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Anybody who says things today are worse is welcome to turn in their smartphones, laptops, air bags, microwave ovens, and basically all chemotherapy drugs.
Technical analysis is nothing more than astrology for stock-watchers.
Survey finds that a lot of military and foreign-service professionals in the Pacific think China's within 20 years of being the hegemon there
And Spanish police think they saved a lot more after a raid
Putting a lot of white-collar talent on the market in Omaha
It may be no real risk at all, but the recommended cleanup process rivals Chernobyl
The President tweets his opposition to removing Confederate statues from public display. This is a good time to re-familiarize with the drawbacks of the endowment effect. Just because we already have something doesn't mean it's valuable enough to keep. If we need monuments to keep public spaces beautiful, perhaps Rosa Parks statues would be a good substitute for those of Confederate generals.
The President has tweeted out his endorsement of a fictitious counter-terrorism strategy. You will not find such nonsense recommended anywhere in the US military's wide range of professional reading lists.
Some good ideas; others may need some work. All worth serious examination.
There's really no reason to think otherwise: The President is just winging it.
At some point, it becomes impossible to effectively evacuate in time to stay in the good graces of the FAA
One major issue: Depending on how quickly autonomous vehicles reach the mainstream, this could be an occupational track heading into a narrow lane
Columnist Leonid Bershidsky correctly identifies that anonymous accounts on social media are responsible for a whole lot of bad behavior and cultural damage. But then he suggests that social-media sites "should be regulated in the same way as a TV station or a newspaper, which always knows the authors of the information it publishes." This argument is both radical and misled. The notion that government should step in to regulate social networks betrays a wildly misplaced confidence in the virtue of the regulators.
The genes themselves aren't new, they're just newly-discovered. If we start to develop truly new genes...that would be a game-changer.
The Presidents Bush make an easy call: "America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred in all forms." The statement should really be so obvious as to not even bear repeating, but the fact a sitting President struggles to make any such statement makes it necessary for his predecessors to say so. And in so doing, they exhibit an awareness of their joint legacy that escapes those who seem to think we should commemorate people on the wrong side of the Civil War. Isn't the idea that history may judge our behavior by a higher standard a fairly important tool to incentivize good behavior in the present? If your view of history is that it is static, then you're missing the point. It's not to be memorized. History must be grappled with. A compendium of names and dates is just a list. To really appreciate history is to struggle with questions of context, meaning, and choice. Sometimes, that may cause us some discomfort -- like when we have to acknowledge that the Founders were imperfect. But treating the Founding Fathers like humans rather than demigods is good for us. It says we have a duty to try to be even better than them. When we put the Founders on an untouchable pedestal, it says we are "less than" -- when in fact, we honor them most by trying to be greater. To understand their time (the Enlightenment) is to understand that they saw humanity as a work in progress, to be constantly improved upon.
Whether it's causal or just coincidental is a different question -- but putting your name on the door might make a difference
They're factionalized to an extent we haven't seen in a long time
The inhumanity of subjecting an innocent child to murder over adults and their politics should be incomprehensible to us all. It is most surely an abomination.
Different people have different needs
The President declares he's shutting down advisory councils -- after the businesspeople on the councils already quit en masse. The easier (and better) choice would have been to take responsibility for his own behavior.
He appears to have been selected on merit, rather than connections. That's apparently a big change for China's military hierarchy.
If you expect your President to "drive the agenda", then you're doing the Constitution wrong. A timely reminder in light of the President's open heckling of the Senate Majority Leader. Let it not escape our memory that the President's authority even to veto legislation is embedded as a subordinate item within Article I, Section 7. The President is given no Constitutional authority to tell Congress when to do so much as open a window curtain, and that's how it's supposed to be.
That old line about compounding interest being the most powerful force in the world? It wasn't just personal financial advice.
Don't let anyone sugarcoat the fact that bad government ruins good lives. The people of Venezuela deserve better.
As stand-up comedy, this isn't clever. As fiscal statement, it's immaterial. As geopolitical strategy, it's nonsensical.
For the good of the country, both parties need strong centrist wings. "Politics as it is, and not as ideologues wish it to be" is an apt description of the overarching problem for both major parties. American politics could use a lot less Santa Claus ("Here's what I'll give you in exchange for nothing!") and a lot more James Madison.
Much of the state is now in a drought condition. That's bad news especially for a farm economy that's already weak.
Passengers on an around-the-world cruise were told to help turn it into a ghost ship at night when traveling around the pirate-infested waters of the western Indian Ocean.
(Video) A classic building on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa has been radically updated
Some want to discount what the President meant when he threatened North Korea. Note what Calvin Cooldige said: "The words of the President have an enormous weight and ought not to be used indiscriminately."
Complex requirements are counterproductive if they mean people just write down their passwords on sticky notes
If you're this far behind on a writing project, it's probably time to find a good ghostwriter. Or even a bad one.
Anyone who's eager for war in Korea is thinking of it as an abstraction. The reality would be tens of thousands of individual tragedies -- all the tragedy of a single death, thousands and thousands and thousands of times over.
Other automakers are rushing for tie-ups with one another, but Honda remains stubbornly independent. That's probably true to the company's intrinsic character, and thought it might be a more difficult way to climb, it's hardly the first obstacle in the engineering-heavy company's way.
If output per hours worked is only rising by a hair over 1% a year, it's going to be basically impossible for the economy to grow faster unless a whole lot of people start working or a whole lot more hours start getting worked
Kaspersky makes one of the most highly-regarded computer security suites on the market, but there are a whole lot of suspicions that have emerged lately that the outfit may have troubling ties to the Russian government.
The FBI search suggests that the special counsel investigation under Robert Mueller is stopping for nothing and no one
It's hitting the Midwestern ag economy hard. Important: "A full repeat of the 1980s is unlikely[...] But it doesn’t remove the fact that the current downturn is severe[...]"
The President makes threats to North Korea. Strength is one thing, and bluster is another. Remember the words of Dwight Eisenhower: "[O]ur basic national objective in international affairs remains peace -- a world peace based on justice." Also Eisenhower: "We seek not violence, but peace. To this purpose we must now devote our energies, our determination, ourselves."
Gives one cause to wonder: Which of today's architects are leaving behind work that people will still tour with interest in 100 years?
Things look distressing if low interest rates remain. But if they revert at all towards historical norms, things could look downright awful.
Most of the interesting stuff thus far has been happening at the Senate Intelligence Committee. Judiciary has been largely sidelined for a while.
If they gathered in a single place, they would outnumber the entire population of Nebraska
Radio Poland says "Most of the Russian aircraft did not respond to air traffic control."
Tie that to one of the missiles they've been showing off, and there's a real problem
An offense to all reasonable, Constitution-adhering people
Occasionally confusing (by design), "Dunkirk" tells a necessary story of honor
Criminal mastermind risks actual prison time for a product that costs less than 1 cent per gallon
Robert Mueller may be finding things that most Americans would be appalled to discover
Should Southern cities preserve their Confederate monuments? One answer can be found in asking whether they would erect any new ones today.
He needs her (or someone like her) to survive. The Democratic Party needs to figure that out.
Interesting, considering how mercurial a figure he was when he ran for President in 1992
The Chicago Cubs gave Steve Bartman a World Series ring. Closure.
One important factor to measure and consider is the minimum wage. The higher the barriers to entry for the young to enter the labor force, the harder it is to get on the great American prosperity escalator. Ideally, we'd look at entry-level jobs as the equivalent of classrooms for the soft skills needed to "graduate" into more sophisticated jobs.
That's an epic imbalance. Russia has invaded Ukraine in a big way, and that's not a settled condition.
A thoughtful brief essay on the dignity of serving in the Executive Branch.
"[L]eft-wing economic populists are enjoying a resurgence [...] This is a scandal." Venezuela is a grave example. In the words of the Associated Press reporter who has at last decided it's time to leave the country: "There was no war or natural disaster. Just ruinous mismanagement..." Venezuela's catastrophe is man-made, and its only way out will be man-made, too. Unfortunately, they're in the violent score-settling phase of a civil collapse, where opposition leaders are hauled off in the dark of night by shadowy forces.
Others are 8" below. And they're not really that far apart.
Consider: A complex welfare system rewards those who have the skills required to navigate it successfully. Those are skills that could be put to better use in the working world. While that's not a definitive case for the UBI, it's well worth taking into account. In a similar vein, there are people who doubt the value of revenue-neutral tax reform. They shouldn't be such skeptics: It's the same logic that rewards using an EZ-Pass on a toll road or a touchless card on a subway: Same cost, but with lower "friction" loss. If you pay the same amount but with less transactional friction, you're still better off.
An Air Canada jet almost landed on a crowded taxiway. The pilots got confused, and the radar system that's supposed to prevent this kind of thing didn't because the plane was in a blind spot. It could have been a calamity of huge proportions, and the pilots involved weren't rookies -- 30,000 flight hours between them.
It's a problem that has at least doubled in magnitude in the last 15 years. Any condition like this ought to be treated as an urgent public-health problem, which is how we should have been addressing drugs all along.
Wouldn't pushing them away reward the people who want to take their country backwards and isolate the liberalizers?
It's possible that we can have several good individuals serving as former military leaders in civil office right now, and still be engaging in a hazardous concept.
An expensive suit can look like a wreck if it doesn't fit the man. Maybe it's the same with a house that doesn't suit the occupant.
Retired pennies in the floor
Taking the "Donuts" out of Dunkin' Donuts is like taking the "Burger" out of Burger King.
Exports are up and imports are down. Among those who will seek undeserved credit for this, who will acknowledge the impact of a weak US dollar in making our exports cheaper and imports from other places more expensive? The dollar is much-weakened (down 8% in value since November), and whether that is a direct result of politics or not, it's entirely unfair for anyone to take credit for "doing" anything politically to level out the balance of trade. Note, too, that the weak dollar has an inflationary effect on the stock market, so when the President tries taking credit for the stock market, he's doing so absent the offsetting impact of what's happened to the dollar.
Including 19.8 million who are naturalized citizens, which is a population equal to the State of New York -- the 4th largest state. A true credit to our nation.
Research based on what happened when East Germany stole West German ideas suggests that it works in the short run to steal ideas -- but in the long run the cost of stealing starves the flow of money to organic research and development.
Toyota and Honda are looking for Japanese talent to bridge the gap between the world of automaking and the world of high technology. There's too much competition for the hot employees in Silicon Valley. Take note: What made Toyota and Honda successful as they emerged from obscurity was operating under serious constraints in their early years. Adapting to adversity is in the corporate DNA of both companies, and it makes them tougher when they develop skills on the inside. Meantime, Toyota and Mazda are cross-investing and building a joint plant in the US.
Senator John McCain fires a shot across the bow at the Trump Administration over Afghanistan policy
NASA hasn't done manned spaceflight since the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011.
The prime riverfront property has been empty for months now, and the Federal government is threatening to build a new Federal courthouse there. The city is not amused; for predictable reasons, the city government would rather see the property become a high-tax-revenue private space instead of an untaxable Federal property. Similarly, one can see why the why Federal employees might be interested in erecting a courthouse on what's one of the most attractive properties in the entire city. If you can't control much about how much people get paid (and Federal pay scales are what they are), then you can offer "compensation" in the form of a great view out the window in a beautiful new building.
Not a small thing for a seated United States Senator to say about a President (nominally) of his own party
"Sources described an investigation that has widened to focus on possible financial crimes, some unconnected to the 2016 elections..."
Nebraska could get hit hard by tariffs imposed by Japan on beef they get from us
First and foremost, America's allegiance ought to be to supporting self-determination around the world. But it's pretty hard to extract self-determination from democratic processes. This is a very important question, because the way we frame our values and priorities in diplomacy shapes how we act.
Naturally, this stokes the fires of speculation that he's thinking about running for office -- perhaps even President. Does one have to assume he wants to be the front man? Might he be investigating in the interest of finding a prospective winner to back?
George Will, a prominent conservative critic of President Trump, argues that some good may come of the damage Trump does to the country if it gets us to move away from our national infatuation with a strong Presidency. The commander-in-chief isn't (and shouldn't be) the legislator-in-chief.
