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Time to get modern on this topic; and community policing

Hollywood Casino in Kansas City, Kan. is just a stone’s throw away from Platte County and a very short drive for those of us who live along the I-435 corridor. Hollywood Casino is about to become more popular with a lot of folks who live in Platte County. That’s a Between the Lines prediction for you.

And that prediction is based on the fact that sports betting has been legalized in Kansas. You can bet Hollywood Casino is gearing up to offer legalized sports betting about the time the football season opens this fall. Hollywood Casino plans to be ready to take your sports wagers when the NFL regular season opens around Sept. 11. The Kansas Speedway, coincidentally, will host the Hollywood Casino 400 NASCAR race that same weekend. And that’s another sports wagering opportunity.

Kansas officially legalized sports betting effective July 1. By now you probably know where I’m headed with this. Sports betting is not legal in Missouri. Look to your legislators at the statehouse for the reasons why. Our legislators can be an interesting group on certain topics, sometimes slow to come around to modern times on some issues. This is one of those issues.

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Consumer Group Says Legalizing MO Sports Betting Key to Stopping Illegal Bets

The only way to stop a bad guy from taking unregulated bets is with a good guy taking legal bets, more or less the message from Consumer Choice Center manager David Clement, who targets his attention on North American sports betting affairs, an active topic these days.

In a recent statement, Clement had this to say regarding Missouri’s stalled legal sports betting market:

The key to stamping out the illegal sports betting market is legalizing sports betting and having an open and competitive market where legal sports books compete for consumers. Not only does this help grow the legal market, it actively discourages consumers from placing bets in the illegal market which is ripe for fraud and abuse.

The Consumer Choice Center is a “consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice,” and what manager Clement is suggesting is nothing new to Missouri lawmakers who are struggling to pick a betting bill and go with it.

It’s a battle between state House and Senate ideas of what a Missouri sports betting market should look like, something Consumer Choice Center manager Clement seems qualified to weigh in on.

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Pentingnya Meningkatkan Penelitian Produk-Produk Tembakau Alternatif di Dalam Negeri

Vape atau rokok elektrik saat ini merupakan produk yang kerap menimbulkan pro dan kontra dari berbagai kalangan. Bagi sebagian kalangan, vape atau rokok elektrik merupakan produk yang sangat berbahaya bagi kesehatan, sehingga harus dilarang secara penuh, atau setidaknya diregulasi secara sangat ketat.

Sementara itu, bagi kalangan lain, vape atau rokok elektrik dianggap sebagai produk yang sangat penting, khususnya untuk membantu para perokok untuk berhenti merokok. Untuk itu, bila pemerintah melarang atau meregulasi produk-produk vape secara sangat ketat, maka kebijakan tersebut merupakan sesuatu yang tidak tepat, kerena hal tersebut akan membatasi kesempatan para perokok untuk mendapatkan produk alternatf lain yang dapat membantu menghilangkan kebiasaan merokoknya.

Terlepas dari pro dan kontra tersebut, tidak bisa dipungkiri bahwa, fenomena penggunaan produk-produk rokok elektrik merupakan hal yang kian meningkat dari waktu ke waktu, khususnya bagi mereka yang tinggal di masyarakat urban. Pada tahun 2017, diperkirakan ada sekitar 900 ribu pengguna vape di Indonesia. Dalam jangka waktu 3 tahun, tepatnya tahun 2020, angka tersebut meningkat pesat menjadi 2,2 juta pengguna vape di negara kita (medcom.id, 22/01/2021).

Fenomena semakin meningkatnya pengguna vape ini juga bukan merupakan hal tarjadi di Indonesia saja, tetapi juga di dunia secara keseluruhan. Berdasarkan laporan dari Global Harm Reduction 2021 misalnya, secara total diperkirakan ada 82 juta pengguna vape di seluruh dunia. Angka ini meningkat dari sebelumnya sekitar 68 juta pengguna vape aktif di dunia pada tahun 2020 (tribunnews.com, 22/06/2022).

Untuk itu, tentunya kerangka kebijakan yang tepat dalam menghadapi fenomena ini merupakan sesuatu yang sangat penting yang harus dilakukan oleh para pembuat kebijakan. Tanpa adanya kebijakan yang tepat, tentunya konsumen menjadi salah satu pihak yang paling dirugikan, selain tentunya para pekerja yang mendapatkan penghasilannya dari industri tersebut.

Untuk mampu merancang kebijakan yang tepat, salah satu langkah utama yang sanga penting untuk dilakukan tentunya adalah dengan melakukan riset dan penelitian terlebih dahulu terkait dengan produk-produk rokok elektrik, dan juga produk-produk tembakau alternatif lainnya secara lebih luas. Tanpa adanya penelitian yang memadai, tentunya akan sangat sulit bagi kita untuk bisa menemukan kebijakan yang tepat dalam merespon fenomena semakin tingginya pengguna vape di Indonesia.

