Today's News & Commentary — August 19

Published August 19th, 2014 -  - 08.19.14


In the information and technology age, arrest information is more accessible to employers, banks, landlords and college administrators than ever before—parties who routinely check this information online. For many individuals with arrest records, even for those for whom charges were never filed against, whose charges were dropped, or for those who were mistakenly arrested and later cleared locally, the damaging arrest documents may still linger, ruining chances at stable housing, good jobs, loans and higher education. The FBI estimates that over the past 20 years, authorities have made more than a quarter of a billion arrests, the Wall Street Journal reports. University of South Carolina researchers have been examining national data to understand the long-term impact of arrests on young people. Their results suggest that men with arrest records—even absent a formal charge or conviction—go on to earn lower salaries, are less likely to own a home or graduate, and more likely to live below the poverty line.

Satellite broadcasters Dish Network and DirecTV will make a big entrance into the political ad economy this year, vying for their share of political spending that could top $3 billion, the LA Times reports. Historically, the broadcasters have been on the sidelines during the campaign cash grab because their commercials were only directed towards a national audience, without the ability to target local communities in the way local TV and radio stations could. DirecTV and Dish, who formed a partnership this year called D2 Media Sales, are using digital technology to match voter registration information with subscriber homes. The satellite giants have bought access to databases containing voter information on 190 million people. That data will allow them to target ads at partisan and swing voters like satellite companies have never been able to do before. And in the post Citizens United era of fewer restrictions on campaign and election spending, the consumer market for their product has never been bigger, and the dollars will continue to roll in.  

Attacks on international aid workers have been on the rise in the last year and a half, with surges in the number of abductions, killings and injuries, The New York Times reports. Humanitarian Outcomes, a humanitarian advisory group, compiles the data for the Aid Worker Security Database. The group reported that in 2013 there were 460 attacks on aid workers—155 aid workers were killed, 171 seriously injured, and 134 were abducted. These figures represent a 66 percent increase from the numbers reported for the previous year. Preliminary numbers for 2014 show that 79 aid workers have been killed as of this month. The database shows that the most prevalent form of violence against aid workers is a roadside ambush or attack while the intended victims are traveling.

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