It's not particularly true to our national character to think of immigrants purely as factors of production -- nor is it particularly consistent with the long-term good of the country. Many of us here today are the descendants of low-skilled immigrants like fur trappers, subsistence farmers, and woodsmen. The administration's proposed rules for skills-based immigration are more of a ploy than a thoughtful approach to reforming the system.
...work may simply flow around the blockade. That's what some people think is happening in the White House now, with the President acting as the obstacle.
If freedom is the ultimate value, shouldn't a lack of freedom be the real punishment for most criminals? Shouldn't we do whatever is best to actually reform (or "correct") inmates so they don't re-enter the system after release?
It's an inevitable byproduct of economic and technological progress that most people aren't going to be able to stick with a static set of skills throughout their working lives. It's time to get our policy priorities straight so we can accommodate.
Starting November 1st. That's the kind of intrusion on individual privacy rights that most people probably don't understand, but it's a huge encroachment.
May they break the usual patterns and have a profitable, successful, and durably positive outcome -- but don't count on it. We'll hear a lot of claims that "This time will be different" -- but it rarely is.
An excellent commentary from David French on remaining true to a virtuous system of values in politics in a time that doesn't seem to reward those much
Not a whole lot of aircraft have ever had a kind of mystic hold on people -- the 747 and the DC-3 are probably the two at the top of the list.
"Urby" developments appear to deliver what some would denigrate as a sanitized version of urban living. Others would argue that it's a way to radically increase the value of an otherwise low-rent property. In truth, it's probably somewhere in between. There's not an especially great history of the long-term outcomes of heavily-planned development projects, especially not when tied to things that seem trendy (like millennial-themed urban living).
Political risk has a real cost, even if people don't realize it
The 10-year anniversary should serve as a reminder of just how badly we tend to neglect our infrastructure: How much did people all over the country care about dangerous neglect in the immediate aftermath, then cease to care later even though nothing really had been done?
They deserve a better world than what they've been given
The Google parent company has obvious reasons to want to capture and store energy on the cheap
And it goes farther on a single charge than people might have expected
Bill Perry: "I believe that today the likelihood of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War"
"...sends the wrong message to law enforcement as well as the public"
A plan with an "improvised device" and no clear tie to an organized group
Some of the best eclipse-viewing will happen in some of the most sparsely-populated territory in the country
The cast is fantastic. The soundtrack is spectacular. The script falls short.
We've already seen what the agents of cyberwarfare can do to a political system. What about their impact on economic ones?
Discouraging the practice of distracted driving is a fine idea in theory -- but it's also worth asking just how comfortable we are with sting-type operations that are specifically intended to surprise ordinary people with police enforcement
The administration's erratic behavior means there may be no road ahead. Al Hunt suggests that "...it's not crazy conjecture that a president who doesn't think the rules and laws apply to him would try to replace the attorney general with somebody not recused from the Russia probe."
Key: "As bearers of state as well as commercial interests, SOEs may place their emphasis on strategic acquisitions, such as advanced technologies for example, on non-market terms." This means state-owned enterprises looking to invest in other countries might behave in ways that would wildly distort market outcomes. Suppose, for instance, that it's considered in the national interest to gain some form of security or military technology by any means necessary; in that case, a supplier company (like Lockheed Martin or Northrup Grumman, in theory -- or even Microsoft or Kaspersky) might find itself the subject of a takeover attempt that may not reflect market realities. This distortion may be one of the strongest cases for domestic political intervention in the case of foreign asset purchases.
The newspaper submits a demand that the broadcaster retract and apologize for a segment that accused the paper of foiling a government plot to kill a terrorist. Given the program's strange and disproportionate power to influence the President of the United States, this is more than a mere dispute among rivals.
Higher interest rates are likely if not inevitable, and with productivity growing only very slowly, there's a serious collision course ahead between Federal borrowing and private-sector growth
The big question is whether the views of emeritus spy chiefs reflects the attitudes of current spies. It seems like more than a case of sour grapes.
Sumner and Fredericksburg both saw colossal rainfalls
The company owns about 60 radio and 60 television stations, and they're trying to find a way to either go public through an IPO (which appears to be their distant second preference) or sell out to another media company. It's actually a bit surprising that anyone would want to give up control of such a premier property in a specialty media market (one which shows no signs of shrinking).
A move of interest to the Midwestern hospitality market, involving about 200 hotels
Justine Damond and Jamar Clark were both unarmed civilians killed by Minneapolis police officers during the outgoing chief's tenure.
A group of teenagers apparently watched, mocked, and recorded as a man drowned in a Florida pond on July 9th. They might be free of legal culpability for choosing not to render aid, but they might face prosecution for failing to report a death.
The Newseum Institute finds that only 49% of people ages 18 to 29 believe in universal freedom of religion
That's just in the last three months. An appalling figure.
For as much as Facebook and Twitter and their cousins are discussed every single day in the news, one in five of us don't use them (but aren't holding out on the rest of the Internet). Another one in 10 doesn't use the Internet at all.
How can this be made more plain and clear? We've gone along with a giant national lie that the problem would resolve itself. It hasn't. It won't. When the trust fund is gone, payments will drop as Social Security becomes fully pay-as-you-go. Yes, 2034 seems a long way away, but if you can remember Y2K, then you should be able to project ahead to 2034 with equal ease.
Representative Jim Himes wants the on-camera press briefings to become mandatory. In theory, sure -- the manner in which the present administration has run away from legitimate scrutiny from the press, including their ridiculous approach to on-camera/off-camera press briefings, is an abomination. But is this a legitimate use of Congressional authority? It's hard to say that it is. Just consider applying the same test to the third branch: Could Congress order the Supreme Court to allow cameras? One would think not. It's important not to over-reach in the course of trying to execute legitimate inter-governmental oversight. This has close parallels to the illegitimacy of the White House project to demand voter data from all 50 states: To the extent that existing standards are in place to permit retrieval and requests for voter documentation, it may be hard for states find the legal authority to reject the Federal request for that data. But it's still a substantial overstepping of norms for the Federal government to make such a request (especially when there is no evidence to indicate that the states have somehow become incapable of conducting legitimate, free, and fair elections on their own). Moreover, it is a clear violation of the intent of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, which in no uncertain terms reserve all unenumerated rights to the people and all unenumerated powers to the states and the people. If the Federal government isn't acting to prevent a state from encroaching on the rights of citizens, then it really has no standing to tell anyone what to do with their elections.
The Federal commission that claims (dubiously) to be examining the integrity of elections took public comments -- then, apparently, revealed the personal contact information of at least some of the people who submitted public comments. If you're going to contact officials in a way that will go on the record, make sure you're using a PO Box, a public-facing email account, and a telephone number that masks your own (like, for instance, a Google Voice number). Put no faith in the people who take your comments to redact your private information for you.
But that's how the sheriff's office wrote up the story. Though the device can't initiate a 911 call, there's a lot that can legitimately be done to make our smartphones and other gadgets into better tools for putting technology in service of human needs. It's not much to ask that artificial intelligence tools like Alexa, Cortana, Siri, and Google Assistant should be programmed to take notice of situations, searches, and queries that might indicate that the user is at risk of an imminent health problem (mental or physical) or is in some form of danger.
Instead of busy work, the superintendent wants parents to spend 20 minutes a day reading with their kids. This is an utterly laudable plan.
If the Senate is supposed to be composed of two people from each state, representing the best discernment and judgment that can be found in each of those states, then a recording artist like Kid Rock is a real test of those standards. Shouldn't the bar be higher for entry into either house of the national legislature than fame alone?
The better we can get at energy storage and recovery, the higher those figures could potentially go
Robert Kaplan: "[W]e are in the midst of a fragile equilibrium regarding global oil supply and demand"; "[W]e are moving very close to full employment in the U.S."; and "Our economists at the Dallas Fed believe that the skills gap in the US is substantial." And one other thing: "[T]here are likely limits to the ability of countries, including the US, to further increase debt to GDP in order to generate higher levels of economic growth...raising questions regarding fiscal sustainability which, if not addressed, could negatively impact longer-run economic growth."
It's hard to fathom what kind of emotions go into a decision like this, but we should be very glad we have a way to protect these little lives. Also interesting: Looking at how other countries handle this agonizing decision. Germany has a two-track approach, which includes not just a safe-haven option, but also the option for "confidential birth" to protect those mothers who may be at risk of domestic violence or other hazards.
It's a pretty spicy editorial, with a reference to the effort to "submit the state to the Bible with a logic that is no different from the one that inspires Islamic fundamentalism". It also argues that "[Pope] Francis radically rejects the idea of activating a Kingdom of God on earth as was at the basis of the Holy Roman Empire and similar political and institutional forms, including at the level of a 'party.'" Especially interesting: The piece condemns the use of "an ecumenism of conflict" -- alliances of political convenience between Catholics and non-Catholics who have short-term political objectives that would serve mainly to cement larger, long-term theological separation. Quite interesting.
Dubious traffic stops should not put anyone at undue risk (or even inconvenience) due to the color of their skin
Texas grew from a population of 23.9 million in 2007 to 27.8 million in 2016. That increase (just shy of 4 million) is greater than the entire population of Iowa (3.1 million). We should really see lots more maps that use tilegrams to illustrate elections, since geographic size is so disjointed from population.
In this case, it's Finland. But similar circumstances apply not only to small nations, but to small states as well. As the global urbanization trend continues, so will the concentration of population in some of the world's largest urbanized areas -- and some of that will suck human capital out of lesser-urbanized places. Not everyone wants to live in London or Tokyo or New York City, but it will take a concerted effort by the Helsinkis (metro population: 1.3 million), Winnipegs (800,000), and Des Moineses (600,000) of the world to make sure they retain and develop their share of highly skilled civic, educational, and business leaders in the face of high returns to urban agglomeration economies.
On the surface, yes. A net trade deficit with the rest of the world is often a symptom of a country that consumes more than it produces. But...there's also the question of capital flows. If a country has lots of valuable capital stock (factories, intellectual property, real estate, and so on), then it's possible to exchange things we have for things we want. It's not perfect -- it's like living off a trust fund -- but it's not necessarily living beyond our means. And, importantly, if we create new capital stock (for instance, by building expensive new real estate projects like the new second-tallest skyscraper in San Francisco), then it may be possible to buy things, send cash overseas, then get some of the cash reinvested back in the country. And depending on factors like property bubbles and the impact of agglomeration economies, it may be possible for foreign direct investment to come back to buy overpriced capital, reducing the relative cost of the net imports.
The Onion spoofs the new requirement imposed on students in the Chicago Public Schools -- requiring them to have some kind of documented plan in order to graduate from high school. The plan goes into effect for the Class of 2020, and while it is completely understandable why something beyond a high-school diploma really is the de facto standard for a comfortable socio-economic future, that's a far cry from making it into a de jure standard. The advocates for a "Grade 14" policy (like former Education Secretary Arne Duncan) appear to be well-intentioned and get the problem generally right -- as the economy has grown more sophisticated, so have the expectations for people to be prepared for work -- but the prescription runs the very real risk of being, well, too prescriptivist. Creating true "lifelong learners" is a much bigger challenge than simply moving the goalposts for what it means to "finish school".
They're proposing to conduct twelve experimental installations of broadband-over-TV-spectrum. Using the "white spaces" in the spectrum is supposed to be a cost-effective way of reaching people in places with population densities between 2 and 200 people per square mile. That basically describes all but about half a dozen counties in Iowa, though the state is not on Microsoft's list for the test runs. Nobody should choose not to recognize the economic, educational, and cultural impairment that is imposed today by a lack of access to high-speed Internet. We haven't chosen yet to give it the same kind of legal status as other near-universal utilities like electricity and water, but it's not far from being just as essential, at least in economic terms.
One scholar of arms control worries that we may already be down a path of no return towards open conflict with North Korea -- and no matter what we do to put up defenses here in the United States or abroad (as in South Korea), there may be targets that are vulnerable to attack in ways we cannot defend effectively -- and one of those is Seoul.
The President's affections for Vladimir Putin are unjustified
We need to take cyberwarfare seriously. To do so with the "help" of one of our major cyber-adversaries would be preposterous.
He's going to keynote a left-wing convention in Iowa on July 15th.
Alaska, alas, is too much work
It's a substantial retreat from the investments they had been making in Chinese real estate, supposedly to reduce debt and free up cash. That could also be an early warning signal of trouble ahead for Chinese financial markets.
