Will FDA Approve Biogen’s Promising New Treatment for Alzheimer’s?

We’re only a few weeks into the new year, and the Food and Drug Administration will soon make a decision that will affect pharmaceutical regulation for decades.

Last year, after failing an FDA-required futility test, Biogen abandoned its efforts to develop an Alzheimer’s treatment named aducanumab. However, after conducting an analysis using an expanded dataset, Biogen found the drug successfully curbed memory loss and helped maintain cognitive abilities

Federal Reserve Underwrites Washington’s Spending Binge

On October 11, 2019, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced it would begin buying billions of Treasury bills every month to ensure the nation’s banking system would have “ample reserves” through the end of 2019 as part of its efforts to help prevent a liquidity crisis from wreaking havoc in U.S. money markets.

Iran’s Greatest Myth: Moderates Waiting in the Wings

Every time Iran is in the news, the same old myths about the country’s politics seem to fill the airwaves and the print media, fueled by politicians and commentators.

By far the most important myth is the one that divides the regime between hardliners and moderates. According to this view, a significant part of the establishment, including President Hassan Rouhani himself, is made up of closet moderates who are waiting for the opportunity to restore relations with the West and reform, perhaps even dismantle, the political system and begin a transition. The opportunity for them to overthrow the Ayatollah and the mullahs, the story goes, will come about as a result of western pressure.

Pentagon Announces New Strategy for Combating Price Gougers: Paying Attention

The U.S. Department of Defense has a big problem with part suppliers who exploit government regulations over time to jack up the prices of products far above what it costs to make them, costing taxpayers millions of dollars more than they should have to pay for them. In particular, the firm TransDigm has been singled out for its business practices in this area.

 

But now, the Pentagon is going to start fighting back by doing something it has rarely done in its history: pay attention to what it is paying for the unique parts and equipment it needs to buy to ensure military readiness. Bloomberg‘s Anthony Capaccio has the story:

Bombshell Bombs With Too Much Hollywood, Too Little Real Life

Bombshell, the narrative film chronicling sexual harassment at Fox News, appears to be a dud at the box office. After three weeks in theaters, it still hasn’t generated enough revenue to cover its production budget, a leading indicator of commercial failure. Yet, the movie has A-List actors, directors, producers, and a timely topic. What happened?

PBS Honors Smokey Robinson but Dishonorably Hustles for Taxpayer Dollars

On a weekend of NFL playoff games, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) offered up a re-run from 2017. The show honored Smokey Robinson, winner of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2016. While honoring Robinson, PBS gave plenty of screen time to politicians such as Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy, and that was no accident.

The budget of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is $449 million, the bulk of it from direct government grants. President Trump wants to eliminate that funding, so the PBS re-run was all about keeping the taxpayer dollars coming. Though well worth watching, with various artists singing tunes Smokey had performed or composed, the show glossed over a few things.

Is the Federal Bureaucracy America’s Nobility?

In last month’s impeachment hearings, Stanford University law professor Pamela Karlan testified that the U.S. Constitution does not allow titles of nobility. Professor Karlan intended a witticism about Barron Trump, the president’s 13-year-old son, but she managed to raise an issue often overlooked: the possibility that America’s vast federal bureaucracy offers the equivalent to titles of nobility.

Little Women Shows Timelessness of “Coming of Age”

Greta Gerwig further establishes herself as one of Hollywood’s most capable filmmakers with Little Women. The movie is based on Louisa May Alcott’s coming of age novel about four sisters growing up in Civil War-era New England. In the film, Gerwig has given new currency and relevance to the 19th-century novel without uprooting its themes or insights into family dynamics. 

The publication of Alcott’s novel in 1868 was a sensation in itself. Nineteenth-century America provided few opportunities for women. They could not vote. Personal wealth became the property of husbands at marriage. Husbands even had legal control over their children. Disempowered by culture and the legal system, women aspired to marry a good man with wealth. Love and romance were a luxury. Alcott’s novel took on all of those issues, and more while staying grounded in the complexities of life where dreams do not always meet practical reality.

A Broken Track for California’s Zombie Bullet Train

California’s costly high-speed bullet train boondoggle has officially entered a zombie-like state of existence, neither truly alive nor fully dead.

Shortly after announcing the massively expensive transportation infrastructure project would never connect the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco as originally promised, Governor Gavin Newsom quickly backtracked in an effort to keep $3.5 billion of federal transportation dollars flowing into the state, promising to connect the state’s impoverished rural Central Valley to the prosperous edge of Silicon Valley with high-speed rail.

Faction: The Underlying Cause of Anger and Hatred in America

Anger and hatred are recurring themes in commentaries exploring the fragmentation of American society. The growing prevalence of political faction is a principal, yet often unacknowledged cause of this fragmentation. Efforts by America’s founders to control factions in perpetuity, via both direct and spontaneous means, appear to be failing.

The founders understood the potentially disruptive power of faction within a democratic republic. They took seriously the philosopher Thomas Hobbes’ pejorative characterization of faction as representing “a city within a city ... an enemy within the walls.” Accordingly, they sought to constrain the political phenomenon that Adam Smith described as “the clamorous opportunity of partial interests” to transform State power into the weapon of choice for waging neo-Hobbesian warfare.

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  • MyGovCost.org
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  • elindependent.org