Archive for November, 2015
A Minor Victory for Privacy: NSA’s Bulk Phone Collection Ends

The expiration of the National Security Agencies’ power to collect and indefinitely store all phone records is neither cause for raucous celebration among privacy advocates—nor cause for predictions of doom among hawks for national security powers, such as this by Fox News: The National Security Agency’s sweeping authority to collect phone-record data expired Sunday,...
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Hospital Ownership of Physicians Drives Up Costs

New research published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal supports, with rigorous data analysis, the notion that hospital ownership of medical practices drives up costs: Among the 240 Metropolitan Statistical Areas, physician-hospital integration increased from 2008 to 2012 by a mean of 3.3 percentage points, with considerable variation in increases across MSAs. For our study sample...
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Giving Thanks for Stores that Open on Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving is upon us. Tomorrow, millions of us will join together with friends and family to celebrate the Holiday. The day after, “Black Friday,” kicks off the holiday shopping season with a variety of sales. Once again, these sales are bringing controversy with them. It’s not the fact...
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The Pilgrims’ Real Thanksgiving Lesson

With Thanksgiving upon us once again, we offer a reminder of the economic lesson that made our first Thanksgiving possible: The Pilgrims’ Real Thanksgiving Lesson by Benjamin Powell Feast and football. That’s what many of us think about at Thanksgiving. Most people identify the origin of the holiday with the Pilgrims’ first bountiful harvest....
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Police Take More Property from People than Burglars

Most readers of The Beacon are probably familiar with the rise in civil asset forfeiture, which gives police the power to seize property they claim was used in criminal activity, often without accusing the property owner of a crime. They don’t have to. It’s up to property owners to prove they are innocent to...
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How Lord Acton Trumps George Orwell in The Hunger Games

Katniss Everdeen makes a choice in a pivotal scene in Mockingjay, the third book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, that had the potential to elevate her into the pantheon of pro-freedom heroines in contemporary fiction. Unfortunately, neither the book nor the movies leveraged this act to let Everdeen step onto that...
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U.S. Department Flunks Data Security ... Again

Earlier this week the full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform blasted the U.S. Department of Education for its lax security surrounding student data. But this isn’t the first time ED’s been taken to the woodshed. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported in 2011 that ED still hadn’t implemented security controls recommend in...
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Rosa Parks Day: The Triumph of Colorblindness and Capitalism

Sixty years ago, Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat for a white man and was arrested for disobeying Montgomery, Alabama’s segregation ordinance. The story is well-known, even today, as we celebrate “Rosa Parks Day” (December 1). Following her arrest, African Americans organized a boycott of the city’s privately-owned bus company. Martin Luther King, Jr. became spokesman for street protests and, ever since, the civil rights movement is remembered as a militant expression of civil disobedience and “taking it to the streets.” Within a year, the city ended desegregation, but not for the reasons you might think. The real heroes behind Rosa Parks were the NAACP lawyers who battered down the walls of institutional racism with the force of the constitution, color-blind law, and capitalist forces that worked against racism—hallmarks of the classic liberal tradition of civil rights.

The Hobgoblin of Separation of Ownership and Control

The Great Recession heightened people’s search for scapegoats. One common target was corporate management, accused of harming shareholders and consumers, rather than advancing their interests, with more government regulation put forward as the necessary solution. We saw it when the self-styled 99% blamed the 1% for their frustrations, when Hillary Clinton blamed weak economic...
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K-12 Course Choice: The Next Evolution in School Choice?

A fundamental tenet of parental choice in education is that students’ learning opportunities should be personalized rather than limited based on where their parents can afford to live. Online (or virtual) learning takes this concept even further by removing both geographical and temporal constraints. This month The Evergreen Education Group released its 11th annual...
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