Both Presidents Obama and Trump deserve blame for failing to take seriously the threat of cyberwarfare (in all its forms, from attempts to steal voter lists to efforts to interfere with voting machines to influence campaigns and microtargeting). It's a high-leverage problem: Bad actors can get their hands on powerful cyberweapons with little investment and can do asymmetrical damage.
That's a significant non-zero number, and certainly doesn't count the number working on things like "signals intelligence" back home
Of 564 high-level appointive positions being tracked by the Washington Post, 68% have no nominee. That's after 168 days in office.
To understand why the Putin regime would want to meddle with foreign elections, look at the state of the Russian economy. A bad economy raises the proportional returns to investment on creating chaos elsewhere. People perceive relative status -- so efforts to make everywhere else look "just as bad" may be a more effective strategy than fixing what's falling short domestically.
Lifting the ban on the sale of fireworks may have seemed like striking a blow for freedom, but dozens of people were injured in the process
We can manage a gap of one or maybe two percentage points between government revenues and government spending (as a share of GDP) -- if the economy grows faster than the gap. But not what's on tap: 23.6% in spending and 18.4% in revenues (ten years from now). Deficits aren't free.
The states are in charge of elections for good reason -- unless they show a specific inability to conduct them freely and fairly, it should remain that way
Many serious policy issues are treated inconsistently because we haven't decided whether Internet access has the status of a public utility.
Per the New York Times: "Electricity in Iceland costs about 30 percent less than what Alcoa might pay in the United States." Iceland got into the smelting business because it needed to find something to replace fisheries. That's the effect of specialization in action.
These things do occasionally happen in the Midwest
Or at least that's what the evidence suggests. And an ICBM in the hands of an unaccountable, irrational authoritarian government is a gigantic problem.
And most of the nation's prefectures are also shrinking. The population is, on net, both shrinking and gravitating to Tokyo.
Victims aged from 13 to 60
That's a massive order
Good news for shippers, but not so great for ambulance drivers
"To secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed"
Public diplomacy has never been more important than it is right now. Facebook acknowledged in April that it was used as a tool of disinformation by foreign actors (read: Russia) to influence the US elections.
Cholera spreads where there is no clean water, and the war in Yemen is enough to disrupt what access many once had
The state almost certainly needs to raise taxes, but who wants the blame for doing that?
Public diplomacy works wonders when done effectively, and Russia's government has clearly been aggressive about using it
As put by one commenter: "Iceberg plays behind-the-scenes role in rebuilding Titanic". President Obama's campaign for the White House largely sought to transcend the Democratic Party -- and while in office, the President didn't merge his campaign with the party of which he was the titular head (he kept "OFA" running as a parallel operation to the DNC), nor did he appear to do things to groom a farm team of Democratic party leadership (most voters would be hard-pressed to name more than one or two Obama Cabinet officials, no doubt due in part to Obama's penchant for micromanagement). In other words, much of the damage was done by the individual now being asked to help do the rebuilding.
In support of the Microsoft data center being built near the Maffitt Reservoir, the city is going to extend Veterans Parkway and build a bridge over I-35 -- serving traffic by 2018
Laura Rosenberger: "Deterrence is based on credibility and capability. And credibility requires clear signaling of intentions."
In much of Europe, it's literally true
Proceed with caution: States are in charge of their own elections for good reason, except in those cases where they've proven themselves incapable of handling the job responsibly. The default answer to a request like this should roughly be: "Show me a court order."
The CBO's latest estimates show the Federal debt on the rise to about 90% of GDP over the next ten years. As a country, we are on track to borrow an additional $3,000 per person per year over the next ten years, because we fail to arrange our spending priorities and raise the appropriate revenues to pay for the ones that matter. And with an economy that doesn't know how to grow faster than 2% a year, we'd better take seriously the need to restrain our spending habits.
And at a very timely moment for the EU to place a focus on the Baltic states -- as well as cybersecurity, which is a priority for those countries as well
Though government should always be limited, it probably has harmed our national character that we haven't had a big, constructive nationwide goal since the 1960s. Americans haven't really forged anything together (in the sense of a binding national identity) since the Interstate system and the Apollo missions.
A timely reminder that most people are trying to do the right thing most of the time. We should amplify that fact.
Noted in the Marketwatch report on the "stress test" results: "[T]hey'll be paying out close to 100% of projected net income over the coming four quarters, compared to 65% last year."
Decision fatigue is one of the most useful concepts from behavioral economics that just hasn't quite made the leap into mainstream culture.
Social-market/"soft" socialist economies can survive in the long term under a very limited set of conditions: A small, culturally homogenous society with some sort of government-owned (or heavily-taxed) resource wealth with judicious and far-sighted government management, along with a strong entrepreneurial class, pragmatic programs for ensuring useful (and near-universal) employment. That's an extremely tough set of conditions to satisfy, and the Nordic countries are a rare set of examples where these conditions have been more or less satisfied.
A development that requires urgent review and consideration by the civilian authorities who should always oversee the use of police power. There's a whole lot of good that could be done with these tools -- but also an enormous amount of harm.
What happens when people who are just out to capture royalties and other "rents" displace people who create productive new enterprises? Nothing good, it would seem.
Is it explicitly the objective of the government to get a look at what you're reading? No. But even if it isn't the intent, it could very well end up being the effect.
A special prosecutor thinks they engaged in a felonious cover-up of the shooting of Laquan McDonald
Feeling at the end of a tornado watch: "Oh, so I don't have to worry about a black cloud of death dropping randomly out of the sky anymore?"
Connecting to WiFi lets them tap into information that can be signaled in color: Like weather alerts...or incoming emails
That's just a short-term loan while the district apparently hopes to get a bailout from the state government. Illinois and Chicago (in particular) are at the forefront of one of the biggest unrecognized risks to the US economy: State and local governments with obligations that will be impossible (or extraordinarily difficult) to meet without dramatic changes to spending, taxes, and future promises.
Whether that means the Fed will be enthusiastic about lesser capital requirements is a matter to be watched carefully. She suggested low concern that another banking crisis would re-occur anytime soon.
The ACA set the ball rolling in an unsustainable direction, and things could in fact get worse
The Iowa DOT plans a dramatic reconstruction of what is presently a wildly over-congested interchange
The President's sworn duty is not "to keep the homeland safe", but to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.
Jack Balkin, a Yale Professor of Constitutional Law, with a warning: "[M]any people have wondered whether we are currently in some sort of constitutional crisis. We are not. Rather, we are in a period of constitutional rot."
It's the scenario people have nightmares about: Walking down the street and getting shot because completely unrelated people near you got into a fight
The company's been spinning off a lot of divisions already. It's a far cry from the times when it was a true and vast conglomerate. Conglomerates (in the pure sense) have fewer inherent advantages over other business types in times like these, when capital is really cheap. But if interest rates were higher (or if the government were to impose tax policies that punished dividends), then it would be rational to expect more of the classic conglomerate form to return.
Air travel is unpleasant in all sorts of ways today, but it's still a million times better than when it was "glamorous"
With most other cruise lines doing what they can to stack thousands of passengers on top of one another, this whole niche approach is either a smart innovation or a symptom of complete saturation in the market. Possibly both.
That's per a deputy undersecretary at the Department of Homeland Security
See what it actually takes to fix America's chronically imbalanced budget. One approach: Make significant reforms to entitlements -- both taxes and benefits, send responsibilities back to the states, and impose some mild tax increases. Unpalatable? Then find and suggest another way.
A fascinating Q&A with Hannah Dreier, who tells important stories about a nation in the midst of economic collapse
Honda touts the fact its Accord engines are made in the USA
The off-duty officer was trying to assist people in need
Women were tossed out of a protest march in Chicago because their Jewish rainbow flags "made people feel unsafe"
We really ought to celebrate the things that didn't work, or came far ahead of their times, since they often provide the stepping stones to much better things down the road
Politics notwithstanding, airports are really bad sites for mass protest. Large gatherings of riled-up people create an implicit security hazard, and could easily offer cover for malfeasance by terrorists. No matter how "spontaneous" the organizers want to pretend to be, if they use the same site (like an airport) more than once, then an opportunistic attacker need only scope out the security response the first time before coming back the second time with intent.
Literally "green" architecture: An article to think about the next time you see a drawing of a skyscraper with some random trees depicted somewhere around the 75th floor.
That's a dramatic change in position, but efforts to influence the outcomes of our elections aren't new, aren't over, and aren't to be viewed through narrow partisan lenses. Sen. John McCain issued a lengthy opinion piece arguing that efforts to influence the outcome of the 2016 election were just "one phase of Vladimir Putin's long-term campaign to weaken the United States, to destabilize Europe, to break the NATO alliance, to undermine confidence in Western values, and to erode any and all resistance to his dark and dangerous view of the world." As Michael Bloomberg wrote: "Not admitting your problems means you can't fix them." We have a problem, and it's not one that fits a predefined partisan divide. It's a problem for all Americans, together.
Sage words from Tom Nichols. Better politics start with the character of the voters ourselves, so if we're not pleased with the results we're getting, then we need to start addressing the systems we have in place that create the voters and outcomes we get. It may not be reassuring to acknowledge, but self-government doesn't work without decent people choosing how to self-govern.
By this standard, all Presidential tweets should now begin with the conventional "My fellow Americans" and conclude with "May God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America."
Reasonable people should expect better answers about why a gun was fired seven times into a car with this child in the back seat, leaving an innocent man dead and the child (and her mother) traumatized.
Not as a passenger plane, except for its service as a VIP carrier like Air Force One
The startup political party went to some unusual measures to win
The President of the United States (whomever that may be) needs to be a person with credibility. When a President is caught bluffing (as when President Obama backtracked repeatedly on his "red lines" over incidents in Syria and Ukraine, or when President Trump admits he doesn't have tapes of his meetings with James Comey), that undermines the security of the nation. The words of our chief executive need to mean something so that we don't always have to back them with force.
Every police-involved shooting death really should be submitted to independent review, just like we do for plane crashes and train incidents via the NTSB. The reviewing body doesn't even have to be empowered to punish anyone -- but we do need to get a close look at exactly why individuals die during encounters with officers of the peace. If doctors and surgeons have to submit to morbidity and mortality reviews as a means of learning how to do a better and safer job in the future, shouldn't police departments submit their own incidents for the same kind of clear-headed review? Again, it doesn't even have to be punitive to be useful.
A really fascinating tool for seeing which jobs are at highest risk. Automation is vastly more destructive to jobs than trade, but trade gets all the bad press. (But automation and trade also help to create new and better jobs -- in accounting terms, they destroy in gross but create on net.)
The White House needs to back off its threats of trade wars. That behavior is very bad for the economy.
A take on the "man in the middle" attack that could crack even conscientious computer users
An overlooked gem in American political biography
When Philando Castile was shot by a police officer -- seven times -- there was a young child in the back seat. And after that trauma, the child could only think of her mother's safety.
One might imagine that Seoul has more skin in the game than people spouting off in Washington, DC -- and that brinksmanship with a tinpot dictator isn't a strategy with a good outcome in game theory
Should preteens be discouraged from living entirely through smartphones? Yes. Should they be banned from getting them? No. That's the attitude of a nanny state. What about the kid from a household with limited means (or disengaged parents) who uses a smartphone to take lessons from the Khan Academy? The problem is that in some ways, smartphones are as useful and good as public libraries. In others, they're all of the worst things about TV. But smartphone use is the kind of thing that should be decided by conscientious parents, not an overbearing government.
Ford thinks it'll save $1 billion by making the switch away from US-based production
An excellent episode of "Frontline"
And with times being tough in farming right now, expect to see more consolidation in agriculture
That's anarchism, not libertarianism. If your first belief is in the preservation of natural liberties, then some form of government is necessary. Coercion will exist with or without government power, so the only way to preserve liberties is to make sure that some form of coercive power is held by a government subject to rules, so that it can in turn prevent private individuals from coercing or oppressing others. You can't "smash the state" like an anarchist and effectively preserve liberty.
