You are browsing the archive for 2019 October 08.

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Halloween Costumes That Disguised, Spooked and Thrilled Through the Ages: Photos

October 8, 2019 in History

By Becky Little

In the early 20th century, costumes were mostly meant to be spooky. Today, they often reflect the movies we like and the politicians we hate.

You can tell a lot about a particular era of American history by looking at its , and kids particularly liked dressing up as the titular alien in E.T.

READ MORE: 6 Horror Movies Inspired by Real Stories

“Sexy” costumes for women were common from the 1960s onward and in the 1990s, “sexy” versions of store-bought costumes became an established commercial product. Manufacturers also sold costumes based on highly charged current events. In 1995, the year of the O.J. Simpson trial, costume shops sold masks of both Simpson and the presiding Judge Ito.

In a less controversial trend, costume companies have also marketed costumes inspired by TV shows. For example, in 2019, new Golden Girls costumes for Blanche, Dorothy, Rose and Sophia became available—although it’s probably easier (and definitely cheaper) to put together a DIY version with mom’s old clothes.

…read more

Source: HISTORY

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Safehouse Will Face More Legal Hurdles, but Those Objections Won’t Hold Up

October 8, 2019 in Economics

By Clark Neily, Jeffrey A. Singer

Clark Neily and Jeffrey A. Singer

U.S. District Judge Gerald McHugh ruled last week that the proposal from “Safehouse” — a nonprofit planning to open a privately-funded safe injection facility supported by citizens including former Gov. Ed Rendell — does not violate federal law. This means a public health measure proven for decades to prevent opioid overdoses and foster recovery from substance use disorder is a step closer to being available for residents of Philadelphia.

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While this is encouraging news, backers of Safehouse will face additional legal hurdles, including an appeal of Judge McHugh’s ruling to the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Fortunately, there is a way forward for Safehouse and other facilities like it.

The legal battle has gone on for some time. Wrangling over the legal status of Safehouse’s plan commenced in February, when U.S. Attorney William McSwain filed suit seeking a declaratory judgment that the proposed facility would violate the 1984 federal “Crack House Statute.” This law makes it a crime to “knowingly and intentionally” make an facility available “for the purpose of unlawfully using a controlled substance.”

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The Justice Department has been adamant that this language applies to safe injection facilities like Safehouse. In 2018, then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein even took to the pages of The New York Times to warn that any attempt to open such a facility anywhere in the country would face “swift and aggressive action.”

But Judge McHugh rebuffed that response last week in a thoughtful and exceptionally thorough opinion, determining that a law designed to punish people who deliberately encourage illicit drug use could not plausibly be read to apply to people, like the backers of Safehouse, whose goal is to reduce overall drug use by helping guide individual users off the path of addiction and into recovery.

DOJ will challenge that interpretation on appeal by arguing that providing a …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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State Tests Deter Private Schools from Participating in Voucher Programs

October 8, 2019 in Economics

By Corey A. DeAngelis

Corey A. DeAngelis

The State Board of Education recently held a rule-making hearing for Tennessee’s new education savings account program. The goal of one rule, requiring private schools participating in the program to show students’ academic growth, is clear: ensure that private schools are providing high-quality educations. One way to do that is to require private schools to administer the state standardized test. The only problem is that the existing evidence suggests this well-meaning regulation could have the opposite of its intended effect. Here’s why.

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Private schools decide whether to participate in school choice programs each year. Because additional regulations are the primary costs associated with participation, they reduce the quantity of private schools available to families. And because the lower-quality private schools are the most strapped for cash, these regulations are more likely to deter the higher-quality schools. Two random assignment studies exist on this topic. In the first study, published in Social Science Quarterly, Patrick J. Wolf, Lindsey M. Burke and I used surveys to randomly assign various regulations to private school leaders in Florida and asked them whether they would participate in a hypothetical voucher program the following year.

