Has the prison population gone down?

Probably not. Federal populations increased. State populations decreased, likely due to budget crunches created by the recession. We know about that here in California. A key line from the report: The majority (83%) of the decline in the correctional population during the year was attributed to the decrease in the probation population (down 81,800 offenders). Chalk this up as another effect of the bureaucracy.

The Prison Population is Down

After more than thirty years of constant increase, prison populations have leveled off and in the last few years have begun to decline (pdf). It’s a momentous change and Keith Humphreys argues that the story has been under-reported because few people want to play up the good news

Psychology Science

The APA is not the only solution

The problem might really be that the APA has no real competition. It’s a monopoly held up by the government, who designates the DSM as the bible for mental health when it gives out payments only for approved diagnostic codes. Clinicians ought to continue to develop alternative methods of diagnosis and treatment. Paired with modern data analysis, we can prove that there’s something better than the existing bureaucracy.

Psychiatry is failing those with personality disorders – New Scientist – New Scientist

A workable diagnostic system is needed, because sticking with the status quo is not an option

IF DOCTORS sent patients with angina home with nothing but a prescription for a painkiller to control chest pain, they would be sued for malpractice. Sadly, that is a fitting analogy for what happens all too often to people with personality disorders.



Protection Racket

Another example of government “protecting” us.

How to Win at Poker

On April 15, 2011, a day that has been dubbed “Black Friday” in the poker community, the DOJ shut down the American operations of three major sites: PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Ultimate Bet.

Michael Kaplan has an update on the story:

In January of this year, Full Tilt and the DOJ worked out an arrangement in which the DOJ took ownership of Full Tilt with the intention of selling it to raise funds to pay back American players. Seven months later, on July 31, PokerStars purchased Full Tilt from the DOJ. Businessweek estimated that the transaction would make $547 million for the U.S. government. At the time, the DOJ vowed to reimburse Full Tilt’s U.S. players; Stars said that it would take responsibility for returning $184 million to non-American customers.

PokerStars followed through on its end of the deal and recently relaunched the Full Tilt site outside of the U.S.

So has the DOJ paid the U.S. players? Of course not.

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Pentagon protecting us from drones with directives

As we all know, once a bureaucrat writes a directive, the problem is solved. Thankfully, we have a directive in place to make sure it’s always a real human pressing a button to drop bombs from a drone. There will be no chance of incompetent humans making mistakes nor of a computer virus taking over the drones.

Pentagon: A Human Will Always Decide When a Robot Kills You | Danger Room |

Worried about the day when the robots become self-aware and start deciding who lives and who dies? The Pentagon’s actually written a directive to make sure that can’t happen, whatever the next steps are in autonomous robots.

Also: Drone crashes mount at civilian airports overseas – The Washington Post

Business Politics

Government kills Intrade to save movie exec jobs

Stossel shares some entertaining outrage, but the WSJ coverage leads with a reference to Hollywood that’s closer to the mark. Intrade must have been terribly threatening to the practice of picking hit movies. Even a stinker makes some cash, but not if a market warns everyone beforehand.

Government Crushes Innovative Online Prediction Market

Today, Americans were told that they must close their accounts. That happened because the federal government agency known as the “Commodity Futures Trading Commission” (CFTC) today sued the prediction market, where people from all over the world bet about things like who will win elections.

Intrade decided all its U.S. customers must now close their accounts and withdraw their money from the site.

UPDATE 12/07: I wanted to note that  probably first read about the Hollywood angle on the Overcoming Bias post Zitzewitz The Wise. I just couldn’t find that link when I wrote this post.

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