It's no small matter to raise the percentage of degree-earners among an entire population -- particularly one with extremely high poverty rates
Just one example of trials (among many) in retail
It already makes sense to implement "guardian angel" technologies on behalf of ordinary drivers and passengers on the roads -- but it also could serve to prevent the use of heavy vehicles as weapons against crowds of pedestrians
Anything that would reduce the amount of reserve capital required to be held at banks should require some pretty extraordinary justification
Excuses are no substitute for knowing what you're doing when you're in the most powerful office in the Federal government
That's a whole lot of spending just to get a new asset to fit under the corporate umbrella
Butterfinger, Crunch bars, and Sweet Tarts could all go on the auction block
Now, to find out why
And appears to seek new ways to constrain the President along the way
Shocking images of a tall building completely engulfed in flames
The shortage of housing in the San Francisco Bay area is apparently at titanic proportions. KGO quotes a housing official as saying there have been 500,000 new jobs created and only 50,000 new housing units built in the last half-decade. The resulting shortage appears to be creating strain all over the place, including among senior citizens who now can't afford housing. The fact that sufficient new housing hasn't been produced when demand should be somewhere on the scale of ten times new supply suggests that some kind of regulatory or resource constraint is creating a massive chokepoint. And, when in doubt, assume that developers will find a way to overcome the resource constraint (like available land) with money (like building taller towers), so there's a pretty good chance you're looking at a regulatory choke.
Such a definition might subject it to a giant wave of new internal and external restrictions and policies
The President loves using Twitter...but it's massively against his best interests, at least from a legal standpoint
En Marche is perhaps the most interesting and most disruptive startup of modern times
An educated (and credentialed) workforce is one way to induce demand
A substantially larger prospect than self-driving cars -- and yet, in technological terms, not that far away
We need (at least) two intellectually honest and principled political parties for our electoral system to work. If the GOP succumbs to a transient populism on one side while the Democrats succumb to a transient populism on the other, then as a nation we're in trouble.
Would 3% annual economic growth be wonderful? Absolutely. Is hoping for that number enough? Not even close. The CFRB notes the kinds of hurdles we'd have to overcome in order to consistently get to 3% annual growth in the United States. This matters because outrageously high growth projections are required for the current White House budget concept to come anywhere close to working.
It's self-serving behavior, but it's also potentially a way to do some good for people who are economically on the margins. Anything that reduces the "cost of being poor" (as we've come to understand it) deserves attention and consideration as a public good.
That's a long way to go in a short period of time
The university also has a similar deal with the University of Iowa's law school
Sen. Bernie Sanders is out on the campaign trail again, pushing a hard-leftist agenda. It's full of energy and hype, but short on productive policy. The harder he and his acolytes push on the Democratic Party, the more they risk fracturing it entirely.
If Emmanuel Macron is successful, he will have done a great service to his country. The more flexibility to be found in labor markets, in general, the better.
Terrorism is a tactic -- and it's been employed by a wide range of groups over time to achieve political ends all over the spectrum. To talk about defeating a tactic is to promise something that can never be accomplished -- so it only sets up the public for failure, cynicism, and a sense of defeat. Specificity of objectives is important.
And in the case of the President's management style, the process is perfectly designed to create chaotic results among people who vie for limited attention from a person who desires esteem above all things. That's a recipe for people to push boundaries, bend rules, and cross ethical boundaries.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that labor in the non-farm business sector in the US is only 1.2% more productive than it was a year ago. Without a lot more labor-hours worked, it's really going to be hard for the economy to expand in any durable way. Weak productivity growth at a time of low participation rates in the labor force (low in no small part due to retirements among Baby Boomers) is really the deepest-seated problem in the US economy.
Iceland dealt with a substance-abuse problem among young people by finding them better things to do. It's a universal truth: If there aren't productive alternatives, young people with nothing better to do will fill the voids...and it should never come as a surprise if the voids are filled by things like drugs and alcohol, if those are the things that someone else has an incentive to push. The alternatives don't necessarily have to involve government, but they do usually require some kind of concentrated effort by people who are willing to commit some resources to filling the voids.
The DCCC is still trying to rally public support around messianic images of President Obama. That's not a path forward.
And the world has done little or nothing to actually help. Do we not think the consequences will affect us somehow? Don't they always?
When Vladimir Putin says that "patriotic" hackers "may try to add their contribution to the fight against those who speak badly about Russia", he's not really denying that his government could, would, or did try to interfere with the outcome of the US Presidential election. There's nothing "patriotic" about trying to undermine another country's self-determination. What an awful characterization.
It's perfectly fine to have a President who practices no particular faith (as long as he or she has given the matter some thought). It's fine for a President to come from an unusual or small faith tradition (again, as long as some thought has gone into the choice). It's fine for the President to come from a mainstream faith tradition (ditto on the "thinking about it" part). But for a President to not know the very basics of how Christianity is categorized among Protestants, Catholics, and other groups -- or within Protestantism, between evangelicals and mainline denominations -- betrays a deep lack of understanding of something that forms a deep sense of personal identity for millions of Americans. That's pretty astonishing.
While some of the projections are likely to be true, the narrative of this article from Bain and Company assumes that on balance the growth of automation will be bad for cities and good for less-densely-populated areas. That runs contrary to other projections, which suggest that as low-skill, widely-found jobs are disrupted by automation (especially in areas like retail service), cities will be the only places where enough concentrated specialists will be found to make economies sustainable.
By peppering her text messages to a prospective landlord with a bunch of happy emojis, a judge concluded that she intended to show positive intent to rent, and now she has to pay a few thousand dollars in damages. There's a reason the written word beat out the pictogram millennia ago.
It may seem quaint, but just being against something (like an unlikeable President) still isn't enough to motivate winning coalitions of voters -- at least not reliably.
And a heavy debt burden threatens the prospects for growth, which in turn could destabilize the country if it doesn't liberalize its politics. It's a whole basket full of alarms.
The report makes it clear: Officials of the Turkish government brought violence to Washington, DC
What better way to take advantage of the "leaks" resulting from their hacks than to deliberately falsify or modify some of the leaked materials in order to do even more damage?
Trade is less about "We sell, you buy" and more about how complex things come together. The President's abject failure to understand how this works is his own deliberate fault, and it is inexcusable. A world that trades voluntarily is a world that delivers material well-being to its people and peace among its nations.
Shameful if nations have to make a rational calculation to spend much more money and time on defense because we abandoned the liberal order. It's an inefficient use of resources to spend them on warcraft if we could have peace through strength (and mutual defense) instead.
The President declined to reaffirm that US policy backs the Article 5 commitment to mutual defense in his hectoring and uninspired speech at NATO headquarters. (He also shoved another NATO leader like a toddler.)
It's a ridiculous stunt in her bid to become Speaker of the House again. It's not really a feasible solution to poverty...and worse (from an electoral standpoint), it's not going to attract middle-class voters who aren't now voting Democratic.
Ankeny even makes it into the very top tier for fastest-growing cities in the country
What the company did to remodel the taxi business, now it wants to do to over-the-road trucking. In the short run, it could be good news for independent drivers who are looking for a better way to fill their time carrying loads. In the long run, don't forget that Uber wants to go way beyond paying human drivers; they already own a project devoted to putting self-driving freight trucks on the road. In a sense, drivers who work for Uber Freight will be training their own replacements.
The TSA is going to increase the amount of screening applied to electronics with "new procedures" at ten airports this summer. The official announcement makes it sound like they're just going to require people to take things like cables and devices out of bags and put them in to separate bins for screening. But at this stage, who knows?
A magnificent insight from Graham Allison: "We really need to rethink our vital interests and the way we cling to the Pax Americana established after World War II. That status quo can no longer be sustained when the economic reality has tilted so dramatically in China’s favour. America’s real strategy, truth be told, is hope. At the same time, Chinese authoritarianism is no longer sustainable."
The Carrier plant in Indiana -- for which the President took such gleeful credit for "saving" hundreds of jobs through negotiation -- is laying off most of those "saved" employees before Christmas. The President shouldn't have interfered in the first place, shouldn't have taken credit for the jobs, and now deserves as much blame as the undeserved credit he took.
(Video) He is gravely concerned that we're right about at the tipping point where a reversion to historical interest rates are going to destroy anything left in the budget. He notes that leaving entitlements untouched in the budget leaves no room for any of the discretionary spending that people expect to get from their government.
A big range of countries have become disturbingly more open to strong-man politics in the last couple of decades. That's a problem, because the appeal of the "strong leader" is an artifact in our brains leftover from the past, when power did more to define groups of people than principles. That doesn't fit with a modern world that broadly depends on peace and trade rather than bloody fights.
A candidate for the US House of Representatives just physically attacked a newspaper reporter for asking questions. When you go after a reporter, you (symbolically) go after the First Amendment. And there is no room for that in our Constitutional order. The news media ought to resist the temptation to overstate what happened...but the candidate ought to be instantly disqualified in the minds of the voters.
Note the substantial benefits that accrue to states with substantial ag sectors. There's no good to be gained from producing surplus crops, meat, and other products if there's no place to use or sell the excess output. Anyone who bears even a rudimentary understanding of specialization and comparative advantage ought to grasp that without liberalized trade policies, the states with surplus to sell will find themselves losing out.
If officials within the White House are under criminal investigation, then the investigation must be permitted to proceed without obstruction or interference, and the public ought to be on very serious alert.
Commentator James Palmer (the Asia editor at Foreign Policy), who grew up in the city says the terrorist attack shouldn't elevate the city into a symbol: "Of course Mancunians opened their homes and brought out free sandwiches and hurried into emergency rooms to save lives, and God bless every one of them. But they did that because they're people, not because they were Mancunians."
If we had words for a time like this -- if we had rituals for reacting -- then we would be acknowledging this kind of attack as something normal. We should resist that normalization.
There's no reason for preventable child deaths
A Chinese student speaking at her commencement from the University of Maryland found herself on the receiving end of heavy criticism from home for revealing that her experience in America overturned the notion in her mind "that only authorities owned the narrative". This is exactly why a strong American effort on behalf of public diplomacy everywhere is a worthwhile investment. People shouldn't have to come here to get the message.
From an economic perspective, it's almost as essential as other basic utilities like power, water, and sewer service. If that's the case, then there may be a case to be made on behalf of ensuring universal access -- and that, in turn, may influence whether people consider it worth subsidizing for those who live in places where it's not economical to deliver under conventional assumptions.
At least 19 people were killed in a bombing at a pop concert
"Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate". Those with loyalties to the institutions of good self-government are the true heroes of this era.
Interesting question: Why not the Judiciary Committee?
Writes Noah Smith: "[W]e need to increase the chances of whole new fields of technology being created", and one way to raise the odds of that happening is to encourage lots of migration by smart people to places that want them
The technology holds enormous promise -- but the developers need to follow the rules while they're still testing things
The Upper Midwest is going to have a decent view -- especially Nebraska
Budget watchdog group Fix the Debt: "The President is right to focus on job creation and tax reform. But he should not rely on unrealistic and rosy economic growth projections to pay for his proposals or fix our debt. It is not a good idea to spend as if you won the lottery in hopes that you actually do."
McClatchy cites members of Congress: "Investigators into Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential elections are now authorized to probe whether White House officials have engaged in a cover-up."
Too many Americans who knew that a free press was a key to winning the Cold War are now quick to share propaganda on their Facebook pages. We need to get smarter, not more entrenched in preconceived notions. Perhaps social media apps shouldn't open until you've been forced to read two pages in a book.
"Above all, reporters are representatives of the public." Yes.
There really just aren't civil-works infrastructures designed to handle that kind of water
China is undertaking a big concept: Essentially, that its interests are best served by heavy investment in the infrastructure that will permit it access to markets abroad so it can export more. But the concept isn't just about what China wants to build, but what the nations on the receiving end of the investment decide to do.
One team of futurists estimates that households will save thousands of dollars a year if they start using self-driving cars that are part of fleet services. What's perhaps more interesting is to consider what happens if people continue to own vehicles but (a) simply have a lot more time at their disposal because we waste so much human energy behind the wheel, and (b) save a ton of money because electric cars turn out to be much more reliable than combustion-engine vehicles. Some of the projections in the forecast are far-fetched (recovering "vast tracts of land" seems unlikely), but others could unsettle some of the biggest industries in the economy, including the oil companies.
Water got in the front entrance, where it wasn't supposed to
Worthwhile reading for students of both American political history and political strategy
Oil and gas are obviously hugely influential to the Norwegian economy, but they're fortunate to have diversified away from a purely extraction-based economy.
