States Turn to New Tool to Sustain Pension System Funding
Eager to strengthen the long-term financial health of their public-sector pension systems, officials in several states have embraced a nonpartisan, data-driven approach to more precisely assess their ability to fulfill the benefit promises made to public employees.

Called stress test reporting, this new practice can show policymakers how adverse economic scenarios could affect retirement system investments and state budgets. Because earnings on investments typically make up the largest share of pension fund revenue, lower returns or losses need to be offset by higher contributions from the state government and workers. The stress testing model created by The Pew Charitable Trusts also allows states to account for the condition of their economy and tax collections, offering a broad look at the impact of pensions on their overall fiscal health.

Peer rejection isn’t the culprit behind school shootings – The Conversation

In reality, the cause of school shootings is likely far more complex than a simple case of a shooter being rejected by peers. Specifically, while peer rejection might be part of the profile of many school shooters, it is important to think about the range of environmental and individual factors that might contribute to school shootings.

Ecological frameworks offer a promising approach for highlighting the factors at these multiple levels that might be related to school shootings.

First, at the individual level, it is important to consider risk factors for school shootings. Those risk factors include things like depression and prior antisocial behavior.

Next, it is important to consider the immediate environments that surround school shooters and their interactions. It is here where peer rejection comes into play – but relationships with teachers, family members, and the broader community are also critical.

Finally, it is important to consider local, state and federal policies that influence the availability of firearms, as well as broad cultural attitudes toward the use of firearms. It is likely that these factors help explain school shootings. For this reason, any solution to school shootings must involve an approach that takes a range of factors at multiple levels into account.

Do more than 7 in 10 police bullets miss their mark, as this gun control advocate said? | PolitiFact

"Hit rates vary notably across police agencies but rarely exceed 50 percent," White wrote. "The research examining shooter accuracy overwhelmingly debunks the Hollywood myth of police officers as sharp shooters who can wing suspects in the shoulder or leg or shoot weapons out of suspects’ hands."

Similarities and differences between urban, suburban and rural communities in America | Pew Research Center

Urban areas are at the leading edge of racial and ethnic change, with nonwhites now a clear majority of the population in urban counties while solid majorities in suburban and rural areas are white. Urban and suburban counties are gaining population due to an influx of immigrants in both types of counties, as well as domestic migration into suburban areas. In contrast, rural counties have made only minimal gains since 2000 as the number of people leaving for urban or suburban areas has outpaced the number moving in. And while the population is graying in all three types of communities, this is happening more rapidly in the suburbs than in urban and rural counties.

Maine tries ‘ranked-choice’ voting: A ballot can ‘count’ more than once

To win a primary race in Maine next month, candidates will have to do something unusual: Aim not just to be voters’ first choice, but their second, third and perhaps fourth choice, too.

Maine is the first state to use the ranked-choice voting system for statewide and federal elections, earning plaudits from advocates who say it is a step toward making the U.S. a better, less polarized democracy.

‘Data Is’ or ‘Data Are’?

The bottom line is that in general writing, you’re free to use “data” as singular or plural depending on what sounds right to you, but know that if you treat it as singular, some people might complain. If you want to use a singular noun, it’s safer to use a synonym such as “information” or “evidence”; and if you’re writing about science or medicine, definitely treat “data” as plural.

Most Americans say climate change affects their community | Pew Research Center

Roughly six-in-ten Americans (59%) say climate change is currently affecting their local community either a great deal or some, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Some 31% of Americans say the effects of climate change are affecting them personally, while 28% say climate change is affecting their local community but its effects are not impacting them in a personal way.

As is the case on many climate change questions, perceptions of whether and how much climate change is affecting local communities are closely tied with political party affiliation. About three-quarters of Democrats (76%) say climate change is affecting their local community at least some, while roughly a third of Republicans say this (35%).