US economy grew at 3.4 percent rate in third quarter
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER
AP Economics Writer
Friday, December 21
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy expanded at a solid 3.4 percent annual rate in the third quarter, slightly slower than the previous estimate as consumer spending and exports were revised lower. The economy is expected to slow further in the current quarter.
The Commerce Department said Friday that growth in the gross domestic product, the economy’s total output of goods and services, was revised down from an earlier estimate of 3.5 percent. The still-strong performance followed a sizzling 4.2 percent advance in the second quarter and a moderate 2.2 percent increase in the first quarter.
Economists believe that economic growth is slowing in the fourth quarter to around 2.5 percent. For the full year, GDP growth is projected to top 3 percent — the best showing since 2005.
President Donald Trump has often cited the upturn in economic growth as evidence that his economic program, which includes a $1.5 trillion tax cut passed last year, has lifted the economy to a stronger growth path.
However, analysts believe that the boost from the tax cut and increased government spending Congress approved last February will begin to fade in 2019. They are forecasting growth will slow to around 2.7 percent in 2019. Some analysts believe that by 2020, GDP growth may be barely above 1 percent or could slip into a recession that year.
The Trump administration insists that the impact from the tax cuts, deregulation and tougher enforcement of trade agreements will keep the economy expanding at a sustained rate of 3 percent in coming years.
The GDP report on Friday was the government’s third and final look at the July-September quarter.
Driving Friday’s downward revision was an even bigger decline in exports of a category that includes industrial machinery, as well as slower consumer spending on non-durable goods such as gasoline and other energy products.
Consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, still grew at a solid annual rate of 3.5 percent.
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday boosted its key policy rate for a fourth time this year but lowered its outlook for rate hikes next year from three down to two. The projection of fewer future rate hikes failed to calm Wall Street investors, who sent stocks sharply lower. They had been hoping for the Fed to declare a pause in its rate hike campaign.
A school resource officer in every school?
April 11, 2018
Author: F. Chris Curran, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Disclosure statement: F. Chris Curran receives funding from the National Institute of Justice’s Comprehensive School Safety Initiative for ongoing research on school safety and school resource officers.
Partners: University of Maryland, Baltimore County provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.
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Less than three weeks after a school resource officer stopped an armed teen who shot two students at a Maryland high school, lawmakers in Maryland voted to expand law enforcement presence in schools statewide.
The Maryland Safe to Learn Act of 2018, signed into law by Gov. Larry Hogan on April 10, requires all public schools in Maryland to have a designated school resource officer, more commonly known as an SRO, or “adequate local law enforcement coverage” by the 2019-2020 school year.
Maryland’s bill follows a similiar state law passed in Florida.
Additionally, a number of local school districts nationwide are considering or have recently announced expansions of law enforcement in schools.
Such a push toward increased use of law enforcement in schools follows a national trend that predates recent school shootings. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that, in 2015-16, 48 percent of schools nationally had a sworn law enforcement officer present at least once a week. This figure is up almost 33 percent from a decade before.
Challenges to scaling up SROs in schools
Moves to substantially increase the presence of law enforcement in schools may face hurdles around staffing, training and funding. In the research my colleagues and I are conducting, we find that substantial expansions of SRO programs may result in the quick hiring and training of a number of personnel who have little experience in schools.
In our study, SROs were commonly drawn from street patrol or jail facilities. While the officers received standard law enforcement academy training, they were given limited training specific to working with students or school personnel. For many, the training amounted to little more than shadowing other SROs for a couple weeks.
This is notable given that the role of SROs differs considerably from traditional law enforcement. In particular, SROs engage with students who are at different developmental stages than the general population. Additionally, they must become better acquainted with juvenile and school law as well as learn to balance authority structures from both their law enforcement agency and the school system.
In Maryland, only about 400 of the state’s approximately 1,400 schools currently have law enforcement officers. This means that the state law could affect around 1,000 schools.
Accomplishing such a large hiring and training initiative requires adequate financial resources. Currently, school law enforcement are funded through a patchwork of sources that include local school districts, local law enforcement agencies and local municipalities, as well as through state and federal sources. The act passed in Maryland provides additional funding of approximately US$10 million per year to support the scale up of law enforcement presence in schools.
Such funds alone, however, fall short of what would be required to place an SRO in every school in the state. While the cost of employing an SRO varies, estimates suggest that salaries and benefits alone are often in the $50,000 to $80,000 range. As a result, many localities may face hurdles in securing the additional funds necessary to comply with these new state policies. For instance, with about 1,000 Maryland schools without an SRO, $10 million only provides $10,000 per school – not nearly enough to cover salaries and training.
What will these SROs do?
The role of SROs has commonly been discussed as a triad, with SROs engaging in law enforcement, informal counseling and educational activities. That said, given that SROs have traditionally been much more common in high school and middle school settings, expansions of SRO presence may take place most at the elementary school level. According to data from the Civil Rights Data Collection, in 2013-14, about 75 percent of Maryland high schools had a law enforcement presence compared to around 50 percent of middle schools and less than 20 percent of elementary schools.