Di berbagai negara lain, penelitian terahdap produk-produk rokok elektrik atau vape merupakan sesuatu yang sudah sangat banyak dilakukan, salah satunya adalah Britania Raya. Pada tahun 2015, lembaga kesehatan publik asal Inggris, Public Health England (PHE), mengeluarkan laporan yang menunjukkan bahwa, vape atau rokok elektrik 95% jauh lebih tidak berbahaya bila dibandingkan dengan rokok konvensional yang dibakar (www.gov.uk, 19/08/2015).

Hasil dari penelitian tersebut tentunya memiliki dampak yang sangat signifikan terhadap para pembuat kebijakan di Britania Raya untuk menyusun kebijakan terkait vape dan produk tembakau alternatif lainnya secara tepat. Britania Raya sendiri akhirnya menjadi salah satu negara pelopor yang menjadikan produk tersebut sebagai produk alternatif untuk membantu para perokok untuk berhentu merokok (insidesources.com, 03/05/2021).

Negara kita tentu bisa belajar dari langkah yang dilakukan oleh Pemerintah Inggris. Riset dan penelitian mengenai vape dan produk tembakau alternatif lainnya masih cukup kurang di negara kita, yang membuat masih banyaknya berbagai kabar misinformasi terkait dengan produk-produk tersebut, seperti vape atau rokok elektrik memiliki kandungan yang sama bahayanya atau bahkan lebih berbahaya dari rokok konvensional yang dibakar.

Hal ini juga diakui oleh beberapa pihak terkait di Indonesia, salah satuya adalah Asosiasi Vapers Indonesia (AVI). AVI menyatakan bahwa, industri vape dan produk-produk tembakau alternatif lainnya merupakan industri yang saat ini sedang mengalami perkembangan di Indonesia, dan untuk itu dibutuhkan penelitian yang lebih besar terkait dengan produk-produk tersebut (tribunnews.com, 22/06/2022).

Melalui penelitian yang memadai, tentu hal tersebut dapat membantu para pengambil kebijakan untuk mengeluarkan kbeijakan terkait vape dan produk tembakau alternatif lainnya yang tepat, agar tidak merugikan para konsumen dan juga para pekerja. Jangan sampai, regulasi dan juga auran yang diberlakukan etrsebut justru menjadi kontraproduktif, dan justru merugikan para konsumen karena membuat mereka lebih sulit untuk mendapatkan produk alternatif tembakau yang memiliki resiko jauh lebih rendah.

Sebagai penutup, adanya penelitian yang memadai terhadap rokok elektrik, dan juga produk-produk tembakau alternatif lainnya, merupakan hal yang sangat penting, agar para pembuat kebijakan bisa menyusun kerangka kebijakan yang tepat terkait dengan produk-produk tersebut. Dengan demikian, diharapkan para pembuat kebijakan dapat menyusun kebijakan yang tepat, yang dapat membantu jutaan para perokok di Indonesia untuk menghentikan kebiasaan merokoknya yang sangat berbahaya bagi kesehatan.

Originally published here

Consumer group encourages Missouri to enable sports betting

After another legislative session came and went without sports betting passed in Missouri, a global advocacy group is among those urging the state to go all-in next year.

David Clement, the North American affairs manager for Consumer Choice Center and co-author of a new study diving into sports betting policies from state to state as well as the revenue they pull in, encouraged the Show-Me State to enact its own version in the near future to cut down on illegal gaming and reap the financial benefits of a new market.

“The key to stamping out the illegal sports betting market is legalizing sports betting, and having an open and competitive market where legal sports books compete for consumers,” Clement said in a statement. “Not only does this help grow the legal market, it actively discourages consumers from placing bets in the illegal market which is ripe for fraud and abuse.”

He added, “Missouri should immediately legalize sports betting, and do so in a way that opens the market and encourages competition.”

Read the full text here

Utah Dead Last In US Sports Betting Index

A new report published by the Consumer Choice Center evaluates all 50 states on how consumer friendly their sports betting markets are. Unfortunately, with sports betting still illegal in Utah, Utah ranks dead last in the index. Utah, and the 14 other states who have maintained their ban on sports betting are in large part why the illegal betting market in the US is still thriving. It is estimated that the illegal sports betting market generated $50-$200 billion in revenue in 2020.

