State governments are receiving homeland-security grants faster than they can spend them, according to the most recent figures from the Department of Homeland Security. Since 2002, the department has awarded $16 billion, but so far states have picked up only $11 billion; the remainder is sitting unspent in the nation’s capital. Even attractive targets for terrorists, like the District of Columbia and New York state—both of which have complained about grant cuts—haven’t been able to keep up with the federal government’s largesse; New York has spent only 52 percent of its grants, the District 62 percent. New Mexico has been the stingiest (or the most prudent, depending on your point of view), spending only half of its grants to date, while South Dakota has burned through 86 percent of the $96.5 million earmarked to thwart threats in the Badlands. The states say that matching-fund requirements, bidding and contracting procedures, and back-ordered goods have kept much of the money on ice.
—“Agency Roll-up,” Department of Homeland Security (Study not available online)
Does a fear of hellfire make women more religious than men? “Risk preference theory—which holds that because females are more risk-averse than males, they are, for example, more likely to attend church as a hedge against the possibility of spending eternity in hell—is the latest attempt to explain the piety gap between men and women. (Other proposed hypotheses suggest that women traditionally have had more time to attend church and that they’ve seen religion as a source of affirmation in male-dominated societies.) Now a study by two researchers at the University of Arizona aims to dispel the hellfire argument, noting that it presupposes that speculation about the afterlife determines people’s religiosity. Researchers studied people who believed in an afterlife and people who didn’t, and found not only that women who don’t believe in life after death are more religious than men who don’t expect an afterlife, but that the gap between the sexes was larger among those who don’t anticipate an eternal reward or punishment. Women who don’t believe in the afterlife are nearly twice as likely as men with similar beliefs to view the Bible as the literal word of God; women who do believe are only 1.27 times as likely to take the Bible literally. Similarly, women who don’t believe in hell attend church more frequently than men who share their skepticism, but women who do believe in hell don’t attend church much more often than their male counterparts.