Our research suggests that the role of SROs often looks different between primary and secondary schools. We find that elementary SROs engage in far less law enforcement and take on a role that is much more about relationship building with students.
National survey data support our findings, with primary school SROs being about 33 percent less likely than high school SROs to engage in maintaining discipline and about 40 percent less likely to provide guidance on legal matters to school authorities.
Regardless of grade level, SROs will likely spend much of their days engaged in activities beyond preventing another school shooting. Such activities include mentoring students, guest lecturing in classes, and assisting school personnel. Additionally, however, prior work documents how SROs can also have unwanted consequences – such as contributing to the use of exclusionary discipline. To its credit, the bill passed in Maryland supports training of SROs that focuses on “de-escalation,” “maintaining a positive school climate,” “constructive interactions with students,” and awareness of diversity and implicit bias – each of which may mitigate negative impacts of law enforcement presence in schools.
In short, as the presence of SROs increases, the research suggests the need for careful attention to recruitment, training, funding, and the expectations set for day-to-day activities of SROs. While SROs can potentially lessen the damage of future school shootings, the full impact of their presence will likely depend more on the roles they adopt on a daily basis in schools.
Craig Gorsuch, logged in via Google: How about asking off-duty firemen and police officers to volunteer (pending approval of their superiors)? How about asking retired firemen and police officers? Lower the cost, keep the kids safe, don’t get people involved who are “only there for a paycheck”, or don’t “force” people to be SROs if they don’t want to.
AP Explains: Next steps in Japan case against Nissan’s Ghosn
By MARI YAMAGUCHI
Friday, December 21
TOKYO (AP) — Nissan Motor Co. former chairman Carlos Ghosn, charged with financial improprieties and detained in Tokyo for more than a month, has also been accused of a breach of trust that caused a multimillion-dollar financial loss for Nissan.
Speculation that he could leave on bail surged on Thursday after a court rejected prosecutors’ request for extended detention. The fresh allegation dashes his hope for a quick release, forcing his detention to extend after Christmas and New Year’s Day. A look at what is going on and what could happen next:
Q: WHAT IS THE NEW ALLEGATION?
A: Prosecutors on Friday accused Ghosn of a breach of trust causing Nissan a financial loss of more than 1.8 billion yen ($16 million). The allegations represent a third potential charge in Ghosn’s case. Prosecutors say Ghosn allegedly manipulated a contract to shift a loss from a private investment during the Lehman crisis onto Nissan’s books. He also allegedly had Nissan transfer $14.7 million to another company, prosecutors say. Japan’s NHK public television said the company owner is a Saudi Arabian acquaintance of Ghosn. The latest allegation does not affect former Nissan board member Greg Kelly, who is only accused of the earlier allegations.
Q: HOW MUCH LONGER WILL HE BE DETAINED?
A: Adding an allegation to an existing case is called “saitaiho” in Japanese, or to re-arrest, even when a suspect is already in custody. Japanese police and prosecutors routinely add new allegations to lengthen a defendant’s time behind bars, since each allegation may add up to 20 days. The tactic is criticized from inside and outside Japan as “hostage justice.” Friday’s new allegation would allow prosecutors two days before seeking a likely court approval of extending Ghosn’s detention up to 20 more days, meaning he would have to stay in the Tokyo Detention House until Jan. 11. But his right-hand man, Kelly, may be released next week, with a request for bail filed Friday by Kelly’s lawyer pending court approval.
Q: WHAT ARE CHARGES THEY FACE?
A: So far, Ghosn and Kelly are charged with underreporting Ghosn’s pay by about 5 billion yen ($44 million), in violation of the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act. They also face a second allegation of underreporting another 4 billion yen ($36 million) for 2016-2018, for which their first 10-day detention expired on Thursday. Ghosn was quoted by his lawyer as saying he is determined to prove his innocence, NHK reported. Kelly’s wife, Donna Kelly, said in a video message carried by Japanese networks that her husband was “wrongly accused as part of a power grab” at Nissan.
Q: ARE LONG DETENTIONS COMMON IN JAPAN?
A: Ghosn’s more than a month in detention is still short compared to some past high-profile cases. Critics say defendants who refuse to admit to the allegations tend to be detained longer. In 2002, parliamentarian Muneo Suzuki was detained for 437 days over bribery charges before he was released on bail. In 2009, a senior health ministry bureaucrat, Atsuko Muraki, was detained for 164 days in alleged violation of postal services law. She was later acquitted. In 2006, an internet startup maverick Takafumi Horie, charged with fraudulent accounting, was detained for 95 days.
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Threat assessments crucial to prevent school shootings
March 21, 2018
Author: Dewey Cornell, Forensic clinical psychologist and professor of education, University of Virginia
Disclosure statement: Dewey Cornell receives funding from the National Institute of Justice for a project to study the statewide implementation of threat assessment in nearly 2,000 Virginia public schools.
Partners: University of Virginia provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.
