Tag Archives: PolicyMic

Parents Are Freaking Out Over This Textbook’s Sex Advice

Parents Are Freaking Out Over This Textbook’s Sex Advice

“…Becky Bruno, another parent, planned to sign the petition to ban the book, but then stopped herself after she actually read the book. “I was expecting to see explicit pictures, expecting controversial information, and I didn’t find that in the book,” she told the Mercury News. “Yes, there is a section on sexual health, but the pictures are drawings of anatomy and would be the same thing they were exposed to in elementary and middle school. I didn’t see anything that would be categorized as pornography, and that’s what some of the parents are saying.”..”


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America’s Best Internet Is in the City You’d Least Expect

America’s Best Internet Is in the City You’d Least Expect

“…Here’s how it works: More than 20 states have laws that won’t let local communities compete with telecom companies. Tennessee, for instance, has a law that won’t allow EPB to operate outside the city. So, while EPB would love to offer faster, cheaper Internet to the one in five Tennessee residents who has no Internet access, it needs permission from the FCC to preempt its state law.

The FCC, in a fit of common sense, has signalled that it would allow this preemption to occur. House Republicans want that to be illegal, protecting cable companies instead. Their argument is framed around states’ rights — thanks to the state non-compete laws — while ignoring the fact that the national government would be telling local towns and cities what they can and can’t do.

Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who introduced the amendment in the House, was called “Big Telecom’s best friend in Congress” by Vice. AT&T and Verizon are her second- and third-largest donors, and Comcast as well as the National Cable and Telecommunications Association have chipped in tens of thousands each…”

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7 Ways the CIA Helped Totally Screw Up the Middle East

7 Ways the CIA Helped Totally Screw Up the Middle East

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No, Concealed Carry Permits Do Not Result in a Lower Murder Rate

No, Concealed Carry Permits Do Not Result in a Lower Murder Rate

“The news: Almost everyday, new studies claim to definitively prove something (like whether coffee is good or bad for you). The public is often eager to believe “scientific proof,” but many people don’t realize they aren’t getting the full story.

That’s the case with the most recent study from the Crime Prevention Research Center that allegedly proves a link between more concealed carry permits in the U.S. and a decline in the national murder rate.

The broader picture, though, illuminates much less conclusive evidence. And if you can pull at least one loose string, the foundation for an argument starts to completely unravel.

So who exactly conducted the study? The Crime Prevention Research Center was started by economist, researcher and pro-gun advocate John Lott, who also spearheaded this latest report titled, “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States.

The think tank’s mission is to “advance the scientific understanding of the relationship between laws regulating the ownership or use of guns, crime and public safety,” which directly undermines the idea that studies should be founded in unbiased claims.

Consider the language used in the report. The study reports that over 11 million Americans, nearly 5% of the population, currently have permits to carry concealed weapons. However, this data, the report admits, may not be representational because numbers for every state are not available and it doesn’t account for people that have permits but do not carry their weapons.

The main argument is that two things that happened simultaneously are related: A 22% drop in murder rates and a 103% spike in gun permits during 2007 and 2013. The report concludes that by “using this new state level permit data from 2007 on, our analysis suggests that each one percentage point increase in the percent of the adult population holding permits is roughly associated with a 1.4 percent drop in the murder rate.”

Words like “suggest” and “roughly associated” are dubious and opaque. The report doesn’t seem to take into account matters like improved policing or high incarceration rates that can also be attributed to the drop in murder rate. Just because things happen concurrently, does not mean that they are mutually exclusive.

Other organizations have found the opposite: there is no link. A 2013 report from the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council found that firearm related homicides in the U.S. are “19.5 times higher than the rates in other high-income countries.” Handguns are used in more than 87% of violent crimes because they’re “easily concealable.”

However, this same study reported that defensive uses of guns consistently lowers injury rates of victims compared to those victims without guns. But an earlier 2004 study from a committee within the National Research Council stated that they discovered “No link between right-to-carry laws and changes in crime … in the raw data.”

This reaffirmed what the CDC discovered in 2003 when they conducted a comprehensive study about firearm laws and their effectiveness in preventing violence. “Results of studies of firearms and ammunition bans were inconsistent: certain studies indicated decreases in violence associated with bans, and others indicated increases,” the report concluded.

Comparing the other reports with Lott and his study, the new results are controversial at best. Lott wove together ideas about concealed guns that can be, “roughly associated” with reducing homicide rates in the U.S. But there is not enough hard-hitting proof to declare a direct causation between a drop in murder rates and a rise in concealed weapons. And until that is proven, Lott, other politicians, and NRA advocates should be weary of misleading the public with abstract and unsubstantiated language.”

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How Big Tobacco Engineered Cigarettes to Be More Deadly and Addictive Than Ever

how, big, tobacco, engineered, cigarettes, to, be, more, deadly, and, addictive, than, ever,

“…Because it’s so addictive, a group of European scientists wrote in a 2010 report that tobacco has a higher risk of addicting its users than heroin, cocaine, alcohol or marijuana.

Between 1999 and 2011, cigarette companies increased the average nicotine yield, the amount of nicotine delivered in smoke, by almost 15%…”

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by | June 30, 2014 · 7:35 pm

Study Shows the Shocking Result When White and Black People Sell the Same Thing on Craigslist

“…On average, black sellers received 13% fewer responses and 17% fewer offers. When they did get offers, they were worse — about $3.56 lower per proposition than whites’ median offers.

Even more disturbingly is that many potential buyers seemed wary of the black posters. An ad featuring a black hand got 17% fewer emails, while 44% fewer respondents were willing to accept delivery by mail. The respondants were also 56% more likely to express some skepticism about paying long-distance. Black sellers did particularly badly in the northeast and in racially isolated or high-crime areas.

That said, men with tattoos — who served as what the authors called a “‘suspicious’ white control group” — experienced similar rates of discrimination. Both groups received slightly less politely worded emails, though that variable wasn’t statistically significant…”

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by | June 27, 2014 · 10:07 pm

Science Reveals How the Brains of Social Justice Activists Are Different From Everyone Else’s

“…People who are more sensitive to the ideas of fairness and equity are driven by logic, not emotion, according to a recent University of Chicago study published in the Journal of Neuroscience…

The research suggests that human rights and environmentalist organizations could get more public support by appealing to people’s sense of logic and reason rather than to their emotions. Efforts to combat global warming, for example, saw a surge in public support after scientists and statisticians began publishing data about how much sea levels and temperatures would rise instead of sad polar bears on a floating iceberg.

Perhaps your activist alter-ego was more level-headed than you thought.”





(My bolds are applicable to those thoroughly depressing commercials about abused animals and hungry children.)

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by | June 26, 2014 · 9:20 pm