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Gene Therapy: A Promising Medical Frontier Hindered by Regulatory Roadblocks
Friday December 8, 2023 | Raymond J. March

Maddy Smith was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)—an extremely rare but debilitating genetic disorder—as an infant. SMA is a neuromuscular condition that robs victims of the ability to move, swallow, and sometimes breathe without assistance. Shortly before she turned two, Maddy still lacked the strength to crawl or eat solid foods.  (more…)

Secretary Cardona’s Quagmire
Thursday December 7, 2023 | K. Lloyd Billingsley

“I think it was President Reagan who said, ‘We’re from the government. We’re here to help!’” That was a recent post from Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, who has it wrong. President Reagan actually said: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” It’s a funny mistake for an education secretary, but it’s understandable. (more…)

Dissecting San Francisco’s Housing Crisis: The Evolution of the City’s Discretionary Permit System
Tuesday December 5, 2023 | Christopher Calton

The median price of a home in San Francisco today is an astonishing $1.2 million. Those fortunate enough to afford such a home will struggle to find anything less than a century old. For renters, the typical monthly payment will likely be north of $3,000 for a one-bedroom apartment. The cost of housing in the City by the Bay has for decades risen at extraordinary rates. Even within California, San Francisco is simply unique, not only for the scale of its housing crisis, but also for one of the central policies driving it: specifically, discretionary permit review. (more…)

Who Should Decide if Weight-Loss Injections Should be Prescribed for Kids?
Monday December 4, 2023 | Raymond J. March

The latest statistics from the National Health Institute find about 43 percent of US adults are considered obese. Ten percent of US adults are categorized as severely obese—with BMIs over 40 percent. As alarming as these figures are, childhood and young adult obesity rates aren’t far behind.  (more…)

Visualizing the National Debt
Monday December 4, 2023 | Craig Eyermann

A little over six months ago, William Brangham and Lisa Desjardins presented a short report on the U.S. national debt on PBS News Hour. Pay close attention to the numbers in the video below and how the size of the national debt is described. (more…)

“Men Shall Rise on Steppingstones of Their Dead Selves”
Tuesday November 28, 2023 | Lawrence J. McQuillan

In 1941, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) released a short documentary film about homelessness in New York City’s Bowery district. The film, titled “This Is the Bowery,” provides a glimpse into 1940s homelessness, shows how a major nonprofit organization addressed the problem, and emphasizes important truths that must be relearned today. (more…)

Section 702 Created a Backdoor Search Loophole
Tuesday November 28, 2023 | Jonathan Hofer

Unless it is renewed, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is set to expire on December thirty first. In a dramatic departure from past reauthorizations, which were mostly routine rubberstamps, Section 702 of the FISA is facing intense scrutiny this year. Recent revelations suggest that Section 702 is being used as a powerful domestic spying tool extensively utilized by the FBI. A particular area of concern that could be mitigated this time around is the issue of the “backdoor search loophole.” (more…)

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