At once creative and conservative, Friedman offers a timely blueprint for recovering democratic control of local and...

UNWARRANTED

POLICING WITHOUT PERMISSION

A law professor diagnoses the ills of American policing and prescribes a healthy dose of sunlight.

"Policing in the United States—from the overzealous beat cop all the way to the NSA—is out of control," writes Friedman (Law/New York Univ. School of Law; The Will of the People: How Public Opinion Has Influenced the Supreme Court and Shaped the Meaning of the Constitution, 2009, etc.), and the fault lies not with the police but with us. Unlike most other governmental functions, policing largely proceeds without democratically endorsed rules provided in advance; legislatures and courts have shown neither the inclination nor the capacity to provide this guidance. Police have therefore been left to define their own, possibly unwritten, policies, which have often been kept secret. Too often, the result is a trampling of individual rights that would never have been publicly approved and a waste of resources on ineffective procedures. Among other proposals, Friedman advocates that courts impose more rigorous demands for warrants supported by probable cause for searches and surveillance and refuse to support policing techniques or uses of new technologies that have not been explicitly authorized by local or state authority. The author presents an incisive analysis of the pitfalls that have frustrated previous attempts to regulate policing and shows how attempts by the courts to do the job have resulted instead in an erosion of constitutional protections and individuals' rights to privacy. He also considers the special problems of oversight presented by the recent transition of policing from reactive pursuit of wrongdoers to regulatory mass surveillance intended to deter crime. Friedman's lively writing and clarity of expression enable him to make the thicket of applicable Fourth Amendment law readily understandable for general readers, helpfully illuminated by the personal stories behind the case law.

At once creative and conservative, Friedman offers a timely blueprint for recovering democratic control of local and national law enforcement.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-374-28045-1

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

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WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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