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September 24, 2018

To the extent that police focus on revenue collection through fee and fine enforcement and civil asset forfeiture — a practice often dubbed "policing for profit," particularly when the funds are built into departmental or city budget plans — they solve fewer crimes, study results published Monday at The Washington Post show.

A trio of researchers compared Census Bureau data on municipal revenue collection with information from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program. After examining two years of data for 6,000 cities, they found police in cities that rely on fines for revenue crack significantly fewer cases.

The numbers are dramatic. In a hypothetical average city, if 1 percent of municipal revenue comes from fees, fines, and forfeitures, this model predicts the police department would solve 58 percent of violent crimes and 32 percent of property crimes. But if 3 percent of the revenue is collected this way, only 41 percent of violent crimes and 16 percent of property crimes would be solved.

Thus, the Post report summarizes, "cities where police are collecting revenue, communities are at once overpoliced — because they are charged with more fines and fees — and underpoliced — because serious crimes in their areas are less likely to be solved."

A 2013 study of towns in Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, and Mississippi found some municipal governments get more revenue from fines than from taxes. In a particularly egregious case, Henderson, Louisiana, obtained about $3.73 from fees, fines, and forfeitures for every $1 it collected in taxes. Other cities and towns across the country are increasingly relying on this sort of revenue collection to increase budgets without a formal tax hike. Bonnie Kristian

April 24, 2018

"There is a Revolution going on in California," President Trump opined on Twitter last week. "Soooo many Sanctuary areas want OUT of this ridiculous, crime infested & breeding concept."

Research by Tom K. Wong, an associate professor of political science at the University of California at San Diego, says otherwise. He interviewed a representative sample of nearly 600 illegal immigrants from Mexico in San Diego County, asking about how sanctuary city policies shape their interactions with police.

The results were dramatic: If "local law enforcement officials were working together with [Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)], 60.8 percent said they are less likely to report a crime they witnessed, and 42.9 percent said they are less likely to report being a victim of a crime." That stark difference held true across other scenarios, too:


(The Washington Post)

Wong concludes that sanctuary policies encourage undocumented immigrants to report crime to the police, and that "counties with sanctuary policies have less crime than comparable non-sanctuary counties, or that there is no statistically significant relationship between city sanctuary policies and increased crime rates." Read the full report here. Bonnie Kristian

April 9, 2018

President Trump performed best in the 2016 election in counties where news subscriptions are lowest, Politico reported Monday, based on an analysis of voting results and news subscription data from more than 90 percent of counties nationwide, Alaska excluded.

The study found low news subscription rates correlated with high support for Trump as compared to both his 2016 rival, Hillary Clinton, and the Republican Party's 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney. The correlation remained statistically significant even after controlling for other potentially explanatory factors, including employment and education.

These results give "new force to the widely voiced concerns of news-industry professionals and academicians about Trump's ability to make bold assertions about crime rates, unemployment, and other verifiable facts without any independent checks," Politico notes, suggesting "Trump did, indeed, do worse overall in places where independent media could check his claims."

The decline of local media outlets like town newspapers — particularly coupled with the rise of social media, which allows Trump to speak directly to his supporters without press interrogation of his claims — "could have made a decisive difference" in some counties' results, Politico concludes. It's a dynamic Trump seems to understand, given his frequent attacks on the press and his recognition that he probably would not be president "if it weren't for social media, to be honest with you." Bonnie Kristian

December 7, 2017

An estimated 15 million Americans will have clinical Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) by 2060, a concerning new study published Thursday found. The estimates mean that cases of Alzheimer's and MCI will more than double in four decades, as just 6 million cases have been recorded in 2017, HealthDay News reports.

The leap in numbers comes from the aging Baby Boomer generation, as about 47 million Americans currently live with "some evidence of preclinical Alzheimer's," said the study's author, Ron Brookmeyer. "Many of them will not progress to Alzheimer's dementia in their lifetimes. We need to have improved methods to identify which persons will progress to clinical symptoms, and develop interventions for them that could slow the progression of the disease, if not stop it altogether."