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Students rally outside the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, on March 14, 2018 to protest gun violence. Andrew Harnik/AP
Editor’s note: This article was adapted from testimony the author gave on March 20, 2018 at a school safety forum convened on Capitol Hill by U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and House Democrats. The forum took place just hours after a student gunman was killed at Great Mills High School in Maryland after shooting and wounding two students there.
In the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, a wide variety of groups – from students to lawmakers – have been searching for ways to make U.S. schools and communities safer and prevent further shootings.
One of the best ways to make schools safer is to use threat assessments – a tool developed by law enforcement to protect public figures. In my opinion as one who has studied youth violence for 34 years – and as a forensic psychologist who has worked with many violent youth, including several who have committed shootings at school – I believe the time has come to use threat assessments to protect the nation’s schools.
Schools still relatively safe
The first thing to recognize is that violence in schools is just a small part of the larger problem of gun violence in American society. It would be a mistake, in my view, to focus only on schools and miss the bigger picture.
Children are exposed to violence in many other settings in their communities. Over the past 20 years, the United States has experienced an average of 22 students murdered at school each year. However, outside of schools, an average of 1,480 students are murdered annually. In other words, students are 67 times more likely to be murdered outside of school than at school.
There is understandable public alarm that there have been approximately 300 school shootings since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. However, according to CDC reports, there have been over 500,000 shootings outside of schools in those five years, or about 275 shootings every day, resulting in approximately 92 deaths and 183 injuries.
From this perspective, U.S. schools are much safer than the surrounding community. The nation does not have a school violence problem but a gun violence problem. What I would point out here is that there is a credible body of scientific research that we can reduce gun violence with reasonable gun laws.
Security expensive, ineffective
The nation’s response to gun violence is often an emotional reaction of increasing security and preparing for the next shooting, rather than supporting efforts to prevent gun violence. It has been reported that schools spent US$5 billion in security measures after the Sandy Hook shooting. Even if schools spend $5 billion more and could somehow make every school impregnable, that would stop only a small fraction of the shootings. For every shooting in a school, there are more than 1,600 shootings outside of school. Why would it make sense to spend billions to stop one-tenth of 1 percent and ignore the 99.9 percent of gun violence?
Prevention must start long before there is a gunman in the parking lot, and it requires, in my view, a three-tiered public health approach. The first tier is universal programs for everyone, such as improving school climate so that all children can succeed in school. Many of the mass shootings in schools and communities are committed by individuals who developed anger and resentment because of the bullying, harassment and discrimination they experienced at school. Schools should routinely measure and improve their school climate.
On the second tier, prevention means helping troubled young people who are at risk before they start down the pathway toward violence. Put an armed guard in a school and you might prevent one shooting in one building. Put a counselor or psychologist in a school and you have the potential to prevent shootings in any building anywhere in your community.
The third tier is to identify and intervene with students who are moving down a pathway toward violence, which brings me to threat assessment and how it works.
What makes threat assessment work
Threat assessment is a safe and effective way to help students who have themselves threatened violence. It is a systematic process of evaluation and intervention for persons who have made verbal or behavioral threats of violence against others.
Threat assessment was originally developed by law enforcement to protect public figures, such as the president of the United States and foreign leaders. It then expanded to business and is widely used by corporations to prevent workplace violence.
Twenty years ago, the FBI and Secret Service recommended that threat assessment be used in schools. After participating in the FBI study of school shootings in 1999, I became intrigued by this idea. My colleagues and I worked with a group of educators to develop a threat assessment model for schools.
Not assassins and terrorists
Over the past 17 years we have refined our model, published a detailed manual, disseminated it to thousands of schools and conducted 11 studies of its effects. One of our key lessons learned is that threat assessment is a good prevention strategy, but that the particular situation of each school needs to be taken into account.
The traditional law enforcement approach to threat assessment is focused on assassins and terrorists, but when it comes to schools, the focus is primarily on kids, who make threats frequently when they are angry, upset or just trying to gain some attention. In our first study, for example, we found that the age group that makes the most threats to kill are elementary school students.
In almost all cases, students need counseling and discipline, not criminal charges. In school threat assessment, you must be careful not to overreact to student threats. The process must be calibrated to deal with kids, not adults.
Evaluating the evidence
In four studies, we have found that fewer than 1 percent of students seen for a threat assessment carry out their threats. There have been fights, but none of the hundreds of threats to kill, shoot or seriously injure someone was carried out. Furthermore, three controlled studies found that schools using threat assessment had less student aggression, such as bullying and fighting, than schools that did not use threat assessment.
My conclusion is that the rush to increase security measures should not overshadow measures that have been proven to prevent violence.
In order to reduce gun violence in American communities and schools, policymakers and school leaders should adopt a threat assessment approach. This is a tool that, if properly adapted to the school setting, will not stigmatize or punish minor misbehavior but will allow schools to identify those students who are in need of mental health services and other support. And critically, in the small number of very serious threats, schools can recognize the danger, collaborate with law enforcement and keep schools safe.