These are stories you don't want to miss and my hot takes on them...
What does Broward Sheriff Scott Israel not want us to see? - Sun Sentinel
To hold government accountable, we need a better picture of what happened. And that means we need to see the evidence ourselves, starting with the security video taken outside the school.
The video is not the only public record sought by the South Florida Sun Sentinel and other media organizations in the aftermath of the shooting and the epic government failure surrounding it. Among other things, we’ve also requested copies of the 911 calls, police radio calls and incident reports from the 39 times BSO deputies were called to the home of Nikolas Cruz, who’s confessed to carrying out the rampage that killed 17 and injured 17.Sheriff Israel doesn’t want to release the video, which is curious, given that he’s already given a detailed description of its substance.
Kudos to the Sun-Sentinel for advancing this piece. Since the shooting I've cautioned against a rush to judgement regarding BSO's handling of the scene. As I've suggested, rushing to judgement won't bring back any of the 17 lives lost and could lead to the ruining of reputations, careers and lives of people unfairly. We've had endless related but different examples in recent years. How many people think to this day that Trayvon Martin was a victim? How many people think that Ferguson's riots began because an innocent young man put his hands up and said "hands up don't shoot" but was shot and killed anyway? There are people who still think the Duke Lacrosse team rapped a woman and the Baltimore police department abused Freddie Gray until he died. I could continue but you hopefully get the point.
While rushing to judgement isn't the answer, neither is a lack of transparency or answers. I'm inclined to give law enforcement the benefit of the doubt. But I'm also reminded of something my dad used to tell me. There are few people better than good cops. There are few worse bad ones. It's important to ensure there's transparency in this process to ensure we understand what happened and who're we're being protected by locally.
Enforcement: The Forgotten Piece of U.S. Trade Policy Scott Paul, RealClearPolitics
Through tariffs on imported steel and aluminum announced last week, President Trump may inadvertently begin to restore the balance we last saw in U.S. trade policy five decades ago.
Ding, ding, Ding! As I demonstrated in my three-part series on Monday - the net sum of US trade policy is that we get ripped off to the tune of 24% - meaning that for every dollar of trade benefit derived by our trade partners we get 76 cents. That's stupid. And staying with it is being stuck on stupid. We've been stuck on stupid with trade since 1975 (when we stopped enforcing existing US fair trade policies). As pointed out in the article the 1962 Foreign trade expansion act hasn't been enforced by the United States, the WTO or our trade partners. Instead, we've just been sitting back and progressively have been getting raped on trade. Not unlike most of our foreign arrangements IE the United Nations or immigration policy. Tariffs aren't ideal but if we're getting ripped off to the tune of 24% and we institute a 25% tax on trade - well that's virtually a level - if less than ideal playing field.
Oscars Night Tanks as NRA Membership Skyrockets D.C. McAllister, PJ Media
The audience for ABC's Sunday annual telecast of the Oscars declined for a fourth consecutive year, according to Nielsen data, dropping to an all-time low of 26.5 million viewers. The dip of nearly 20% from last year put it under the previous low of 32 million in 2008.
Dudley Brown, the president of the National Association for Gun Rights, estimated his organization -- which claims more than 4.5 million “members and supporters” on its website -- estimated online membership applications at his organization could have grown by 30% over the last week
Few things were as predictable as this combination of circumstances. While unrelated, they are opposite sides of the same coin. On one hand you have an entertainment industry that's already closely associated with political activism at its award shows and what do you do? Have a guy host it who's spent the last year making himself into a political opponent of everything right of center on his late-night show. How'd you really expect that'd go. When you alienate half of the potential pool of consumers to your products - you're going to have less engagement with it...this just in.
On the other hand, you have the NRA and other 2nd Amendment advocacy groups. I'm a gun owner and supporter of the second Amendment. I'm not a member of the NRA or other related groups. Like most gun owners and non-owners alike I think there's a need for reforms (and did long before the Parkland shooting). But here's the other thing. It was disgusting and offensive intellectually and otherwise that the NRA suddenly faced boycott efforts and quickly became a symbol more commonly blamed for the evil acts than Nikolas Cruz. The NRA had absolutely no responsibility or role in what happened at Stoneman Douglas. But to put political desires and outcomes above all else they were made to be the face of what's wrong in this country. The most predictable outcome has been happening. As many attempt to make an unrelated party a political target - many who are offended by the political effort are joining the NRA and related groups to push back. Ironically, those who placed politics above reality have actually created an environment in which the NRA and related groups are bigger and stronger today than prior to the slanderous efforts.