The study estimated that 9.3 million Americans would have Alzheimer's disease by 2060, and 40 percent of people living with Alzheimer's by then would need around-the-clock care, such as a placement in a nursing home. Another 5.7 million people would have the milder MCI, which HealthDay News describes as "significant short-term memory loss" but not necessarily "problems with daily functioning."

There is no cure for Alzheimer's, which is the fifth-leading cause of death for adults over the age of 65. Jeva Lange

August 22, 2017

If you're a politician looking to build up your social media following, your best bet is to avoid the political center. That's the conclusion of a new analysis by Pew Research Center, which found that the closer a lawmaker is to the ideological extremes, the larger their social media presence tends to be.


(Pew)

The disparity was stark. In the House, the representatives furthest to the left and right "had a median of 14,361 followers as of July 25, compared with 9,017 followers for those in the middle of the ideological spectrum," Pew reports. In the Senate, the more ideological lawmakers had a median following of 78,360. Centrists had just 32,626.

Beyond general polarization, Pew attributes its findings at least in part to a tendency among the politicians at the edges of the political spectrum to share more inflammatory — and thus more engaging — content. Lawmakers with a clear philosophical stance also tend to get more media exposure, Pew notes. Bonnie Kristian

August 1, 2017

The popular face of America's opioid epidemic is white and rural, but new research from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicates the crisis of opioid misuse and addiction has become just as pressing in urban areas.


(The Washington Post)

As The Washington Post reports, the study found that more than one-third of Americans were prescribed opioids in big cities, small towns, and rural areas alike. Within that group, about 1 in 10 prescription recipients misused the drugs across locational categories. Misuse without a diagnosis of an opioid use disorder was actually slightly more common in urban areas, while rural regions still remain the leader in diagnosed misuse. Bonnie Kristian

March 23, 2017

A study completed by the Women's Media Center (WMC) finds the Fox News website boasts the "best gender ratio" among its writers out of 20 major news outlets analyzed in the annual report. The WMC is led by feminist activists Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda, and its goal is to ensure women's representation in the press is on par with their representation in the population at large.

The Fox site achieved near-perfect parity between male and female writers, the study found, with 50.1 percent of its bylines naming men and 49.9 percent going to women. On average in the online outlets the report considered, men receive 53.9 percent of bylines to women's 46.1 percent.

Other media sectors were much further from gender parity, with broadcast media exhibiting the greatest imbalance. "Overall, men report 74.8 percent of the broadcast news; women report 25.2 percent," the WMC reports. "The study also found that men produce most stories on sports, weather, and crime and justice. Women's bylines are largely on lifestyle, health, and education news." Bonnie Kristian

December 8, 2016

The ideological uniformity of President-elect Donald Trump's Cabinet nominations to date is, perhaps, in the eye of the beholder: Those more sympathetic to the new president may be more likely to see a healthy "team of rivals" coming together, while critics see a dangerous mélange of yes-men and sycophants.

Americans should hope Trump's supporters are closer to the truth, argues Bilal Baloch, an Oxford scholar, at The Washington Post. Baloch's research indicates a rivalrous team of advisers is a bulwark against rash action and intolerance:

Ideologically plural governments are more likely to behave tolerantly. Ideas act as weapons, and no one position can "win out" and undo institutional integrity. In other words, what's key to a government that behaves tolerantly isn't sharing a partisan ideology, be it conservative or liberal; rather, it's having internal ideological checks and balances, including administration officials in positions of power who vigorously disagree amongst themselves. [...]

If presidents or prime ministers plan to govern in an authoritarian manner, they will emphasize loyalty when picking advisers and by relying more on military and security personnel. If they plan to govern democratically, they will emphasize selecting advisers with legislative and political experience who can advance the policy agenda effectively. [The Washington Post]

Read the rest of Baloch's analysis here. Bonnie Kristian

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