September 19, 20171min278

The U.S. House of Representatives’ bill governing self-driving vehicles has a hole in it big enough to drive an autopilot Mack truck through. The Senate has to close it when it tackles its parallel legislation later this month. The fully autonomous vehicle market is estimated to hit $87 billion by 2030, which could ignite another tech boom to fuel the U.S. and Silicon Valley economies for decades — but not if people are afraid to use the machines for fear of losing their privacy. That’s what’s at risk in the federal legislation.

September 12, 20171min161

The sight of 12 Cleveland Browns football players kneeling in a prayer circle during the national anthem before an exhibition game last month did not sit well with many in the national television audience.

Some veterans took it as an insult. Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill, a Vietnam War veteran and longtime Browns fan, said he is done cheering for Cleveland: “I will NEVER attend a sporting event where the draft-dodging millionaire athletes disrespect the veterans who earned them the right to be on that field,” Justice O’Neill said on Facebook.

The heated emotions are understandable. But the players have the right to engage in protest. Justice O’Neill should understand that better than anyone. It is disappointing when a jurist criticizes the exercise of a fundamental American right.

Read more at The Boulder Daily Camera

September 12, 20171min309

Other questions on the Nov. 7 ballot will doubtless produce more heat, but no local issue may be more important than the proposal to extend the term limit for the Boulder County sheriff from four to five terms.

That’s because being sheriff of Boulder County requires an unusual and complex skill set. In a jurisdiction that tends to elect county commissioners devoted to environmental causes, the sheriff stands on the front line of some of our most pressing social problems — public safety, obviously, but also homelessness, mental illness and the growing risk of emergencies from wildfires and floods.

With 37 years in local law enforcement, half with the city of Boulder and half with the county, Sheriff Joe Pelle is uniquely suited to this difficult job. More remarkable, he loves it. But if the ballot measure to extend the office’s term limit fails, Pelle will be forced to leave the post next year, when his fourth four-year term expires.

Read more at The Boulder Daily Camera.

August 31, 20171min205

Unlike most of the nation, the San Francisco Bay Area’s biggest problem right now is not from right-wing provocateurs, it’s from anarchist hoodlums.

Most people here recognize how despicable and dangerous the ultra-right-wing, white supremacist, neo-Nazi movement is. We deplore President Trump’s false equivalency that those who protest the bigotry are equally culpable.

As we saw in San Francisco and Berkeley, most here who demonstrate against this country’s ugly underbelly can do so peacefully — and effectively.

Unfortunately, as we also saw, there’s a small subset of opponents with a penchant for violence that plays right into the hands of the nationalist extremists.

Read more at the Boulder Daily Camera

August 30, 20171min100

Depending on which Founding Father or long-ago Supreme Court justice you cite, the president of the United States has pardon power to provide mercy in case of an overly harsh criminal code; to provide justice to the wrongfully convicted; and to help the country heal after particularly brutal periods of unrest. Nowhere will you find it is supposed to be used to undermine the law and codify the mistreatment of a group of people based on their ethnicity.

Because it is nearly unquestioned, maybe no other presidential power reveals and relies upon the character of the person in White House as much. That’s why Donald Trump’s pardon of former sheriff Joe Arpaio is so disturbing and damaging.

Trump is far from the first president to issue a questionable pardon. Andrew Johnson pardoned every Confederate soldier.

Read more at The Boulder Daily Camera

August 21, 20172min118

Democrats and Independents have been asking for months, to little or no effect, when traditional Republicans would stand up to the chaos presidency of Donald Trump. As Washington Post columnist Fareed Zakaria points out elsewhere in these pages, traditional elites have not exactly been a profile in courage.

But last week, Mitt Romney, the party’s 2012 presidential nominee, emerged from the shadows to make a stark demand — that Trump apologize to the nation for his divisive remarks following a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Va. Of all the outrageous, counter-productive things Trump has said and done as a candidate and as president, his remarks suggesting a moral equivalence between white supremacists and counter-protesters may finally represent a tipping point among Republicans. Well, at least a few of them.

More integrity has been demonstrated outside political circles than within them. The heads of every branch of the armed forces pushed back on Trump’s remarks with public statements emphasizing their rejection of racial and religious bigotry. Chief executives of businesses who made up two Trump advisory councils decided to disband those councils after Trump publicly attacked Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier, an African-American, following Frazier’s resignation from one of the councils.

Read more at The Boulder Daily Camera.