Articles Posted in Commentary and Opinion

This posting relates to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) correspondence dated August 25, 2022, in which the CBO answers several questions from Congressmen Kevin Brady and Jason Smith about increased enforcement by the Internal Revenue Service.

It includes a brief summary of the correspondence, a direct link to the letter addressed to Congressmen Brady and Smith, and a CBO Report providing  additional background material.



The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) HR 5376 was signed into law by President Joe Biden on August 16, 2022, after a tortuous route through the legislative process.

HR 5376 grew out of the Build Back Better Act (BBB) which passed the House on September 27, 2021,  but failed to pass in the Senate. The provisions of BBB did, however, become the vehicle for helping move President Biden’s legislative initiatives forward.

Public transportation is the backbone of most large cities including New York City. Ideally subways enable people to move quickly and safely to their respective places for work, school, or other destinations important to them. How are New York City subways measuring up to this ideal in terms of public safety over time?

While researching this question, we noticed an article [subscription required]“Transportation Security for New York City Straphangers” by Samuel Estreicher and Zachray Garrett on (July 7, 2022) which for us is a well researched article that makes a significant contribution toward framing this issue.  Therefore, although we cannot reproduce or reprint the article, we will attempt to summarize and highlight its basic points.

Estreicher and Garrett propose two measures to help cope subway crime which they say “is up 54% since last year and 39% since last month [May]”. These measures are:

On this July 4, after a wonderful celebration of food, fun and fireworks, I thought perhaps it would be appropriate to write a post commemorating the beginnings of both the naming of the United States and the observance  of July 4 as a celebration of the birth of American independence:

On September 9, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted “United States” as a new name for what had been called the “United Colonies.” The name United States of America has remained since then as a symbol of freedom and independence.

Benjamin Franklin popularized the concept of a political union in his famous “Join, Or Die” cartoon in 1754. A generation later, the concept of unity became a reality. Thomas Jefferson is credited as being the first person to come up with the name, which he used while drafting the Declaration of Independence. In June 1776, Jefferson’s draft version of the Declaration started with the following sentence: “A Declaration of the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress assembled.”  The final version of the Declaration starts with the date July 4, 1776 and the following statement: “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.” Since that date, July 4 continues to be celebrated as the birth of American independence . It has been observed as a federal holiday (Independence day) since 1941.

In the past year there has been what appears to be a constant drumbeat, seemingly almost weekly and sometimes daily, of reports of mass shootings and deaths by firearms throughout the United States. There are also statistics. A recent study reported by the BBC indicates there has been a steady increase by year in the number of gun deaths in the U.S. between 2014 and 2021 with the exception of a small dip in 2020. Reliable published statistics for 2022 have been difficult to locate due to the fact that 2022 is the current year but according to the Gun Violence Archive there have been 225 mass shootings, 14 mass murders, and 19,350 total number of gun violence deaths (all causes) that have occurred as of June 11, 2022.

While there has long been an ebb and flow of general concerns regarding gun violence and mass shootings in America, the high level of recent reporting mentioned earlier raises the question: Has gun violence and particularly mass shootings in the United States increased to the point where it can now be reasonably asserted that this issue has now become a crisis in America?

The Congressional Research Service defines mass shootings as “multiple firearm homicide incidents involving four or more victims at one or more locations close to one another”. The FBI definition is essentially the same but in the United States there are several different, but common, other definitions of mass shootings. For a more extended discussion see Richard Berk’s analysis of this topic, What is Mass Shooting? What Can Be Done?, on the University of Pennsylvania, Department of Criminology website.

There are many ways to define mood, or national mood, but for this posting I have selected the following: the perceived emotional tone and general attitudes of the American people in 2022.

During my research, I found many references which discussed this topic but have pared down the list to the six items listed below. Some of the materials are primarily news articles and essays, some consist primarily of data derived from surveys, and others are a combination of the two. Looking at the materials through another lens, some of the articles emphasize politics, some economics, and others American society more generally. Finally, some of the articles examine the mood of American society primarily from within, while at least one article examines American moods and attitudes from an international perspective as viewed by others from throughout the world.

I will close by quoting from a 2018 New York Times Magazine article by Steven Hyden (IS THE NATIONAL MOOD THE ONE IN POLLS OR THE ONE ONLINE?, The New York Times Magazine, July 2, 2018).

Included below are my introductory remarks delivered at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries on July 23, 2012 as part Program E-1 State Advocacy Strategies: Learning to Connect, Grow and Survive. The material below includes only my introductory remarks and a series of slides (see link below) not included as AALL handouts. See added explanation below.

David Badertscher


The people at The Jury Expert are excited about moving to a new platrorm, WordPress, where they can incorporate a new look and possibly some new features as well. Below is their e-mail announcing the change and providing links so you can see for yourselves. Take a look:

The e-mail:

We are too excited to wait until our next issue to get this announcement out! The Jury Expert has moved to a WordPress platform and we are ready for our close-up. We invite you to visit and see how much easier it is to find what you’re looking for on our new site. One of the benefits of our new platform is we can use categories (see the right-hand side of the webpage for the category drop-down menu) to help you find what you need.

TITLE: The Fear Within

SUBTITLE: Spies, Commies, and American Democracy on Trial AUTHOR: Scott Martelle PUBLICATION DATE: May 2011

PUBLISHER: Rutgers University Press PAGE COUNT: 320 pp.

The following is a link to a a listing of towns in Union County New Jersey and the number of gangs reported to be established in each town, even many of the smaller ones. One reason for publishing this post is that we suspect this particular article may point to a very small representation of a much larger problem throughout the nation that should concern us all.

David Badertsher

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