Persons with disabilities can pose complex challenges to law enforcement officers charged with keeping the peace. Police officers are often the first responders to persons with mental disabilities in crisis. These problematic, high-stakes encounters have drastically increased in frequency as a result of the gradual shift from institutional to community-based care. The difficulties associated with this integration process have been exacerbated by insufficient funding for outpatient support services. To make matters worse, many mental or developmental disabilities when untreated can produce behaviors that aggravate officers or members of the public. Some scholars have even argued that our laws have effectively criminalized the symptoms of disabilities. As a result, persons with disabilities are in a vulnerable position: they need a robust set of protections in place to provide some measure of security and predictability in their interactions with law enforcement. This article analyzes how the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) can help bring stability and justice to the interactions between law enforcement officers and persons with disabilities.
Growing up in the dawn of the Internet Age, as children we were often told, “don’t trust strangers online,” and frightened with stories of abductors posing as digital friends. But, while we have always been vigilant of an individual with a misleading online identity, right now we face a new threat with strong ramifications for democracy and discourse – the manipulation of not one online persona, but of the digital populace as a whole.
Last week, I described how Web 2.0 technologies –specifically Twitter – can be manipulated to create a faux story and how current election law is likely unable to do anything to stop abuse by a campaign trying to perpetrate such an act. Today, I’d like to discuss how the Internet could be manipulated to create a faux reaction.
Frederick Kaufmann spoke last week at Harvard about his Harper’s Magazine article, The Food Bubble: How Wall Street starved millions and got away with it (pdf here), for an event sponsored by the HLS Food Society. Kaufmann has described, in scrupulous detail, how the creation of the Commodity Index Fundsin 1991 opened the door to speculation in commodity food markets and how this speculation is wreaking havoc around the world.
Despite record yields in recent years, the price of of cattle, coffee, cocoa, corn, wheat, and other foods has skyrocketed. The price of food might be an inconvenience to middle class shoppers in the U.S. with domestic food prices expected to rise by 3-4% this year. But internationally, rising food prices can mean starvation. In fact, Spiking food prices have also been cited as a major force behind the recent popular uprisings in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East.
This is the fourth post in a multi-part series. In Part 1, I described Moore’s Law, which states that computer technology gets twice as good, for the same price, every two years. In Part 2, I argued that President Obama’s clean energy goals are overly optimistic because energy technologies do not obey Moore’s Law. In Part 3, I gave two other reasons why energy technology cannot be adopted as quickly as computer technology. In this Part, I discuss policy implications. Feedback is welcome to Jason.email@example.com.
4. Looking Forward
Before turning to how policymakers should act given what we can expect of renewable technology for the next few decades, let me first summarize the upshot of my first three posts. As Freeman Dyson recently wrote in the New York Review of Books, since 1965, the price of electronic computer equipment “has decreased and the numbers have increased by a factor of a billion, nine powers of ten.” In 1965, practically no one had computers. Now, most people encounter dozens of things with computer chips every single day. That’s because “nine powers of ten are enough to turn a trickle into a flood.”
It’s been months now since the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law. Although the Dow and Wall Street bonuses have returned to 2007 levels, unemployment is still hovering around 9% and housing prices continue to decline. While these numbers tell us something about the health of the economy, it would be an enormous mistake to evaluate the Dodd-Frank Act based on these indicators alone. The single most important question raised by Dodd-Frank’s passage is whether the U.S. is better poised to prevent and respond to another financial crisis than it was in 2008. Unfortunately, the answer is probably not.
Even with Dodd-Frank, the U.S. still lacks a legal framework for preventing a liquidity or insolvency crisis from spreading. The “too big to fail” problem persists. In fact, given the large number of bank closures and increasing consolidation within the financial sector, the problem has arguably grown more acute since the collapse of Lehman in September of 2008. Equally problematic (and not unrelated) is the fact that the “shadow banking system“–the central conduit through which the crisis spread from a localized bank failure into a global financial crisis–remains largely unregulated.
HLPR Online editorial staff
This post was written by Danny Rosenthal and Rachel Lauter and signed by nine members of the HLPR masthead, incoming masthead, and blog staff. Their names are listed at the end of the post. The full response of Alexa Shabecoff, head of the Harvard Law School Office of Public Interest Advising, is reprinted following the post.
Three weeks ago, Harvard Law School advised students to reconsider posting commentary about Wikileaks on “your blog, Facebook page, or twitter account.” The message came on the blog of the Harvard Law School Office of Public Interest Advising. The reason for the warning? Students who comment on the leaks might struggle to obtain government employment in the future. As Harvard students interested in public service, we were troubled both by Harvard’s statement and by the government policy that the statement describes, though we doubt that the policy actually exists.
Like Boston University Law School, Harvard extrapolated from news that the federal government warned employees and contractors not to access Wikileaks material. But this extrapolation seems like a huge leap because that policy is limited to current employees who are using government computers, as well as personal computers in very limited circumstances. Indeed, the Constitution may bar the government from going any further, an issue we will explore in a future post. (See this related post at ACSblog.)