Autonomy matters to private schools

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We found that the state testing mandate reduced the likelihood that private school leaders were certain to participate by 46 percent. Our second study similarly found that the state testing mandate reduced participation by 29 percent in California and New York. However, we found no evidence that nationally norm-referenced testing mandates affected program participation.

The takeaway? Private schools really care about their autonomy. And if you are going to have a testing mandate, at least allow private schools to choose a nationally norm-referenced test to prevent discouraging program participation. Both studies also found some evidence to suggest that the state testing regulation disproportionately deterred the higher-quality private schools from participating. In other words, the state testing regulation can have the opposite of its desired effect. Non-experimental studies on the subject …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Yes, Donald Trump Dumped the Kurds (And We Should Not Be Shocked)

October 8, 2019 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

President Trump has apparently decided to make a major shift in Washington’s policy regarding the Syrian Kurds. Instead of opposing Turkey’s use of force to clear out Kurdish- controlled territory in northern Syria, Washington now seems willing to step aside. That move would be a rather cynical betrayal of the Kurds, but not a surprising one.

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Until now, Trump had largely continued the Obama administration’s policy of regarding Kurdish forces as useful military allies in Syria’s violent, multi-sided internecine conflict. In particular, Kurdish militias were quite effective in inflicting defeats on ISIS and other jihadi forces in northeastern Syria. The United States provided funding, training, and weaponry to Kurdish units, and seemed willing to look the other way as the Kurds pursued their political goal of establishing a de facto autonomous region in northern Syria similar to the entity their brethren in Iraq have maintained since the early 1990s.

There was one awkward, increasingly troublesome problem with Washington’s approach, however. Turkish leaders regard Kurdish separatist ambitions in both Iraq and Syria as a grave threat to Turkey’s own territorial integrity, given the size of the restless Kurdish population in southeastern Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government charges that Syrian and Iraqi Kurds have ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party, which has waged a sporadic secessionist war in southeastern Turkey for decades. Turkey’s resentment at U.S. policy toward the Syrian Kurds is not a minor concern to Washington, since the country is an important NATO ally.

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President Trump already beat a modest retreat in November 2017 to placate Ankara when Erdogan reacted furiously to Washington’s continued support of Syrian Kurdish military actions. Washington relented, with Trump pledging to stop arming those forces. The administration also stood by when Turkish military incursions into northern Syria began in early 2018. Washington’s awkward diplomatic tightrope act of backing Kurdish forces against jihadi adversaries while accepting Turkey’s coercive actions against the Kurds now seems to be coming to …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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A Burst of Privatization Looks Imminent in India

October 8, 2019 in Economics

By Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar

Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar

Is Narendra Modi the incrementalist suddenly becoming Modi the radical reformer? In his first term as Indian prime minister, from 2014-2019, Mr Modi made a number of small changes but avoided sweeping liberalisation of the economy. The first budget of his second term, presented in July, promised more of the same.

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That approach is suddenly changing. Last month the government slashed the corporate tax rate from 30 per cent to 22 per cent (plus surcharges), and to 15 per cent for greenfield investments in manufacturing made by April 2023. India is at last competitive with its Asian rivals; companies exiting China have mostly moved factories to Vietnam and Bangladesh but can now consider India.

Next, some of India’s biggest and best public sector companies are about to be privatised. In his first term, Mr Modi privatised nothing. He sold minority stakes in many public companies to raise revenue, but kept management control. A halfhearted attempt to privatise Air India last year attracted no bids because of onerous sale conditions. That fiasco put privatisation on the back burner.

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Today, a burst of privatisation looks imminent. Last week, a committee cleared the sale of government stakes in five companies. The matter will now go to a cabinet committee that is expected to clear it quickly, so that sales can be completed by the end of this fiscal year in March 2020. The star on the auction block, Bharat Petroleum, is India’s sixth largest company by sales. The Container Corporation of India is a major logistics company specialising in moving railway containers. The Shipping Corporation of India is the country’s biggest. The other two candidates are smaller and will probably be bought by larger public companies and don’t constitute genuine privatization. But the first three companies …read more

Source: OP-EDS