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Friday, August 28, 2015

My latest TV appearance

On Fox News Live, I discussed prediction markets that the government may not be able to stop with Lauren Green:

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Fact Check: Which Republican candidates actually cut spending?

Every Republican presidential candidate has promised to keep government spending in check -- but which ones actually have a track record of doing that?

All say they would cut. In the last debate, Jeb Bush said people in Florida called him "Veto-Corleone" because he vetoed so much spending. Mike Huckabee said the federal government "is not too big to shrink." Chris Christie says he "balanced budgets."

Is it true? There are an almost infinite number of ways that records can be spun. Some focus on cuts in one small program or on small tax cuts. But governors have actual records. So what do they show?

The "Stossel" show crunched the numbers on that -- adjusting them for inflation and population growth. Here's what the data on governors and ex-governors show:


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Thursday, August 20, 2015

New tech promises government-proof prediction markets

A group of developers have come up with a new concept called “Augur”, which they hope will make it nearly impossible for government to regulate “prediction markets.”

Prediction markets are websites where people bet on events like presidential elections and the Oscars. Such markets have proven popular and studies have found that the betting odds from such sites are even better at predicting election winners than polls are. But they face government regulatory hurdles, and three years ago regulators shut down the world’s largest one,

Augur aims to prevent such a shutdown from happening again by being a prediction market that operates as a self-sustaining computer program which would not need a corporation to operate it.

Governments might then be unable to stop it, because there would be no company to shut down. Instead, the regulators would be up against thousands of copies of a computer program located on personal computers all over the world.

“Hundreds of thousands of computers would have to be shut down in order for the system to be shut down,” Augur spokesman Tony Sakich told

Augur is expected to launch early in 2016. This week, it launched a crowdfunding campaign that raised $1.6 million by Wednesday.


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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

College Board to rewrite US history exam after critics blast anti-America language

The red, white and blue is going back into the U.S. history being taught to college-bound high schoolers, after critics blasted the curriculum-setting test as biased against America.

The College Board, which writes the test that much of the nation's advanced placement course lessons are based on, last week issued a new course and exam description that has more focus on the positive role of the framers, America's effort to rid the world of the Nazi threat during World War II and how entrepreneurs transformed the world's most dynamic economy. Those points of emphasis are expected next year to replace the previous test questions, which some historians and teachers say took a negative view of the U.S.

“The result is a clearer and more balanced approach to the teaching of American history,” the College Board announced Thursday.

While the College Board can’t directly dictate what is taught in high school Advanced Placement classes, by writing the test that half a million college-bound students take each year it strongly influences the curriculum crafted by teachers. The previous version created an uproar because it focused on racial and cultural divisions in America instead of a collective American identity, and left out unifying figures such as Benjamin Franklin and Martin Luther King. The new version mentions those men and also includes sections on a unified American identity -- plus more focus on America’s founders and founding documents.

The sections on America’s divisions and problems remain, but now exist alongside positive points about America.

One historian who led the charge for the revision said the new version is much better, but not perfect.

“The College Board scrubbed from last year’s document the more obnoxious expressions of bias against America, against capitalism, and against whites,” Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, told

The old guidelines also previously criticized free markets, noting that they “helped to widen a gap between rich and poor” without mentioning that they had created prosperity. The new version is less one-sided, noting that “entrepreneurs helped to create a market revolution in production and commerce…” and that “workers’ real wages increased… while the gap between rich and poor grew.”


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Friday, June 26, 2015

Confederacy purge builds steam, while last century's worst villains spared

All symbols of the Confederacy are rapidly disappearing from stores, websites and the public square in the wake of last week's racially charged shooting in a Charleston, S.C., church, but the purge of some allegedly hateful icons has spared memorabilia linked to some of history's most infamous mass murderers, some critics are charging. has now banned all Confederate battle flag items from being sold on its site, but the massive e-commerce site continues to allow the sale of dozens of apparel items featuring communist mass murderers such as Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and Che Guevara, prompting some to accuse the site and others banning Confederate imagery of hypocrisy.

“If Amazon is removing the Confederate flag from its offerings, the logical and principled decision is to stop selling any promotional material, including T-shirts, of Che Guevara or any mass killer,” said Maria Werlau, executive director of the Free Society Project. “It is very painful particularly to the loved ones of Guevara's victims as well as offensive to the Cuban people who continue to suffer repression and abhorrent human rights' abuses by the system he helped create and direct.”



Thursday, June 18, 2015

Solar eclipse: Green groups fight sun-powered plant over Bighorn worries

One might expect environmentalists to fight a new power plant, but a new battle being waged by California green groups against a solar facility shows there may be something new under the sun, after all.

A solar-powered plant proposed by industrial giant Bechtel on federal Bureau of Land Management property in the Mojave Desert could supply up to 170,000 homes in Los Angeles with electricity from the sun, but it also would make life difficult for about 100 Bighorn Sheep and other critters, according to the Sierra Club and the National Resources Defense Council. Their concerns have convinced the city not to buy electricity from the 350-megawatt Soda Mountain project.

“The City of Los Angeles spoke with one voice and rejected buying power from the ecologically damaging Soda Mountain Solar project,” the Sierra Club said in a statement. “Given the Bureau of Land Management’s recent decision to approve the project, this leadership from Los Angeles is well-timed and makes a powerful statement.”

The BLM approval, issued earlier this month, scaled back the size of the plant and established safeguards for the sheep, as well as fish, desert tortoises and other animals that might be affected by the project. The federally-approved version would have supplied 79,000 homes and required Bechtel to hire a “Bighorn Sheep Monitor” who would ensure that no construction take place while sheep are within 1,000 feet of the site. The company would also have to provide water in selected areas in an attempt to coax the herd to use highway underpasses and establish a migration pattern.

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