — American law is a backward-looking enterprise even outside the highest court. But regardless of why it’s happening, legal scholars say the consequences are clear: When Supreme Court justices lack an understanding of what technology means for the lives of the people affected by their decisions, they will struggle to respond effectively to technological change.
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Judge Tosses Convicted Officer's Civil Rights Suit Against LA County

Following her arrest in 2013, Long – a 23-year employee of the department – was convicted of obstruction of justice, conspiracy and making false statements to the FBI. She unsuccessfully appealed her conviction to the Ninth Circuit and began serving her two-year prison sentence in April 2017.

Fitzgerald dismissed Long’s case without leave to amend due to her conviction.

“If plaintiff were to succeed in this lawsuit it would necessarily imply the invalidity of her prior, Ninth Circuit-affirmed criminal conviction and is thus barred by Heck v. Humphrey and its progeny,” Fitzgerald wrote in the 12-page ruling. “No amount of tinkering with the complaint (absent filing an entirely different lawsuit) could change that, so leave to amend is unwarranted.”

In 2011, the FBI in conjunction with a federal grand jury investigated the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for alleged civil rights abuses in county jails.

Over six weeks in August and September 2011, Baca conspired with those under his command, including Long, to thwart the FBI investigation by sending officers to FBI agents’ homes threatening arrest. He also hid the FBI’s informant within the jail system.

In addition to Long, the case took down Baca, his undersheriff and several others in the department.
Rob Duke's insight:

It's difficult for lower employees to use the "I'm just following orders", thus they disproportionately are held accountable for WCC.  In this case, former-Sheriff Baca and his command staff were held accountable.

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Devon Smale's comment, June 3, 2:55 PM
I agree. Long knew what she was getting into and only when busted did she decide to file a lawsuit claiming that she was just following orders. This is an example of how ignorance of the law and your job is just plain ignorance and does not mean that just because you followed orders that you get a pass for your crime without paying the cost. She got what she deserved for sure.
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Legal marijuana will roll out differently in Canada than in U.S.

Legal marijuana will roll out differently in Canada than in U.S. | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
With marijuana legalization across Canada on the horizon, the industry is shaping up to look different from the way it does in nine U.S. states that have legalized adult recreational use of the drug.
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Sophisticated insertion of missing middle

Sophisticated insertion of missing middle | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A transit-accessible infill development includes a variety of housing types geared to improving the economics of urban living.
Rob Duke's insight:

Good planning and low crime are inter-related.

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Under attack, billionaire George Soros plans to redouble his efforts - Chicago Tribune

Under attack, billionaire George Soros plans to redouble his efforts - Chicago Tribune | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
George Soros, the billionaire investor and liberal donor, sat in his hotel suite by Lake Zurich last week, lamenting the turn much of the world has taken in
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U.S. support for death penalty ticks up in 2018

U.S. support for death penalty ticks up in 2018 | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Americans' support for capital punishment for people convicted of murder has increased somewhat since reaching a four-decade low in 2016.
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Podcast: Unintended consequences of California's Prop 47

Proposition 47 downgraded a variety of crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. Here are the problems its created for citizens and police.
Rob Duke's insight:

Perhaps unintended, but foreseeable.  Anytime we change institutions, we know there will be a leveling by the "market" (see the Coase theorem).  This isn't necessarily just or fair, but it will be an approximation of efficient.  Thus, when we shifted the risk and cost of controlling the public space away from offenders to citizens and the police, it's only natural that we'd see some criminals "consume" more crime.  This isn't a perfect market, so we also know that people prefer a lower risk lifestyle if that's made available, so Prop. 47 might have worked under circumstances where more opportunity was provided to choose work over crime, but California didn't provide much in the way of alternatives.

 

Note: a similar argument could be made for Alaska's SB91, though from my own perspective more thought and effort was put into reform in Alaska than in California.