We're a long, long way away from the days of trench warfare
China is using "Confucius Institutes" to launch public diplomacy all over the world tied to their "Belt and Road" project -- an official says, "Confucius Institutes have been launched in 51 of the 65 countries linked to the initiative's two main routes". It's entirely their right to do so, but it should also be a substantial warning to the United States that now is not the time to back down from the world stage, but rather time to step up our own public-diplomacy efforts.
The general thesis: Big cities have specialists, and their jobs are hard to automate. Small cities have lots of generalists, and their jobs are much easier to automate. This thesis is worth much more examination.
The Atlantic Monthly cover story "My Family's Slave" is positively riveting
Empty threats of intimidation are conduct unbecoming a Constitutional officer of the United States. A reasonable argument could be made that the President is trying to intimidate people currently in the White House, more than the ex-director of the FBI.
The apparently deliberate misinformation campaign conducted by the present administration suggests that it may be journalistic malpractice to give their press briefings a raw feed to the public. One simple technique could be implemented if broadcasting networks decide to start fact-checking the administration: If the speaker is lying, fabricating, or misleading, switch the video to black and white. That would offer a simple but unavoidable visual cue that could have a real impact.
Federal prosecutors are told to "charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense". The problem with this approach is that discretion in the direction of mercy is a cornerstone of justice in a society like ours. That's why the President retains the Constitutional authority to pardon.
A 22-year-old Syrian woman passing through Switzerland as a refugee had a stillborn child, and her treatment by authorities may be to blame. The Swiss authorities have opened a case against one of the border guards involved, as they rightly should. Anyone who vocally countered protests in the United States with the phrase "all lives matter" should examine whether they believe the lives of the refugee and her baby mattered...enough.
Literally tens of thousands of computers have been infected and some people are paying the $300 ransom. It appears to have crippled the British National Health Service. It's so bad that Microsoft has issued patches for Windows XP and Windows 8, both of which are "no longer supported". That's a big concession and an indication of just how significant the attack really is. As is so often the case, the best preventive measure is to make sure that your operating systems are fully up to date. Reputable sources say the NSA used the same vulnerability in the past to spy on computers.
Much better to fill the air with drones (potentially providing useful live video) than to fill the roads with storm-chasers
As people scroll past videos in their "news" feeds, videos will play their audio automatically (until the user deliberately switches the setting). Auto-playing audio was a stupid feature of the Internet 20 years ago. It's mind-bogglingly stupid to impose it in 2017.
The New York Times reports that the President asked now-fired FBI director James Comey for a statement of loyalty, and further reports that Comey declined. If so, it is to his credit. This would be a sensible time to point out that we should reconsider our national Pledge of Allegiance. We swear that allegiance "to the flag [...] and to the Republic for which it stands". It would be more patriotic if we swore that allegiance not to the flag, but to the Constitution. It is to the law -- and the Republic which it establishes, not just "for which it stands" -- that we owe our loyalty above all. Most certainly, above loyalty to any person.
Megan McArdle writes: "There are a lot of sources of political power in the American system, and those civic institutions will fiercely resist any attempt to remake them into hand-crafted tools of Dear Leader's whims." The President's desire to preserve himself (and promote himself) appears unbounded by any self-control, and the unrelenting urge to appear decisive actively undermines any case he might make on behalf of the legitimacy of his decision. He manages, somehow, to be defiant, defensive, and desperate for approval -- all at the same time.
There's just not going to be any individual insurance left. Iowa has already reached the zero hour, and soon so will plenty of other states. We may find ourselves forced without consent into a single-payer system.
Protectionism is the helicopter parenting of economics -- if we plunder the consumer in order to "protect" industries that cannot (or will not) compete, then we're only conducting a transfer of wealth from people who earned it to those who have politicians on their side. Trade agreements are not zero-sum. It is possible to benefit by exporting more -- and by importing more. Importing cheaply that which we can only produce at great expense (or not at all) isn't a loss. Nor is importing something of lower value and converting it (by assembly, refinement, or other upgrade) into something more valuable.
The Boy Scouts play an important role in the civic well-being of the country. This is an unfortunate withdrawal: Like America, the Boy Scouts are stronger because they consist of many who can differ about they ways they will live their private lives, yet still share an essential belief in some common principles of civic life and engagement. The less we retreat into our own silos of self-similarity and the more time we spend achieving common good alongside people who are different from us, the better.
Because American photographers weren't allowed inside, the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Boston Globe all ran photos from Russian sources of an Oval Office meeting between the President and the Russian foreign minister.
If institutions matter, then processes must be held as important as outcomes. The rule of law depends on it.
The former acting attorney general just told the Senate that she tried to warn the White House that they were opening the door to grave trouble by letting Michael Flynn become the national security advisor. The trouble was that he could be subject to blackmail -- a serious problem for the NSA.
He says, "Don't do it -- they already don't like you very much," reports the Australian Broadcasting Corp. Nobody should rise to a position of real power without understanding that tax incidence has nothing to do with who likes whom. It's simple: Cutting the check isn't the same as paying the price. Taxes are always -- always -- shared between buyers and sellers in some proportion, depending largely upon who "wants" the transaction more.
They're looking seriously at letting people enter the Marines without going through conventional boot camp training, as long as they bring necessary technology-related skills. It really may be time to open up a distinct branch of the military devoted to cyberwarfare.
The purchase price is $3.9 billion plus outstanding debt. Sinclair has quietly covered a huge portion of the country with its owned-and-operated broadcast outlets. A prominent Chicago media columnist reports the story with a dark headline, seeing it as an ominous political move. It might better be portrayed as another step in the demise of proprietor capitalism -- a process which has its own drawbacks.
The "Trump Taj Mahal" has been liquidated at pennies on the dollar from its original cost
Germany is grappling with the question of just how much the government can do to insist that unemployed workers get new training -- how to do it, how much to pay, and whether it should affect their unemployment benefits. The time to make strong structural reforms is when unemployment is low (like it is now), and when pilot programs and other testing can be done with less impact and disruption to the public at large. But it's also worth noting that if there is an accelerated pace of technological change affecting workers, then maybe it's worth taking a bigger look at what should be done throughout the economy to help make the changes less dramatic. The Nordic Council's idea to make life-long education a compulsory requirement might just be the answer, despite how radically that may change how we think about education. It's hard to get people to take voluntary action to keep developing their skills -- Singapore, just for example, has miniscule participation in programs for continuing education (both at the individual level and at the company level). So it might just be necessary to make it a universal requirement in order to get the social commitment necessary to make it work. Work is a social thing, not just an economic one, so it makes sense to consider the social aspects of ongoing labor-force development as part of the big picture, both socially and economically.
The problem with leaning on your user base to produce the content you need to make money? It's costly and difficult to weed out the bad content, of which there is a lot. And the producers of bad content have far more vested interest in producing it, getting it seen, and skirting the rules than the producers of good content have vested interest in tolerating it.
There are lots of people with Russian ties (including language) living in Germany, and they're getting messages that seek to undermine the incumbent government of Angela Merkel. Watch this closely! For Americans, it may be easier to see this interference from the outside than on the inside...but it's clear that Russia has turned to asymmetric psychological-warfare efforts to interfere with outcomes in democratic countries.
The new GOES-16 weather satellite provides a much more real-time view of North America than meteorologists had before. And with that comes much smoother animation of storm activity. When viewed correctly, it becomes a whole lot more clear that the fluid atmosphere above us behaves like a liquid in slow motion. The frequent updates might also help observers to pinpoint sooner when clouds start to break through temperature caps.
The column is a little on the flaky side for something from Harvard Business Review, but the main point is valuable: Pursuing more than one career interest gives a person more options and allows them to think deeply about how they can apply interdisciplinary thinking to problems.
The official reason for letting the accreditation lapse: It "doesn't lead us to a goal of significant improvement". Good for them, if that's the full story. Ultimately, those certifications, accreditations, trade groups, and regulations that fail to actually cultivate improvement are only relics.
A fistfight broke out on a passenger airplane. You never know when you could be trapped in a small space with a crazy person (and no weapons).
A government that responds to today's greedy voters by shoving its hands in the pockets of tomorrow's taxpayers is, truly, unlimited. And that's an affront to those who believe in limited government.
Seven jail officials could face charges over the death of an inmate who was deprived of water. We explicitly prohibit cruel and unusual punishment for a reason. Deprivation of liberty should be punishment enough. It is un-American to take pride in the abuse of the imprisoned. Heed the words of Dwight Eisenhower: "Throughout America's adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations."
The President walks away from an interview with John Dickerson of CBS when Dickerson asks what proof he has of illegal wiretapping supposedly conducted by President Obama
The public university is taking over a big chunk of the Kaplan University system, instantly expanding Purdue's reach as an online-education presence in about the biggest way possible. Purdue's president, Mitch Daniels, said he didn't think Purdue could make a big enough entry into online education on its own without making the jump to an acquisition of this scale.
Responding to outcry over a recent item published in the New York Times, Senator Ben Sasse notes, "We are in danger of becoming a nation that flees all discussion with people and ideas we don't already agree with. That won't work out well." He's right. No great idea has ever been diminished by a challenge from a lesser idea. Either it is sustained intact, or it is refined by the conflict.
And, like that, Congress appears to have reached a deal to fund the Federal government through September 30th. A vote is supposed to come later in the week.
Bloomberg will provide 24-hour-a-day news content, and Twitter will provide the distribution platform. With a move like this, one ought to put the odds that Bloomberg will ultimately buy Twitter outright at something around 50-50.
And we would describe him in colorful words today if he were from somewhere else. That's what makes the President's bizarre and vocal defense of Jackson strange. Even a sympathetic look at Jackson reveals huge flaws in his character.
Would we have a better safety net for the young if, instead of specific programs, we instead simply had a national program for cash payments to parents to ensure the well-being of their children? An interesting question. To be sure, the value of targeting individual programs has an offsetting cost in terms of requiring poor parents to jump through lots of bureaucratic hoops.
When an open supporter of the President says he finds it hard to defend the officeholder, Katy Tur has a good question
A valuable lesson in the inevitability of globalization, delivered through strong storytelling
Everyone like the idea of a tax cut, but it's not always the right prescription. If indefinite tax cuts led to infinite growth, then we should cut the rates to zero. But they don't, and so we shouldn't. The fact is that if we're going to spend 20% or 21% of GDP on the Federal government, then we need to collect taxes within a percentage point (or two, at most) of that amount in order to have a sustainable budget. But we don't: The Federal government only takes in about 17.5% of GDP as revenues (usually taxes). Economic growth can make up a small gap, but not a big one. Borrowing against the future only creates conflict between generations and raises the ultimate cost of our borrowing.
The House Oversight Committee requested information from the White House about Michael Flynn. The White House is stonewalling the request. So now, regardless of partisan alignments, the House has a reason to stand up for itself and insist on its own authority to conduct an investigation -- for the good of the institution. That's a good thing.
First, the President said we were cutting out of NAFTA. Then he got a couple of angry phone calls and decided to reverse course. Free trade is a much bigger and more important principle than that, and it deserves far more serious consideration than he has given the matter.
The network announced a whole bunch of layoffs, and the ultimate cause is that people have more choice than ever about getting programming without the channel bundles. So a whole lot of people who used to pay for ESPN (as part of cable or satellite TV bills) but rarely or never watched it...still don't watch it, but now they don't pay for it, either.
United revises its rules to offer a whole lot more than before in order to bump passengers voluntarily. The market will take care of the rest.
The President has wobbled back and forth between threatening to withdraw from NAFTA to, now, saying he's been convinced by phone calls from Canada and Mexico to leave the agreement in place. It's absurd and self-defeating. Anyone who thinks free trade is unilaterally bad for America hasn't seen the hoops that Canadians will jump through to buy US-made products, just for example. Restricting trade hurts many and helps a few, but the many often don't realize it. The harm done is real nonetheless.
In addition to the substantial cybercriminal/cyberwarfare behavior that had some impact on the 2016 election, there's also an ongoing battle in the court of public diplomacy -- one from which the United States has been ill-advisedly retreating. With propaganda tools like RT on the rise, the United States needs to turn around and stop depleting and neglecting the tools of public diplomacy that helped shape the outcome of the Cold War. For altogether too long, we've been cutting back on conventional (even analog) means of communicating with the world to promote a message of transparency, individual liberty, and the rule of law. Excuses have been made about the economy of using online means to achieve the same ends, but the reality is that they are not true substitutes. They should be seen as complementary tools -- just like a terrestrial radio station, its online stream, and its website are each complementary of one another, to be supplemented by things like social media, podcasts, and "street presence". That's the model we need to resurrect in public diplomacy, and we need to be willing to invest in it.
