Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: The State of Preschool in the U.S. | US News


“Most developed nations now offer universal preschool – even China has committed to pre-K for every 4-year-old by 2020,” Steven Barnett, the institute’s senior co-director, said on a press call Tuesday.

“Meanwhile, the United States has made little progress. This is no way to compete globally now or in the future. Our first step back to leadership is quality preschool.”

The report, “The State of Preschool 2017,” takes into account enrollment, funding, teacher qualifications and other indicators of program quality.

Source: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: The State of Preschool in the U.S. | Education News | US News

Growing pains: how Oregon wound up with way more pot than it can smoke | The Guardian


Flooded with supply, prices are dropping so much that some dispensaries in the Portland area are selling the drug for $4 a gram. That’s less than half the cost of a bargain-basement batch in other US cities where marijuana is legal, like Denver and Seattle.

But 1,824 marijuana-related business licenses have already been issued, including 981 production operations. Another 967 production licenses are in various stages of approval by the state and could come online later this year.

Source: Growing pains: how Oregon wound up with way more pot than it can smoke | Society | The Guardian

U.S. Is Still Segregated Even After Fair Housing Act | The Report | US News


Before signing the Fair Housing Act of 1968 into law, Johnson called it “among the proudest [moments] of my presidency.” Because of it, he predicted, “Negro families [will] no longer suffer the humiliation of being turned away because of their race.”

Then, reality set in: Uneven enforcement, deep-seated, cultural bias and the bill’s own flaws allowed bigoted mortgage bankers and unscrupulous landlords to preserve – and profit from – the status quo.

Source: U.S. Is Still Segregated Even After Fair Housing Act | The Report | US News

Breaking Down Italy’s Persistent Political Instability | Pacific Standard


While the dust has yet to settle, the results of the 2018 elections already highlight several issues—both for Italy and for Europe more broadly.

On a national level, the elections have brought center stage a striking divide between Italy’s north and south, which are once again placing their trust in radically different parties.

The comparatively underdeveloped south almost unanimously voted for the inexperienced 5-Star Movement, which promises a monthly minimum income to fight poverty and unemployment.

Meanwhile, in the generally wealthier and more industrialized north, far-right parties led by Salvini and Berlusconi prevailed at the polls.

Source: Breaking Down Italy’s Persistent Political Instability – Pacific Standard

Some Republicans in Congress Are Worried About Asteroids Crashing Into Earth—but Not About Climate Change | Pacific Standard


Why would lawmakers, who seem prepared to think about long-term dangers to Americans, nevertheless deny that climate change is an important risk?

We cannot speak for the congressmen, but we quizzed everyone we talked to for this story. They came up with some interesting possibilities to explain a worldview that cares about asteroids, but is unconcerned about climate.

Eric Wolff, an Earth scientist at the University of Cambridge, notes that asteroids could come for anyone—regardless of socioeconomic status. With climate change, however, the wealthy—particularly those living in developed nations—have far more resources to move or adapt to a warmed world. D.C. politicians might not be inclined to worry too much about it.

Source: Some Republicans in Congress Are Worried About Asteroids Crashing Into Earth—but Not About Climate Change – Pacific Standard

Merk University | The Business Cycle

As part of Merk’s in-house research we regularly evaluate a consistent set of charts covering the economy, equities, fixed income, commodities and currencies. The aim is to keep our eyes open and to look through the noise of the headlines, avoiding the distractions of sensationalized click-bait.

Source: Merk University: The Business Cycle

‘Big bitcoin heist’ suspect escapes prison and flees Iceland ‘on PM’s plane’ | The Guardian


Guards at the prison, which has no fences and where inmates have access to the internet and phones, did not report him missing until after the flight to Sweden had taken off. Stefansson had been in custody since February, but was moved to the low-security prison 11 days ago.

An international warrant has since been issued for his arrest, but Swedish police spokesman Stefan Dangardt said no arrest has been made in Sweden.

The plane that Stefansson took was reported to have been carrying the Icelandic prime minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, to a meeting with India’s prime minister in Stockholm on Tuesday.

Source: ‘Big bitcoin heist’ suspect escapes prison and flees Iceland ‘on PM’s plane’ | Technology | The Guardian

Global debt now worse than before financial crisis, says IMF | The Guardian


The IMF said a prolonged period of low interest rates had stimulated a build-up of debt worth 225% of world GDP in 2016, 12 points above the previous record level reached in 2009.

Growth in the global economy is expected to be 3.9% in both 2018 and 2019, but the IMF thinks the better-than-predicted performance will not last and that countries that reduce budget deficits now will be best placed when tougher times arrive.

Source: Global debt now worse than before financial crisis, says IMF | Business | The Guardian

May faces embarrassing Brexit defeat in upper house


Britain’s upper house of parliament is expected to inflict an embarrassing defeat on Theresa May’s government on Wednesday, challenging her refusal to remain in a customs union with the European Union after Brexit.

The prime minister, who has struggled to unite her Conservatives over Brexit, has said Britain will leave the EU’s single market and customs union after it quits the bloc next March so that London can negotiate its own free trade deals.

Source: May faces embarrassing Brexit defeat in upper house

More than 40 Dem House challengers outraising GOP incumbents | TheHill


More than 40 House Democratic candidates outraised Republican incumbents in the first fundraising quarter of 2018, another booming fundraising period for the left.

By comparison, Republican challengers outraised Democratic incumbents in just two seats, according to the Cook Political Report.

Source: More than 40 Dem House challengers outraising GOP incumbents | TheHill