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Troopers search Nenana government offices for evidence of 'malfeasance' | Local News | newsminer.com

Troopers search Nenana government offices for evidence of 'malfeasance' | Local News | newsminer.com | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
FAIRBANKS—City government offices in Nenana were searched today by the Alaska State Troopers Financial Crime Unit, according to a troopers spokeswoman.
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William Kelley's comment, June 10, 2:01 AM
It is not often we hear of cases like this in such a small town. It really proves to show that any type of crime can be found anywhere and nothing should be out past someone based off location of isolation to outside resources.
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Scottsdale, Arizona killings: Retired detective's hunch leads to suspect Dwight Lamon Jones - CBS News

Scottsdale, Arizona killings: Retired detective's hunch leads to suspect Dwight Lamon Jones - CBS News | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A hunch from a retired detective helped lead police to a man suspected of shooting six people to death in the Phoenix area, some of whom were connected to his divorce, authorities said after the assailant killed himself with officers closing in. A round-the-clock investigation that began late last week led police Monday to an extended-stay hotel in suburban Scottsdale where 56-year-old Dwight Lamon Jones was staying. As officers approached, they heard gunfire and found his body.

Jones' victims included a well-known forensic psychiatrist who testified against him in court in 2010, two paralegals who worked for the law office that represented the suspect's wife, a marriage-and-divorce counselor who was apparently targeted in a case of mistaken identity and another man and woman who have not been identified, authorities said.

In an unexpected twist, the suspect's ex-wife, Connie Jones, said her current husband, a retired police detective, made the connection between her divorce and the crime scenes and notified police of his suspicion Saturday night.
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Devon Smale's comment, June 16, 10:50 PM
I am wondering what took so long for the man to commit these killings against people who were involved in his divorce. I feel sorry for the people who died and I feel bad for the ex-wife who lived in fear of her ex-husband for 8 years. Since case reminds me of the movie Law Abiding Citizen because, even though the man's wife was killed, the husband waited 10 years before seeking revenge on everyone who was involved in his wife and daughter's murder. It makes me wonder if the man took notes from this movie because the scenario is pretty close to being the same.
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Low Level Charges Filed in Skid Row Voter Fraud Case

One of three men accused of offering cash and cigarettes to homeless people in exchange for voting form forgeries -- has already pleaded guilty to violating the state elections code, prosecutors said Thursday.
Rob Duke's insight:

Here's a perfect example of a "modern" WCC: this case is technically work related and, therefore, a WCC; but these guys are all minimum wage signature takers.  Should this really be considered a WCC?  Edwin Sutherland would argue that this is not any special type of crime that requires "new" theory--what say you?

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Commonwealth Bank offers to pay record fine in laundering case

Australia's largest lender was accused of breaching money laundering and terror financing laws.
Rob Duke's insight:

This sounds about right for Australia where they've been pursuing a "reintegrative shaming" response for years on the advice of an Australian academic, John Braithwaite.

 

See Braithwaite's ideas here:\

http://johnbraithwaite.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Restorative-Justice-and-Respon.pdf

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Donald Trump Says He'll Pardon Dinesh D'Souza : The Two-Way : NPR

Donald Trump Says He'll Pardon Dinesh D'Souza : The Two-Way : NPR | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
President Trump said the conservative commentator was "treated very unfairly by our government." He also said he is considering pardons for Martha Stewart and former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Rob Duke's insight:

More evidence that WCC is not treated the same as traditional crime.

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Dalston's comment, June 11, 4:18 AM
Okay I am really confused as to why this man is focusing on so many things at once. There are things happening in the present day with people being deported simply because he doesn't them and this is what he's doing with his time and of course meeting with Kim K. I am just confused and I really can't tell if this is good or bad.
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Charles Asubonten out as CalPERS CEO | The Sacramento Bee

Charles Asubonten out as CalPERS CEO | The Sacramento Bee | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
CalPERS CFO Charles Asubonten no longer works for CalPERS as of May 21, 2018. The financial blog Naked Capitalism in April 2018 reported that he exaggerated his accomplishments in his application to the pension fund.
Rob Duke's insight:

Lying on a resume to land a top job--WCC?

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Devon Smale's comment, June 16, 10:57 PM
I am wondering what this man thought when he lied on his resume, that he wouldn't get the job? Then once he did get the job but did not have the qualifications, how long was he expecting to get away with it, because he lacked the knowledge that it took for the position in which he took. It makes me wonder, how many more people have lied on resumes and continue to get away with it. This story reminds me of Rachel Donazel. She didn't lie about her qualifications, but she lied claiming that she was half black when she took a job for the NAACP. Rachel came from 2 white parents who outed her after over a decade of pretending to be black. I guess people will do anything for a job nowadays.