The "Tricorder" medical device of "Star Trek" fame is now, at least tentatively, a real thing in our own world. Two teams have been awarded substantial prizes in an X-Prize to come up with a device that measures for 10 conditions (anemia, atrial fibrillation (AFib), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, leukocytosis, pneumonia, otitis media, sleep apnea, urinary tract infection, or the absence of all nine problems), a few additional elective conditions, and vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, respiratory rate, temperature). A truly fantastic development in technology. Inducement/innovation prizes really work. Now the task is to get the devices to FDA approval so we can start to use them.
We have, quite literally, only bullet points to describe what the administration says it wants to pursue for tax reform. But the headline above those bullet points is "The biggest individual and business tax cut in American history". Nobody with the slightest bit of sense can argue that the tax code isn't in need of simplifying reform. What we have now simply doesn't make any kind of comprehensive sense. But to promise a tax cut of historic proportions when the Federal debt stands just a hair shy of $20 trillion -- or, if you do the math, more than $61,000 per person -- is to put an irresponsible degree of faith in the power of a tax cut to stimulate economic growth. Rapid economic growth makes up for a whole lot of fiscal sins...but the amount of growth required in an economy that annually produces in the neighborhood of $18 to $19 trillion is far more than even the most enthusiastic Keynesian would probably permit. It's the expansive view of government that is the root of the problem -- the belief that government can and should do quite a lot. But once we have committed to having government do something, it is generationally irresponsible not to pay for it as we go. We can pass along debts on things that have inter-generational benefits (like the Interstate highway system, or winning WWII) -- and do it with a clear conscience. But our present problem is, quite simply, that we want too much and are willing to pay too little for it. That's a titanic failure of both math and morals. Lower tax rates might easily feel good, but their real impact really just won't be enough to pay for itself, likely not even by a long shot.
Former Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves: "One of the problems is that many political leaders don't really quite get it. They don't understand the technology and then they will repeat things that they've heard..." That doesn't mean we have to fill the US Congress and the parliaments of Europe with computer programmers, but it wouldn't hurt if they had at least a modicum of digital and technological literacy before occupying those roles. Learning about cyberwarfare is today as important a job for a national-level politician as learning about bombs. You don't have to know how to use them, but you'd better have a general understanding of how they work. With mounting evidence that nefarious forces have been conducting cyberwarfare against the centrist candidate for French president, it should be clear to anyone who pays the slightest bit of attention to the matter that cyberwarfare is a pressing issue now and will continue to be.
Assuming that everything proceeds as expected with the acquisition, the Yahoo CEO is lined up to make a huge amount of money off her vested stock options. And that's compensation for a performance that it's quite hard to dignify as "successful". Yahoo is, by any reasonable account, a diminished presence on the Internet from what it was when she started her tenure. Would it have done worse in other hands? Maybe or maybe not. But the fact that equity compensation in the form of stock options makes it possible for someone to make so much money -- a fairly incomprehensible amount, really -- without delivering a dramatic success ought to cause shareholders to really question whether they're being fleeced by management and the boards who set management compensation. It's hard not to think the answer is too often "yes". Or, in the words of New York Times reporter Binyamin Appelbaum, "Another CEO is rewarded with generational wealth for accomplishing absolutely nothing." Calling it "absolutely nothing" may be a bit harsh, but it's certainly not a rousing success story. The people who own businesses -- shareholders -- need to speak up for themselves and demand better.
Imagine a state that reaches a point where it can no longer pay its bills, nor get anyone to lend it money at less than outrageous rates. Would the Federal government have to step in with a bailout?
For the last two years, say the Danes. That's a whole lot of cyberwarfare against a NATO member state.
Farmers and ranchers are highly likely to buy their health insurance in the individual marketplace, which has turned into a pretty catastrophically high-cost area for a lot of buyers.
They're seriously talking about opening up IKEA restaurants detached from the furniture stores, employing (of course) the lessons they've learned from operating the in-house food service as a tool to get shoppers to stick around for longer. As crazy as standalone Swedish fast-food outlets may sound, it's a bad idea to bet against IKEA -- they've demonstrated a strong capacity to figure out how to create greater demand than they can supply.
The word "corrections" should only apply if we're trying to release better people than the ones who entered prison. How hard are we really trying to do that?
He won't do it because he thinks it's rude to the pitcher. Imagine...we're talking about the Chicago Cubs as heavy hitters, after a century of loveable loserdom
Anyone who didn't like the Apple Store before will likely find it positively nauseating after the changes, which appear to be intended to make the stores more of a "destination" than a place to shop. Ugh.
The White House claims it will put forward a proposal for tax reform by next week. Any proposal needs to reflect two important conservative principles: First, government shouldn't take any more than necessary. Second, one generation shouldn't take from another.
Nefarious. Just nefarious.
Next week, he will speak on a major stage for the first time since the end of his presidency. The lingering trouble for the Democratic Party is that his electoral success was more personality-driven than policy-driven, and his "movement" in the meantime severely undermined the kinds of policy objectives that helped the Democrats put Bill Clinton in office. To get back into they White House, they'll need more Clinton-esque policymaking and less nostalgia for Obama. He managed a unique presence in electoral history, but it was not good in the long term for his own party.
Vice President Pence forced everyone aboard Air Force Two to watch "Hoosiers" because he's from Indiana and they were stuck on a flight to Australia
Does it matter anymore if a station has a main studio in its city of license?
It's possible -- it was easy to oppose Communism when its public face was the grim, depressing, and economically-backwards Soviet Union. But China has the ability to put a lot of shine and sparkle on display (like the cities built practically overnight from scratch), and that may cause some people to think that an authoritarian government might not be all that bad, especially if it's able to "deliver the goods" that make the difference between poverty and at least some form of wealth. But we proceed down a dangerous path when we let this kind of thinking run about unchecked. ■ First, it's hazardous to assume that the economic success of a nation like China is more than skin-deep. Other countries have achieved substantial transformations in their economic status, too -- Japan, South Korea, and Singapore are all relevant examples from the same region of the world. But they each had important fundamentals undergirding their economic growth, and they each have paid a toll in the modern day for shortcuts that were taken in the past. South Korea's government intervened heavily in order to promote development in heavy industry -- and today, they continue to pay back a sort of civic debt in the form of political scandals tied to the favoritism that went unchecked a long time ago. Japan's economy had one of the world's great booms, but their strong resistance to immigration seems to have created avoidable obstacles to future growth. Singapore, being much smaller than the other two examples, is perhaps a less informative case study, but it is not without its own internal critics of the strength of the state. Ultimately, China will pay a major penalty for its growth if it doesn't start to rectify some of the weaknesses in its own structural approach. ■ Second, economic growth in a country that starts out very poor will happen at a much faster pace than in a country that starts out in the world's middle class or better, just like a startup company can show much faster growth rates than a mature one. Moving from poverty into the middle class will tend to look like a much faster and bigger achievement than moving from prosperity to greater prosperity, simply because it starts from a lower base. That doesn't mean they've discovered some special form of mastery. ■ Third, if looking to other countries causes Americans to think that the answer to prosperity is found somewhere in stronger centralization of power by a political elite rather than from the diffusion of power and control, then they're taking away exactly the wrong message. Sometimes, government has managed to concentrate a whole lot of attention and brainpower on select goals and achieved great success -- the Manhattan Project, for instance, or putting men on the Moon. But most of the transformative improvements in American life have come about from the accumulated small improvements made in many places by many self-interested individuals, families, and firms, which taken together have produced great rewards. Individual ambition among lots of people who are free to exercise their own motivation is a whole lot more effective at making great things happen in the long run than putting some purportedly great planner in charge. As Milton and Rose Friedman wrote, "The depression convinced the public that capitalism was defective; the war, that centralized government was efficient. Both conclusions were false." ■ Fourth, the economy isn't the only thing that matters. So does liberty. So does character. So does honor. So does dignity. So does the rule of law. These things all require hard work -- and though they may be harder to quantify than per-capita GDP growth, they should never be sacrificed in the name of simply making more money. Prosperity is good, necessary, and desirable -- but wealth shouldn't also cost our souls. Economic prosperity is more important as a tool for defending our freedoms and liberties than as an end unto itself. As Margaret Thatcher said, "The sense of being self-reliant, of playing a role within the family, of owning one's own property, of paying one's way, are all part of the spiritual ballast which maintains responsible citizenship, and provides the solid foundation from which people look around to see what more they might do, for others and for themselves."
Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon has proposed that a council of former Presidents and Vice Presidents be given the authority to conduct a 25th Amendment review of their successors, just in case an out-of-control President seeks to remove his or her own Cabinet in a bid to prevent removal.
David French's analysis of the "toxic conservative-celebrity culture" in the National Review is quite good. Particularly this: "[B]ad character sends a country to hell just as surely as bad policy does, and any movement that asks its members to defend vice in the name of advancing allegedly greater virtue is ultimately shooting itself in the foot." There are great thinkers and a great intellectual tradition on the center-right of American politics. But just as surely as those ideas should be heard, the clowns who masquerade as "conservatives" in the name of self-absorbed publicity-seeking ought to be booted from the stage wherever possible. There's a lot of work to be done in defense of the classical values that support Western Civilization -- the policies that protect classical liberalism are rarely spontaneous or regenerative without heavy commitment from enlightened leaders. The distractions of noxious celebrity-seekers suck the air out of the room.
The Census Bureau says that a solid third of American adults ages 18 to 34 live at home with their parents. That's a big number, though there are plenty of reasons why that might be. And a quarter of those people living at home don't work or go to school. The total number is 2.2 million people. People who fail to get on the economic escalator early on are going to find themselves falling farther and farther behind in later life if they don't reverse course. A lot of things -- like marriage -- are happening much later for this generation of young adults than for their predecessors. But if you combine social delay with economic idleness, then there's a real problem to behold.
GM says it's only been making parts at the plant since 2015, but they're going to shut down operations in the country rather than surrender. The Venezuelan economic disaster is entirely man-made and entirely correctible...but it would require that the socialists acknowledge that they're at fault, which isn't something they do.
That's not political correctness, it's dignity. Someone should tell Ted Nugent.
A photo shows a small Sudanese refugee child -- perhaps two years old -- sleeping on a hard, dirty floor in threadbare clothing. No child should have to live like that. If we don't have sympathy for the refugee (and do something to help!), then we have no business calling ourselves civilized.
The notion of limited government and individual liberty isn't assured or permanently guaranteed anywhere. It takes effort and commitment. Much of human history rewarded the concentration of power, while the broadest benefits come from diffusion of it. It's much easier for people to slip into a sort of hypnosis that "strong" leaders can fix everything than to undertake the hard and sustained work of self-government.
In general, anything that permits the United States to act as a willing and open recruiter of talent from the global marketplace ought to have a positive impact on our economic standing. We should be "greedy", as the President likes to say, for as much talent as the rest of the world can send us.
The company says access to O'Hare makes a big difference since the company exports so much of its output. But it's also worth asking whether this is a case of the company chasing an agglomeration economy -- trying to move to where they think a willing population of management talent might already be (Chicago) rather than trying to dig in deeper and protect itself by entrenching further into Peoria, where its own employees are (perhaps) likely to have to be more committed to the company. By moving to suburban Chicago, it could just as easily lose valuable managers as gain them.
If government is going to spend $10 doing something, it's worth spending $1 to see whether it's using the other $9 well. In this case, we have a report documenting insufficient internal oversight over their activities -- which happen to be external oversight.
They were (and likely are) actively trying to undermine faith in the electoral system
Prominent Democrats think they can swear their way to success. They've even used the party's official Twitter account to do it. They're dead wrong: Their problem isn't that they aren't using enough foul language, and if they think that's what's keeping them from winning, they're going to keep on losing.
And socialist mismanagement of government and national resources is entirely to blame
Likely a gambit to consolidate popularity gains by her party versus a chronically weak Labour Party
Brought to the forefront by the broadcast of a murder this past week, though that's certainly not the only disturbing incident. It was evident the moment that Facebook Live came out that bad purposes, bad actors, and bad audiences could drive out the good.