The Consumer Choice Center’s North American Affairs Manager, and co-author of the report, David Clement explained stating, “The key to stamping out the illegal sports betting market is legalizing sports betting, and having an open and competitive market where legal sportsbooks compete for consumers. Not only does this help grow the legal market, it actively discourages consumers from placing bets in the illegal market which is ripe for fraud and abuse”

Read the full text here

Report Says Georgia Should Legalize Sports Gambling

Illegal gambling continues to thrive in the United States because of states like Georgia that ban betting on sports.

That’s according to a new report from the Consumer Choice Center, an advocacy group fighting for “lifestyle freedom, innovative technologies, and smart regulation.” The group looked at all 50 states to evaluate how consumer-friendly their sports betting markets are and, unsurprisingly, Georgia ranked last.

According to the report, Georgia and 14 other states have a ban on sports betting. Despite the bans, the illegal sports betting market generated an estimated $50 billion to $200 billion in revenue in 2020.

“The key to stamping out the illegal sports betting market is legalizing sports betting, and having an open and competitive market where legal sportsbooks compete for consumers,” David Clement, North American affairs manager for the Consumer Choice Center and co-author of the report, said in an announcement. “Not only does this help grow the legal market, it actively discourages consumers from placing bets in the illegal market which is ripe for fraud and abuse.

Read the full text here

Report: Tennessee’s online-only sports betting structure receives mid-pack grades nationally

Tennessee received mid-level marks for its legalization of sports betting, according to a recently released report, which says fewer restrictions would help the state curtail illegal gambling.

The Consumer Choice Center is an advocacy group that says it fights for “lifestyle freedom, innovative technologies, and smart regulation” and it analyzed how bettor-friendly sports betting marketplaces are in the 50 states.

Tennessee was in a three-way tie for fourth place along with Virginia and Rhode Island. The 14 states that ban sports betting completely, including neighboring states Alabama and Georgia, were at the bottom of the rankings.

Tennessee was penalized for its marketplace, which only allows online and not in-person betting. There are 12 independent sportsbooks taking bets in the Volunteer State and prop betting on collegiate sports is prohibited.

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Inflação nos EUA atinge o maior valor em 41 anos

‘Recessão econômica no país é inevitável’, diz analista, para quem ‘coisas que realmente reduziriam os números não estão na agenda de Biden’

Divulgado hoje, o Índice de Preços ao Consumidor (CPI) nos EUA apontou que a inflação no país bateu 9,1% (ante 8,8% esperados pelo mercado), no acumulado de 12 meses encerrados em junho. Foi o maior nível para o período em 41 anos. Ante maio, a alta foi de 1,3% (mais que o 1,1% esperado pelo mercado).

Para Felipe Sichel, sócio e economista-chefe do Banco Modalmais, o índice teve leitura acima do esperado tanto no headline como na leitura subjacente (0,7% em comparação com a expectativa de 0,5%).

“Tanto o headline como a composição do índice são bastantes negativas para a trajetória da inflação nos EUA.”

Resultados preliminares do PIB americano entre os meses de abril a junho apontam para uma contração da atividade econômica. Enquanto isso, o Fed está considerando que taxas acentuadamente mais altas podem ser necessárias para conter a inflação.

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Bill Would Give US Production of Vital Electronics to China

The consequences of a bill in Congress will make you want to buy a new phone and laptop, provided that inflation leaves you with enough disposable income to do that.

While Americans are dealing with the effects of record-high gas prices, Democrats in Congress are suggesting the so-called PFAS Action Act, which would declare perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances as hazardous chemicals. This legislation would open the gates for a ban on a large set of substances needed to produce everything from consumer electronics and vital medical equipment.

In an effort to preserve clean drinking water and protect consumer health, Democrats (and a handful of Republican co-sponsors of the bill) are throwing out the baby with the bathwater. PFAS, according to the CDC, englobes over 9,000 chemicals, which all have varying uses and severity.

Lawmakers in Washington are relying on cases of malpractice, when companies violated their duty to protect local communities by failing to ensure safe use, transport and disposal, to pull the rug out from this large set of substances.

Ultimately, why care? No citizen likes the idea of potentially toxic chemicals being in use at all, so why not just endorse this piece of legislation?

In fact, while within the set of 9,000 chemicals, some of them may very well need phasing out, others are essential to key American industries.

For instance, these chemicals are vital for the production of semiconductors, predominantly the use of coolant, and a ban would worsen the already existing chip shortage, which affects anything from mobile phones to electric cars. Computer chip shortages cost the U.S. economy $240 billion in 2021.

That said, waiting another six months for your electric vehicle or stomaching a significant price increase on your latest smartphone is just the tip of the iceberg. While regulators in the United States or Europe may decide to ban PFAS, manufacturers are unlikely to follow suit.

In fact, Beijing is famously less concerned than Western nations when it comes to chemical regulation, and would be more than happy to rake up the market shares made available by destructive environmental restrictions.

