6,935 research outputs found

    Secret Spending in the States

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    Six years after Citizens United enabled unfettered spending in our elections, the use of so-called dark money has become disturbingly common. Contrary to the Supreme Court's assumption that this unlimited spending would be transparent to voters, at the federal level powerful groups have since 2010 poured hundreds of millions of dollars into influencing elections while obscuring the sources of their funding. But it is at the state and local levels that secret spending is arguably at its most damaging. For a clear understanding of the degree to which dark money is warping American democracy, state ballot referenda and local school board contests may be a better starting point than the presidential campaign or even congressional races. As Chris Herstam, a former Republican majority whip in the Arizona House of Representatives and now lobbyist, put it, "In my 33 years in Arizona politics and government, dark money is the most corrupting influence I have seen."This report documents how far outside spending -- election spending that is not coordinated with candidates -- at the state and local levels has veered from the vision of democratic transparency the Citizens United Court imagined, drawing on an extensive database of news accounts, interviews with a range of stakeholders, campaign finance and tax records, court cases, and social science research. For the first time, it also measures changes in dark money – and a thus far unrecognized rise in what we term "gray money" – at the state level, by analyzing spender and contributor reports in six of nine states where sufficient usable data were available. This set of six geographically and demographically diverse states, comprising Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, and Massachusetts, represents approximately 20 percent of the nation's population.

    Operator-Valued Frames for the Heisenberg Group

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    A classical result of Duffin and Schaeffer gives conditions under which a discrete collection of characters on R\mathbb{R}, restricted to E=(1/2,1/2)E = (-1/2, 1/2), forms a Hilbert-space frame for L2(E)L^2(E). For the case of characters with period one, this is just the Poisson Summation Formula. Duffin and Schaeffer show that perturbations preserve the frame condition in this case. This paper gives analogous results for the real Heisenberg group HnH_n, where frames are replaced by operator-valued frames. The Selberg Trace Formula is used to show that perturbations of the orthogonal case continue to behave as operator-valued frames. This technique enables the construction of decompositions of elements of L2(E)L^2(E) for suitable subsets EE of HnH_n in terms of representations of HnH_n

    Understanding life-satisfaction changes in post-apartheid South Africa

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    We analyze the large changes in the level and distribution of reported life satisfaction In South Africa from 1993 to 1998, a period spanning the end of apartheid and the creation of a more inclusive democracy. The percentage of black South Africans reporting dissatisfaction with their lives dropped by over two-thirds, despite only modest improvements in material living conditions. Using household surveys five years apart, we show that the vast majority (over 85 percent) of the improved life satisfaction is attributable to changes in the satisfaction derived from specific living conditions, not to changes in the actual level of those living conditions. While some of these shifts are likely attributed to the social churn at the end of apartheid, these changes also indicate changing opportunities for black South Africans. These results are consistent with hedonic adaptation and show that the factors that make people happier can change dramatically over a relatively short time period.Adaptation; Happiness; Oaxaca decomposition; South Africa; Well-Being

    Competition versus Regulation: Mediating Between Right and Right\u27* in the Wireless and Wireline Telephone Industries

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    The wireline telephone industry in the United States is the most complete and sophisticated system in the world, built under 100 years of strict government regulation. While the wireline telephone industry was built under a scheme emphasizing regulatory control, the infancy of the wireless telephone industry has been subject to increasing deregulation and reliance on free market forces to guide the industry\u27s development. It has been suggested that this shift in policy reflects the acknowledged failure of strict government regulation. This Note argues that the shift in regulatory policy reflects a difference in circumstances between the development of the wireless and wireline industries, and that the effects of regulation in the wireline industry played a critical part in the initial success of the wireless industry. The historical development of the wireless and wireline industries are compared and specific attention is paid to the implications of the Telecommunication Act of 1996 and its wireless number portability provisions. This Note argues that differences between the two industries dictate different approaches to regulation, and details the benefits of the differing approaches. This Note concludes by examining the FCC\u27s new role in regulating the telecommunications industry as reflected by a review of the wireless number portability implementation