Have no doubt that the campaign made major strategic and tactical mistakes. But if the Democratic Party concludes that it would have won the White House if only it hadn't been hobbled by the Clinton errors, then they're going to make terrible mistakes leading up to 2020.
Turkey's president says the new powers granted to him via a referendum don't make him a dictator. If the question even has to be asked, the answer probably isn't a good one.
That's because he's not actually a Democrat, and his campaign for their nomination was intended as a hostile takeover. Sanders has a view of government that is incompatible with the notion of limited government.
It's probably too easy for us to project tribal instincts onto nation-state frameworks, making "strong leadership" look better than it is. It takes conscious choice to recognize and adequately support restraint, openness, and flexibility among high-ranking leaders.
Senator Joni Ernst -- critical of the President's over-use of his own privately-owned facilities for both business and (abundant) vacation time -- is right to expect that the people's business predominantly be done from the people's house.
Rather simpler than the form most Americans complete today. Donald Rumsfeld has a terrific letter to the IRS that he sends each year to acknowledge that "I have absolutely no idea whether our tax returns and tax payment estimates are accurate...despite my best efforts, despite having a college degree, and despite having the assistance of an experienced tax accounting firm, I do not have confidence that I know what is being requested."
What kind of monsters would do such a thing? And can people begin to see just why so many refugees would be on the run? They're not the perpetrators -- they're the primary victims of the awful war.
And yet, still so far to go. The astonishing declines in characteristics like extreme poverty, illiteracy, and child mortality over the last two centuries truly reveal a world getting vastly better over generations. But it's up to each generation to keep pushing forward and avoiding the awful prospect of civilizational decline.
In the words of the Wall Street Journal editor Dennis Berman: "America has become a giant insurance scheme with an army".
There's very little that can be done to punish the country economically that hasn't already been done, and the legitimacy of the government there basically depends upon fomenting a state of crisis and its related high-stress mentality. So escalating conflict with them only serves to reinforce the one thing that appears to be holding the power structure in place. Consequently, it's not especially productive to show up and try to do our own chest-thumping: That's what the totalitarian regime is hoping for.
Dubai expects to be the first place in the world with drone taxis -- later this year. Really: They're getting autonomous drones that can carry passengers, called the "EHang 184".
As well as 1,500 mechanics. But the notion of layoffs affecting hundreds of aerospace engineers ought to attract special attention, as those would normally seem to be relatively bulletproof jobs in a high-income, high-status occupation.
The investigation is incomplete, but claims of responsibility shouldn't be ignored
We have no confirmed ambassadors to Japan, South Korea, or China right now -- and those are important roles at a time when North Korea is setting up real trouble.
It's not so much about paying too much (only 27% say it bothers them "a lot"), but whether they perceive that others are paying enough -- a Pew survey says 62% say it bothers them "a lot" that "some corporations don't pay their fair share", and 60% say the same about "some wealthy people". Worth noting: The households in the top 20% of the income bracket paid 69% of the income taxes in 2013. So, from a broad-brushstroke level, that looks pretty progressive.
The US has an interest thanks to the presence of our allies South Korea and Japan -- and because of the threat that North Korea is developing weapons that could reach the United States, from Alaska down the Pacific Coast. China naturally doesn't want an unstable nuclear-armed dictatorship getting frantic on its eastern border. And thus, the two countries have a mutual interest in asserting the necessary dominance to end the trouble.
Analysts think the "#SyriaHoax" hashtag was a pure Russian fabrication. Let's also acknowledge that Russia tried to influence US elections back in the 1980s; it's not like these operations are anything truly new. On Russian cyber and psychological warfare against the US and trusted institutions, take note of this observation: "It has not plateaued. It is continuing to increase." Also important to remember (about Russia, Syria, North Korea, and so on): The regime isn't the people.
There are others far away, too, but the idea that we might actually be in the same region as us is pretty intriguing. Saturn has a moon that looks especially intriguing.
Not unlimited, not unrestricted, but a rather significant free-tuition program
They're modifying Lexus SUVs
The first book you read on a subject may be totally wrong. You won't know until you read several more.
Someone may soon get a workshop in the hard-time value of money
Gut-wrenching for their families
A generation of Americans now believes the risk-free rate is zero. Makes the math easier, but it lacks a certain historical validity.
When NYC killed its old setback regulations, skyscraper design took a giant aesthetic leap backwards.
There are four problems with this: ■ If you're modifying your speech in an artificial way so that you "look" authentic, it's inauthentic (and people will see through it). ■ The smart way to demonstrate authenticity is by actually engaging with people -- look to Senators Cory Booker or Ben Sasse for online examples. ■ The Democratic Party should be trying to reach undecided voters and independents. Their base is sufficiently riled-up. The voters in the middle aren't looking for politicians to potty-mouth their way to success. ■ The DNC needs to work on its substance, not its style. The Democrats won the White House when the DLC pushed ideas to the forefront. The DLC was a direct reaction to the rise of identity-based politics in the party, and it promoted an agenda of ideas instead.
"AutoDraw" takes your lousy sketch and turns it into something more recognizable
The Guardian reports that British intelligence agencies reported on "contacts going on between people close to Mr Trump and people we believe are Russian intelligence agents", according to a source.
So says his lawyer, who also says he'll probably sue. Airlines ought to be smarter about offering people incentives to be bumped from flights. Passengers in middle seats, for instance, may need to be reminded that they have more to gain than others by taking a chance on a new flight.
There really aren't a lot of basket-weaving majors, to be fair.
A reminder we need while trade is getting bashed in the media
Take a messy, dynamic, hard-to-predict economy over a "planned" one any day.
Who's in control across Syria and Iraq
That's the interpretation of the National Security Council. Note the following: The price of oil is low (or, at least, it's well below the old bubble that subsidized oil-producing economies). The Russian population is stagnant or even shrinking. The Russian government depends a great deal on oil revenues to deliver goods and services -- for which demand would be expected to rise by a lot in a country with an aging population. And the cohort in power doesn't want to give up what they've taken. So it should come as no surprise that a form of asymmetric warfare -- the disinformation campaign -- will continue to be one of the go-to tools of that governing cohort, as long as disinformation continues to serve their interests. In China, a growing economy has served to suppress political dissent. Russia, which doesn't have a growing economy, may find its leaders turning more towards extraordinary tools to demonstrate (and maintain) power, in the absence of economic strength.
The President takes credit for changing the focus of the organization, which in his own interpretation took an obsolete organization and rendered it no longer obsolete. That interpretation is silly. Still more, the damage that was done by campaigning on the organization's supposed lack of utility is already fixed in the public's perception -- that is to say, anyone who didn't have an opinion regarding NATO before, and who took the President's campaign statements at face value, is unlikely to change their minds today just because of a reversal in his own formal statement of policy. Institutional support doesn't bounce back so easily.
And, in a gesture of disrespect to the press and the public, he ditched his press pool to do it
However inarticulate Romney's statement may have been, his actions were commendable. As a country, let's not do that again -- if a good person with good intentions and strong qualifications again comes along and runs for President, can we please judge them on their merits rather than fixating on nonsense like the occasional clunky turn of phrase? America needs more politicians like Mitt Romney, not fewer.
A really impressive display of research cartography
The United States is the sole superpower in world affairs. It's incumbent upon us to behave rationally, predictably, and transparently. When we don't, there's really not a lot of order left.
There's no way around conducting the managed burns -- but they might want to coordinate better in the future
No more support
When is a threat to self-determination somewhere a threat to it everywhere?
Ultimately, an offer like this is a business decision on the part of the state
The government there has done a shocking amount to destroy both the economy and democracy
If you really think Japan is still our biggest trade competitor, then you might just be stuck in the Reagan era
United overbooked a flight and forced a passenger off after he'd already boarded. The reputational damage to the airline from the resulting videos could be substantial.
That includes more emphasis on differentiating it from the other two business schools at the Regents universities
It mimics the sensory experience of taking a ride in the car, which for some infants is a cathartic experience
Likely one of the five most important passenger aircraft in commercial aviation history. It remains a workhorse -- the best-selling commercial airplane of all time -- and its capacity helped to define what routes would be economically viable and which wouldn't. If the 737 can't handle a route, it's probably destined to become a regional-jet route, with all of the consequences that entails.
People often give credit to wartime production efforts for stimulating economies (like, say, that of the United States during WWII). But that accounting is utterly incomplete if we don't also subtract the costs -- like the destruction of more than a quarter of France's national wealth and half of its annual economic output during the same war. War should never be credited for economic stimulus if we don't equally consider its vast costs.
That's per a mandate from the municipal government. Like many such regulations, it sounds noble on the surface -- like it will result in children getting better care. But it's important to see that this could equally be viewed as a barrier to entry that will keep competitors from entering the market to supply child care, and according to the Washington Post's story on the subject, the market is already extremely tight. Beware what's happening in the market for labor overall: When new barriers to entry are put up, they're rarely taken down. It's common (but foolish) practice to make it harder for people to compete on the merits of their work rather than on the licenses, degrees, and certifications they can earn -- because once people earn those things, they have an incentive to use them to keep other people out. ■ Beware a growing problem on the other end of the labor market -- where society long ago exchanged high living standards for the assurance that "professionals" would put their clients' interests ahead of their own. That is, after all, the central concept which defines professionalism: An adherence to a code of conduct that puts the client's interests first in exchange for a certain amount of financial security and social status. ■ Unfortunately, Americans have gotten sloppy with the word "professional" -- to the point where it carries no real meaning in ordinary use. People in all lines of work call themselves "professionals" as a means of claiming status without actually adhering to any ground rules or behavioral principles. ■ This cheapening of the word "professional" has, in turn, given cover to people who are employed in actual professions, but who put crass commercial interests of their own ahead of the clients' best interests. The doctor who "treated" Michael Jackson to death, the personal-injury and DUI lawyers with crass billboards and television ads, and the variety of health and wellness "practitioners" who endorse dubious (if not outright harmful) supplements and diet plans are no more "professionals" than any entry-level sales clerk at a sporting-goods store. (Don't even get started on the use of contradictions in terms like "sales professional".) ■ Some commercialism is probably inevitable as professional service providers (doctors, lawyers, accountants, dentists, architects, engineers, and others) merge operations with one another in order to administrative overhead costs. It's quite natural for some degree of consolidation to take place just through ordinary attrition and simple bookkeeping. But that consolidation can also be accelerated by the impact of government over-regulation: The greater the red tape, the more costly it becomes for a professional service provider to remain independent. More red tape should be expected to invariably lead to more consolidation. And thus we don't have solo practitioners making house calls -- we have doctors who work in groups that are attached to hospitals, which in turn have merged into large chains. The greater the rate of corporatization in a profession, the greater the pressure for other operators to start applying a more flexible yardstick to their own standards of professional behavior. The choices aren't always "consolidate, sell out, or die" -- but they can certainly start to look that way. ■ Can or should these trends be reversed? It's hard to say. They can certainly be accelerated by ham-fisted government intervention; the best way for the government to "do no harm" is to resist the urge to regulate everything under the sun. Professional organizations have a role to play as well, by self-policing their members and bringing the hammer down on those who make a mockery of their ethical codes. And consumers -- the clients of professional service providers -- have a duty to be informed and to insist on knowing when they're in a professional-client relationship and when it's "just business". There's nothing wrong with purely commercial transactions -- they happen all the time, and are the basis of most parts of the economy -- but if clients are letting down their guard because they expect professional treatment in a classical sense, and are getting unvarnished commercial treatment instead, then a clarification of roles is in order.
The lure of government "protection" is strong, but in the long run it tends to cost a lot in visible and hidden tolls on an economy.
(Video) The Chicago Cubs are entitled to have a little extra fun this year. They earned it in 2016.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says some of what burned was a pile of old HDPE (drainage pipe, perhaps?) that was being stored below the roadway and had been there for a decade. This would seem to point to a case of the broken-window effect: If you leave construction materials sitting outside for a decade, there's a good chance someone will get the impression that nobody's watching and nobody cares. And that's when bad things happen.