What message is Congress sending to American companies by considering this bill? Intel has announced it will spend $20 billion on a chip factory in Ohio, to stop the increasingly endemic lack of semiconductors. Presumably, Washington is thanking them by stripping the company of the tools to manufacture components and outsourcing the task to producers abroad.

When dealing with consumer goods, we should prefer that they are made with a transparent and reasonable regulatory framework that punishes wrongdoing to the full extent of the law, instead of relying on imports from nations that do not share our vision of safe manufacturing.

Originally published here

EPA Ignores the Pleas of Farmers on Crop Protection

The Environmental Protection Agency isn’t listening to farmers and its own scientific panel.

In a move that is causing American farmers significant distress, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is effectively banning the use of the herbicide atrazine. 

The agency is lowering the so-called concentration equivalent level of concern (CE-LOC) to 3.4 ppb (parts per billion), making the substance unusable on farms across the country. The agency has thus undone an authorization dating back to 2016, going back to Obama-era rules, and reopening a political battle that implicates courts and regulators to do the strategic bidding for Washington.

Behind the definition of the concentration level of crop protection products and the associated court battles lies the fact that not even agriculture is spared by the partisan approach of lawmakers. Be it atrazine or the controversy surrounding glyphosate—environmental activists aim to phase out any herbicide, fungicide, or insecticide and push for an all-organic farming model. If the motivation for these bans were justified by a genuine concern for consumer health, they could be excused, but they appear to be associated with a manic opposition to modern farming, paired with a sinister belief in conspiracy theories.

Atrazine became popularly known through serial conspiracy peddler Alex Jones, who claimed that it was “turning the frogs gay,” while relying on one non-peer-reviewed and debunked study by a researcher named Tyrone Hayes from twenty years ago. The researcher had falsely claimed that the chemical created hermaphrodite frogs and altered their sexual orientation. Reviews by the EPA, German, and Australian regulators all found no evidence for the “gay frogs” premise. When researchers in Japan replicated Hayes’ experiment, they found no evidence either.

It wasn’t just fringe conspiracy theorists who used Hayes’ paper to claim that dark forces were attempting to kill masculinity by poisoning the drinking water—environmental groups also used the misleading conclusions. Beyond Pesticides, a group arguing for atrazine to be banned, writes: “EPA has long known about triazine’s threats to wildlife, including its ability to chemically castrate male frogs. However, the agency has consistently defended the chemical and sat by while independent researchers like Tyrone Hayes, PhD, who conducted seminal research on atrazine’s endocrine-disrupting properties, are pilloried by chemical industry propaganda.”

For consumers, the case for farmers being able to use adequate crop protection is better than just “this won’t harm you.” In fact, there are good reasons why atrazine, after glyphosate, remains the second most used herbicide in the United States. Consumers save $4.3 to almost $6.2 billionannually because the use of the product lowers prices for dairy products, eggs, and meat. 

Atrazine is used on twenty-four million acres of corn, sorghum, and sugarcane (for the first two, the United States is the world’s largest exporter). Without it, corn farmers would lose an estimated $3.1 to $4.6 billion per year, which would increase food insecurity and prices at a time when American consumers can afford it the least. Let’s not forget that compared to Europe, Americans spend a lot less on food: in 2020, Americans spent 5 percent of their disposable income on groceries, compared to 8.7 percent in Ireland (the lowest in the EU), 10.8 percent in Germany, 12 percent in Sweden, 17 percent in Hungary, and 25 percent in Romania.

A ban would also have environmental implications. The use of herbicides reduces the need for diesel-fueled tillage and avoids soil erosion. In practice, this means that less carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, and wildlife—such as birds—is less often disturbed by farmers passing over their fields. It also makes the farming system more efficient: all it takes to see that is to compare the American food model with the African, where pesticide availability is low and where farmers lose 40-100 percent of their crops. Herbicides essentially guarantee that we produce more with less and guarantee that we maintain affordable and available food.

The reasoning for the ban is based, just as with the example of Tyrone Hayes, on bad science. In fact, the Science Advisory Panel (SAP) of the EPA has alerted its own administrators to the fact that most of the studies it uses to argue for a ban “have weaknesses in their design” which “render interpreting their results and scoring them for “effects” or “no effect” difficult and subjective.” Why is the EPA not listening to its own scientists?

Farmers have also fired back at the EPA, calling its statements “untrue,” and saying that its new concentration level is “based on shaky scientific evidence derived through a process that has not been transparent.” They continue by arguing that atrazine is essential for carbon sequestration, essentially telling the EPA that its decision will lead to higher carbon dioxide emissions over time.

The EPA isn’t listening to farmers and its own scientific panel. Maybe it will reconsider once consumers feel the effect of a decision that will severely affect food prices.

Originally published here

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