That Miley Cyrus captures more attention than escalating war in Syria is, by now, conventional wisdom. But an exhaustive survey of news sources now reveals exactly how much attention Miley steals: Americans viewed twelve times as many pages about Miley Cyrus as they did about Syria — even though the news sources published 2.4 Syria articles for every one about Miley. Outbrain supplies… Read more →
The Justice Department is planning to alter its policy on charging some drug offenders so that they will no longer face mandatory minimum prison sentences, according to remarks prepared for delivery Monday by Attorney General Eric Holder. In an address due to be given to the American Bar Association in San Francisco, Holder said he is mandating that drug offenders… Read more →
WASHINGTON – The non-partisan Government Accountability Office confirmed Thursday it is launching an investigation into how the country’s largest abortion provider spent millions of taxpayer dollars.
Planned Parenthood received more than a half billion dollars in federal funding last year. The GAO’s investigation is in response to a request made by more than 50 members of Congress in February who asked for a detailed report on how money is being used by Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers across the country.
Specifically, lawmakers want to know what procedures and services they provided and the number of people who were served and how much it cost.
The GAO’s investigation comes on the heels of a settlement involving a Texas affiliate of the organization, which paid $4.3 million in July to settle allegations of fraud in billing to a health program for the poor. The settlement was $3 million more than what had been announced earlier by the Texas Attorney General.
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A new study by University of California-San Diego economics professor James Hamilton finds that the United States has over $70 trillion in off-balance sheet liabilities–an amount nearly six times the on-balance-sheet debt figure. The Treasury debt outstanding is $16.74 trillion. Of that, $4.84 trillion is money the U.S. owes itself. For that reason, explains Matt Phillips of Quartz, “many analysts tend to focus on… Read more →
School officials in Florida are defending a textbook that declares Muhammad as the “Messenger of God” after critics accused an Islamic education group of launching a stealth jihad in American public school classrooms. The Prentice World History textbook being used in Brevard Public Schools includes a 36-page chapter on Islam but no chapters on Christianity or Judaism. According to a… Read more →
During infectious disease outbreaks, personal freedom comes at a price: the welfare of the public as a whole, a new study finds.
In the research, scientists investigated whether, in the event of an outbreak, people should be allowed to move about freely or if authorities should enforce travel restrictions to halt the disease’s spread.
“What we were trying to understand better is how actions, in terms of routing humans, could affect the spread of disease,” said study researcher Ruben Juanes, a geoscientist at MIT in Cambridge, Mass. [The 5 Most Likely Real-Life Contagions]
The findings suggest that highly connected regions of dense commuter traffic carry the gravest consequences of allowing free movement.
The price of anarchy
The researchers borrowed a concept from game theory known as the “price of anarchy,” which they defined as “the loss of welfare due to selfish rerouting compared with the policy-driven coordination.”
Juanes and colleagues modeled the epidemic problem as two scenarios. In a free-movement scenario, people act selfishly to avoid infected areas, regardless of whether or not they themselves are infected, Juanes told LiveScience. In a policy-driven scenario, government agencies dictate that infected individuals move only within infected areas, while healthy individuals keep to unaffected areas, he said.
If the price of personal freedom is low — the spread of the disease is similar whether or not movement controls are imposed — it provides a clear answer regarding restrictions, Juanes said. “You come to the conclusion that it’s not worth doing,” he said, adding that these restrictions could be very costly and unpopular.
But if the price of such freedom is high, and movement restrictions could significantly slow the disease’s progression, government agencies might want to implement these policies, Juanes said.
The researchers looked at census data on the passage of commuters within and among U.S. counties. Scientists compared how the disease would spread in different counties under the two different scenarios.
Not all areas would benefit equally from such restrictions, the findings showed. Places that had high traffic both within and among counties saw the most benefit from restricting travel. For example, counties near a major interstate highway, such as I-80 from New York to San Francisco or I-95 from the Canadian border to Miami, had a higher cost of anarchy — meaning travel restrictions would be helpful.
By contrast, low traffic areas did not benefit much from travel restrictions, so their cost of anarchy was lower, the model showed.
Surprisingly, some densely trafficked areas still wouldn’t benefit much from travel restrictions. The policies only benefitted high-traffic regions that were near other high-traffic areas. “It was only when we established the longer-range correlation [with neighboring high-traffic areas] that we could make sense of it,” Juanes said.
Fox News has the full article
(Photo: The price of anarchy, two weeks after an epidemic starts from each county in the East Coast of the United States. The price of anarchy measures the difference in spread of a disease between selfish (uncoordinated) and policy-driven (coordinated). (C. Nicolaides/Juanes Research Group/MIT))
In an interview on National Public Radio (NPR), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said her new agenda for women will give mothers access to day care so they can “earn without carrying the burden of child care.” During the interview, aired on Weekend Edition Sunday, Pelosi spoke about her newly announced agenda, which is on her website, and is titled, “When Women Succeed,… Read more →
***WARNING SOME STRONG LANGUAGE***
Last week, Reason.tv followed investment guru, radio show host, and unflappable defender of capitalism Peter Schiff as he spent three hours among the Occupy Wall Street protesters in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park.
An unapologetic member of “the 1 Percent,” Schiff argued with all comers for the better part of an afternoon.
Schiff is no ordinary observer. As the prinicipal of the financial firm Euro Pacific Capital, he’s a full-fledged and unapologetic member of “the 1 Percent.” As an outspoken radio show host and commentator, he not only predicted the housing crash and financial crisis, he railed bank and auto-sector bailouts as they were happening. Schiff believes that capitalism offers is the only hope for young, frustrated people to have a vibrant and prosperous future. So he went to Occupy Wall Street to engage and debate the protesters.
***WARNING SOME STRONG LANGUAGE***
CNN’s Don Lemon revives the “No Talking Points” segment, taking on issues in the black community.