The Evolving Urban Form: Tianjin

Tianjin is located on Bohai Gulf, approximately 75 miles (120 kilometers) from Beijing. It was the...

Snus Users’ Hearts Keep on Ticking, Not Fluttering

Swedish researchers from several institutions document that snus use is not associated with atrial...

State Ballot Measures Tackle Sugared Drinks, Drug Restrictions, Insurers

In addition to two statewide measures on the ballot in California on Election Day, several states...

Progressives and Insurers, Living Together...

Usually, cats and dogs aren't known for cuddling up together (there's a reason Dr. Venkman cited "...

“Where to Watch” Piracy Decrease

The Internet ecosystem just added a new tool to preserve the property of rights holders even while...

Premium Calculator Allows Pre-and Post-Obamacare Comparisons

An online tool created by the Foundation for Government Accountability is helping cut through the...
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Education

Common Core Test Chaos, Take 27

School Choice Weekly #63 Last week, an ed pundit and a mom faced off to debate whether repealing Common Core had plunged Oklahoma into “chaos,” as pundit Michael Petrilli had asserted on Twitter. This week, new information suggests states clinging to Common Core are in for even more chaos than those that exit into a more productive course. From Politico’s Morning Education newsletter Tuesday: …...

Environment

Using Coal, Oil and Gas, the Moral Choice

Climate Change Weekly #147 Review: Alex Epstein, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, Penguin Publishing, November 2014; 248 pages; ISBN-10: 1591847443, ISBN-13: 978-1591847441, $20.89 on Amazon. In his new book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, Alex Epstein makes one of the most compelling arguments for the moral value of fossil fuels and the need to increase their use I have ever read. Epstein is...

CO2 Increase Is Not a Nemesis, Science Shows

  Despite increasing amounts of CO2 gas in the atmosphere, mean global surface temperatures have not shown any increase over the past 18 years. In addition: • Raw U.S. mean surface temperatures and daily high surface temperature records (without any tampering) have shown a weak decline since the warm 1930s period. • Winter snow cover has been gradually increasing across the northern...

GAO: Crop Insurance Subsidies Cost Taxpayers Billions

  A new study by the Government Accountability Office has found crop insurance subsidies cost taxpayers approximately $9 billion per year, and are continuing to rise. Originally designed to help farmers in the wake of the drought that coincided with the Great Depression, federal crop insurance was little utilized until 1980, when the government began paying approximately one-third of farmers...

Finance & Insurance

Gordon Tullock, R.I.P.

Gordon Tullock, one of the truly great economists of the 20th century, passed away on Monday. He was 92. Tullock is best known for the role he played in founding the “public choice” school of economics, which subjects political decisions and programs to rigorous economic analysis, and for promoting the idea of “rent seeking,” whereby the origins of many regulations are tracked back to the self-...

Toxic “Consumer-Friendly” Insurance Laws More Bane than Boon to Homeowners

Reflexively responding to the 2008 financial crisis, many government regulators moved to reduce the burden of toxic assets in the financial market, after widespread speculation instigated a credit crunch and contributed to the economic slowdown. Yet, despite the consensus that it was these firms’ inability to shed these assets which instigated their failure, many state governments continue to use...

Private Companies Mimic Government’s ‘Choke Point’ Program

Earlier this year, an innovative new credit-card processing service company quietly changed its terms of service to exclude legitimate firearms transactions, seemingly falling into compliance with federal law-enforcement agencies’ crackdown on certain “high-risk” — but legal — industries. Square, the card reading mobile app which allows payment processing for merchants through their cell phones...

Health

Gruber and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Month (*Updated)

November has not been kind to Jonathan Gruber, a very smart man who has said some astonishingly stupid things. Several videos have surfaced this month showing Gruber, an MIT professor who is widely recognized as one of the key architects of Obamacare, mocking the intelligence of people who bought the party line about Obamacare (although Gruber refers to the "American voter" as being deceived, it'...

State Ballot Measures Tackle Sugared Drinks, Drug Restrictions, Insurers

In addition to two statewide measures on the ballot in California on Election Day, several states and cities also addressed obesity, experimental drug treatments for the terminally ill, and limited provider insurance networks at the ballot box on November 4. Berkley, San Francisco: Soda Taxes Voters in Berkeley, California approved Measure D, to levy a penny-per-ounce tax on most sugar-sweetened...

Premium Calculator Allows Pre-and Post-Obamacare Comparisons

An online tool created by the Foundation for Government Accountability is helping cut through the debate over whether the Affordable Care Act, more popularly known as Obamacare, raised insurance premiums. Available online at http://uncoverobamacare.com/premium-calculator/, the tool allows visitors to enter their age range and state, and find out what the least expensive, most expensive, and...

Taxes

San Francisco Voters Sour on Soft Drinks Sin Tax

In November, voters in San Francisco rejected a proposal to add taxes on sugary beverages sold within the city—a “sin tax” with the stated goal of reducing consumption of such products by collecting revenue from people’s consumption of soda and other beverages. If enacted, the tax would have imposed a $0.24 excise tax on soft drinks, increasing government revenue by an estimated $31 million per...

Budget Rules May ‘Encourage’ Agencies’ Year-End Shopping Sprees

Scholars from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University searched through numerous public spending databases for evidence of wasteful “use it or lose” spending by government agencies. As described in Missouri State Auditor Thomas Schweich’s 2012 examination of state spending practices, government officials often have “a concern that lapsing funds would result in future agency budget cuts,” as...

Property Tax Reform Gains Support in Pennsylvania Statehouse

Although a bill aimed at relieving homeowners’ tax burdens died without receiving a full hearing, potential support for property tax reform in the Pennsylvania has grown, due to the results of the November elections. Twenty new incoming state representatives have not indicated opposition to a comprehensive reforms of the state’s tax structure, nicknamed the “the Property Tax Independence Act (...

Tech

Thinking the Unthinkable - Part IV

I was gratified by the excellent attendance at the Free State Foundation’s program last Friday titled, “Thinking the Unthinkable: Imposing the ‘Utility Model’ on Internet Providers.” If you weren’t there, you missed what was a very important event – one that, in light of the substantive discussions that occurred, likely will play an important role going forward in the debate over the...

The GoogleNet Playbook & Zero Pricing – A Special Report

GoogleNet is Google’s vision to leverage its proliferating dominance by offering global, near-free Internet-access, mobile connectivity, and Internet-of-Things connectivity via a global, largely-wireless, Android-based, “GoogleNet,” that is subsidized by Google’s search and search advertising dominance and by “open Internet” zero pricing of downstream Internet traffic. A near-free global...