    Recent and future developments in earthquake ground motion estimation

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    Seismic hazard analyses (SHA) are routinely carried out around the world to understand the hazard, and consequently the risk, posed by earthquake activity. Whether single scenario, deterministic analyses, or state-of-the art probabilistic approaches, considering all possible events, a founding pillar of SHA is the estimation of the ground-shaking field from potential future earthquakes. Early models accounted for simple observations, such that ground shaking from larger earthquakes is stronger and that ground motion tends to attenuate rapidly away from the earthquake source. The first ground motion prediction equations (GMPEs) were, therefore, developed with as few as two principal predictor variables: magnitude and distance. Despite the significant growth of computer power over the last few decades, and with it the possibility to compute kinematic or dynamic rupture models coupled with simulations of 3D wave propagation, the simple parametric GMPE has remained the tool of choice for hazard analysts. There are numerous reasons for this. First and foremost GMPEs are robust and reliable within the model space considered during their derivation, and many can be extrapolated to a degree beyond this space with some confidence. With ever expanding datasets and improved metadata the models are becoming more and more useful: a range of predictor variables are now used, describing the source, path and site effects in detail. GMPEs are also relatively easy to implement and computationally inexpensive. Despite this, probabilistic hazard calculations using GMPEs and accounting for uncertainties can still take several days to run. Full simulation-based approaches, therefore, clearly lie outside the computation budget afforded to most projects. As well as the ever expanding list of predictor variables, other recent developments have also significantly improved the predictive power of GMPEs. This has allowed them to maintain their advantage over more `physical' simulation techniques. Possibly the biggest aspect of this is not related to the median ground-shaking field, but rather its variability (and correlation in space and with oscillator period). This is a major advantage of empirical as opposed to simulation approaches, which typically struggle to replicate the covariance of input variables and, consequently, the variance of the ground motion. In this article we summarize some of the recent advances in ground motion prediction equations, including their application in SHA. We begin with a summary of the current state-of-the-art, then introduce the main additional predictor variables now used. Region- and event-type (tectonic or induced) specific predictions and adjustments are then discussed. Additional topics include advances in estimating ground-motion variability (epistemic and aleatory) and expanding GMPEs to predict other intensity measures or waveform features. The article concludes with a discussion on the path forward in earthquake ground motion prediction

    Selecting ground-motion models developed for induced seismicity in geothermal areas

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    We present a case study of the ranking and weighting of ground-motion prediction equations (GMPEs) for seismic hazard assessment of enhanced geothermal systems (EGSs). The study region is Cooper Basin (Australia), where a hot-fractured-rock project was established in 2002. We test the applicability of 36 GMPEs based on stochastic simulations previously proposed for use at EGSs. Each GMPE has a set of corresponding model parameters describing stress drop, regional and local (near-surface) attenuation. To select suitable GMPEs for Cooper Basin from the full set, we applied two methods. In the first, seismograms recorded on the local monitoring network were spectrally analysed to determine characteristic stress and attenuation parameters. In a second approach, residual analysis using the log-likelihood (LLH) method was used to directly compare recorded and predicted short-period response spectral accelerations. The resulting ranking was consistent with the models selected based on spectral analysis, with the advantage that a transparent weighting approach was available using the LLH method. Region-specific estimates of variability were computed, with significantly lower values observed compared to previous studies of small earthquakes. This was consistent with the limited range of stress drops and attenuation observed from the spectral analysi

    Magnitude scaling of induced earthquakes

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    Presented are the results of an earthquake magnitude homogenisation exercise for several datasets of induced earthquakes. The result of this exercise is to show that homogeneous computation of earthquake moment- and local-magnitude is useful in hazard assessment of Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGSs). Data include records from EGSs in Basel (Switzerland), Soultz (France) and Cooper Basin (Australia); natural geothermal fields in Geysers (California) and Hengill (Iceland), and a gas field in Roswinkel (Netherlands). Published catalogue magnitudes are shown to differ widely with respect to Mw, with up to a unit of magnitude difference. We explore the scaling between maximum-amplitude and moment-related scales. We find that given a common magnitude definition for the respective types, the scaling between moment- and local-magnitude of small earthquakes follows a second-order polynomial, consistent with previous studies of natural seismicity. Using both the Southern-California ML scale and a PGV-magnitude scale (Mequiv) determined in this study, we find that the datasets fall into two subsets with well-defined relation to Mw: Basel, Geysers and Hengill in one and Soultz and Roswinkel in another (Cooper Basin data were not considered for this part of the analysis because of the limited bandwidth of the instruments). Mequiv is shown to correlate 1:1 with ML, albeit with region-specific offsets, while the distinct subsets in the Mequiv to MW scaling leads us to conclude that source and/or attenuation properties between the respective regions are different