Two things to bear in mind: ■ Rule #1: It's not your assets that count, but your NET assets. Always subtract for debt. (The "sprawling real estate holdings" attributed to the Kushner family are a good case study in this: If you own a $250,000 house but you owe $225,000 on your mortgage, then you only really own $25,000 of house-related equity. Debt has a reasonable place in business -- especially real estate -- but it's not the same as owning something in cash equity. ■ Rule #2: When it comes to public officials, what you own is often much less important than who you owe.
"A confidential tip will clue you in to a great financial deal"?
When an ordinary Walgreens in an affluent area has a shelf dedicated to paternity tests, breathalyzers, and at-home drug tests for cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, and other drugs, then maybe those things are a bit too commonplace.
The Russian Embassy to the UK tweeted "Can a democracy be undermined from outside unless elite's resistance to change and broken social contract and trust have already done the job?" That is some sick nihilism.
Real independence requires study, self-discipline, and sacrifice for the future. It's true for individuals, for companies, and for countries. ■ Also: Part of maturity is in knowing that "trying to do what's right" is a process and "thinking I'm always right" is a character flaw.
Once you start painting materials like concrete or brick, you have to keep going back for touch-up work. Bad idea.
Former CIA director James Woolsey suggests we're ignoring the EMP risk at our own peril
In an interview with The Atlantic, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who is chair of the House Oversight Committee, dismissed a question about whether the President might seek to take advantage of his position for monetary gain. His response is wrong -- or, at best, supremely naive -- for at least four reasons. ■ First, it assumes that the President actually is rich. We don't know that. We still haven't seen any meaningful tax returns. We don't know what he owes, or to whom, nor have we seen anything that constitutes an independent accounting of his net worth. ■ Second, it assumes the President is not trying to get richer. We don't know that. The only evidence we have right now says that he never really divested, and his son confirmed just the other day that he's still giving his father reports on the family business. ■ Third, it assumes the President's greed is limited. We don't know that. In fact, he openly campaigned on the notion that his greed was a virtue, not a vice. ■ Fourth, and most importantly, it defaults to the idea that Congress shouldn't assume an adversarial role with the other two branches of government. That's a faulty conclusion. The three branches of government should be jealous of their own powers and eager to keep the others in check -- and that should be the case, even if all three branches were occupied unanimously by people who shared the same ideology. It's a matter of process, not outcomes, that there should always be tension among the branches of government as they struggle with one another to maintain an appropriate separation of powers. If "oversight" is the very name of your Congressional committee, then nobody should get the benefit of the doubt -- whether they're "rich" or not.
Back in the Presidential campaign, and, he says, just this week. It came out during Senate Intelligence Committee hearings. Testimony from one analyst identified an amplification system for Russian propaganda promoting Donald Trump and attacking his opponents. This is well beyond mischief. It's psyops -- warfare against the mind, saving the hassle of firing a gun. And what do we have to show for it? While it can't be proven conclusively what happened in an alternate reality where none of this took place, it's clear that the man elected President is failing in dramatic fashion to set a course for his administration, get a legislative agenda underway, or establish his own credibility. The Washington Post notes that hundreds of high-level Executive Branch jobs aren't just unfilled -- they're without nominees. The Post's appointee tracking database is a true public service.
The default profile picture -- currently an egg -- is being jettisoned in favor of an icon that looks like a person. Twitter seems to have put a great deal of excess thought into this. Perhaps more interesting is that they're raising the ceiling on characters allowed in tweets, putting "@username" references and media links outside the 140-character limit count.
If star employees are organized so that they can work together, they can get a whole lot more done than if they are spread out all over the company. The more a firm chooses to concentrate the efforts of its top employees on core missions of the company -- and the better it does at stripping out red tape so that people don't waste their time on unproductive activity -- the better the company can perform. At least, that's what consultant research says.
And 800 jobs will depart with it. That's not a small number for a city like Aurora (population 200,000). The closure will take until the end of 2018 to complete. Municipal leaders: Put not your faith in any one company, and never count on manufacturing jobs to stay in one place -- even if there's a huge plant that cost lots of money to build.
A dire way to forecast the future of the United States if we don't start acting seriously on our physical infrastructure (and it's a problem that goes way beyond just "roads and bridges").
Toshiba is losing billions of dollars because of trouble with its US nuclear-power unit, Westinghouse, which just declared bankruptcy.
They've assumed legislative powers under the claim that the legislature (run by the opposition, not the authoritarian socialists in charge of the executive branch) swore in members who weren't eligible.
Investment is moving heavily towards oil production that comes from sources that are quick to be tapped -- which could mean under-investment in sources that are more reliable. One of the little-told stories of the US economy today is how much we've been subsidized (implicitly) by cheap energy. It was a surprise -- a bonanza -- and you should never count on a bonanza to go on forever.
Not a first choice. Robert Samuelson's column probably gives too much credit to the White House for having a coherent vision of government, but he's definitely right when he says, "There's a bipartisan unwillingness to answer this question: What is government for?" -- and even more so when he notes, "We need limited government not in the sense of smaller government [...] but in the sense of government that is focused and reflects agreed-upon boundaries."
A BBC analyst observes that either there was epic misbehavior on the part of the Obama administration in applying surveillance against Donald Trump and his allies, or there were Americans who collaborated with and enabled a dirty influence campaign by a foreign government with the objective of getting Trump elected.
It's going to take a while, but they're officially leaving the European Union. It's really happening.
US Senator Ben Sasse's comments on how an adversarial government in Russia is exploiting the soft underbelly of American political life.
And it turns out that only a very small range of bacteria like to live in a conventional lab environment. So developments in the last few years that have enhanced the ability of scientists to cultivate bacteria in an organized way outside regular Petri dishes could be one of the best things to happen to medicine in the era of growing antibiotic resistance.
A really funny swing at the people who make a pop-psychology fortune selling their purported insights into living perfected lives
"Indyref2" seems like a pretty casual way to describe splitting the United Kingdom, but what's interesting is that the mother country really doesn't want to let the fight happen until after "Brexit" is over and the UK is out of the EU. So: Scotland's leaders have voted for a new independence referendum in 2018 or 2019, and the ministers in London say not until 2020 at the earliest, by which point the European Union divorce ought to be complete -- which would obviously complicate matters for an independent Scotland seeking to get back in.
He's calling things as they are during the CBS Evening News, and his forthright approach is what we've long needed in broadcasting. It's not editorializing -- but it's not gentle, either.
Senator Lindsey Graham, in his inimitable style, on the things the House Intelligence Committee chair claims to know but won't tell anybody -- including the members of his own committee
Relative to the size of their economies overall, only a few countries in the OECD spend more than the United States -- notably, three of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, and Sweden), two of our close East Asian allies (Japan and South Korea), and Israel. Switzerland and Austria beat us, too.
A look at the climatology of past severe weather isn't a perfect guide to any individual year, but it's a very good place to start
A British developer wants to build really tiny apartments in the London region
The Lithuanian president makes a case for US self-interest in acting to defend her country
It's reassuring to hear there's no great conspiracy, but it's an unpleasant reminder that even individuals can do great harm
They're still not found everywhere in the US, but they have a pretty dramatic impact on transportation efficiency. Good thing so much has been invested in the infrastructure modifications that made them possible.
In an interview, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said that the impact of artificial intelligence on the labor market is "not even on our radar screen" -- not even on a scale of decades. He's wrong. And being wrong about something like that makes it very difficult to make informed policy decisions and recommendations. Artificial intelligence is having an impact on the labor market already. It'll destroy some jobs, create others, and enhance still more.
The President has spent a lot of time on golf courses since his election, which wouldn't necessarily be notable if it weren't for the fact that he made such a big deal out of his predecessor's doing the same -- and that so many appointments have yet to be made. Also, it's costing the Secret Service a small fortune in golf-cart rentals.
In seeking to prevent "transportation network companies" (Uber and Lyft, mainly) from competing with conventional taxi services, a union leader in Nevada wants state legislators to try imposing restrictions -- like requiring a 10-minute delay between ride request and pickup and placing a ban on surge pricing. It's completely understandable if taxi drivers feel threatened by competition. It's also perfectly reasonable to consider mild regulations in the direct and immediate interest of public health and safety. But artificial restraints on competition like service delays and price ceilings are pure rent-seeking behavior -- that is, the use of political influence to seek income ("rents") that wouldn't be provided in a competitive market.
It's probably a bit much to name a baseball guy as the world's greatest leader -- but there's no question that management books ought to be written about Epstein and his approach. There's simply no way that his successes at the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs were simply freak events. And it's Fortune's assertion that Epstein has applied lessons about personal character that he learned (from their absence) in Boston to building a World Series championship team in Chicago.
If the subject isn't interested in being identified as "he" or "she", the AP says it's OK to go with "they"
Per a column from the Atlantic Council: "This sector provides 52 percent of Russia's federal budget and 70 percent of its exports. These prices make or break Russia..."
There's goodness, after all, inside most people -- including politicians
The long, slow decline of shortwave radio is a sad thing. Yes, Internet streams sound better. But shortwave has universal reach, and the Internet doesn't. Radio remains eminently portable in a way that data streams are not, and that's never been more significant than at a time when authoritarian governments have the power to blockade Internet access for the people living under their oppression. Those people deserve the freedom of thought that shortwave radio has historically excelled at providing.
In the Cold War, we opposed Soviet imperialism because it violated the right to self-determination. When ISIS/ISIL enters a place and lays down oppressive rule, then it similarly violates the right to self-determination.
The President rejects study and knowledge because he wants to go with his gut. The problem is this: People who really care about their jobs develop intuition through practice, reflection, study, and self-criticism. Intuition is a different thing from instinct. Animals have instincts. Intuition is the culmination of habit, study, experience, and reflection. The person who relies on instinct alone -- instead of deliberately cultivating intuition -- puts everyone else around him/her in danger. Never trust the instincts of someone who doesn't study new information or reflect on when those instincts went wrong.
Speaking of the investigation into a relationship between the Trump campaign and an adversarial foreign government (Russia's): "[N]o longer does the Congress have credibility to handle this alone". That is a non-trivial assertion from a person with the kind of moral authority as the Senator from Arizona. And, given the apologies and backtracking underway as the House Intelligence Committee chair acknowledges that he had his priorities completely wrong, Senator McCain is probably objectively correct.
Were they coordinating the release of material that reflected badly on Hillary Clinton? That seems to be the crux of the matter.
But so does raising the wage marginally, or at least pacing it to inflation. Ultimately, we need to take steps -- either as states or as a nation -- to do a better job of developing people's skills and human capital so that the minimum wage is irrelevant. That is to say, we're much better off as a society if we're churning out people who are worth much more than the minimum wage in the marketplace, so that the minimum wage becomes a non-binding price floor. But until we reach that point, there's not particularly much to lose by pacing the minimum wage along with the rate of inflation, and it's a signal that we are at least conscious of the impact that inflation has on people all across the income spectrum. From a purely political perspective, it's hard to see the harm in a modest increase in the statewide minimum wage to go along with HF 295, which passed the Iowa House and is presently before the Iowa Senate. Even a trivial-looking increase would at least have the benefit of signaling concern for those who earn the minimum wage (which hasn't risen in the state for almost a decade). The local increases in Johnson, Polk, Linn, and other counties are symptom enough of public pressure for some kind of increase.
...then you'd better hope you're born in the Upper Midwest. An economic study points to the region as unusually good at launching poor kids into higher income brackets later in life.
(Video) A funny sketch on how the Heartland is perceived by others
Architecture studio proposes a U-shaped building in New York City
The company isn't quite so sure it'll even be around for much longer. What's really interesting about the Sears saga is that the company came into its own as a major disruptor in its own right. Sears wasn't the first to offer the delivery of direct-to-home merchandise via catalog sales, but it was the first to really escalate it to an art form. (Montgomery Ward predated Sears, and it's been gone since 2000.) It's curious to see the modern incarnation of Sears put under such (potentially deadly) pressure as a retailer today by what are effectively the same forces that launched it in the first place: Direct-to-home sales by nimbler merchants. Ultimately, it's hard to overcome perceptions of a death spiral once that becomes the dominant narrative about a consumer business.
The subject targeted the Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament
The Daily Iowan (the student newspaper at the University of Iowa) interviewed Representative Steve King about immigration after his recent odious statements on Twitter. Rep. King's vision of immigration in this interview leans heavily on blocking immigrants if they can't show economic merit. It's vital to bear in mind the fact that first-generation immigrants to the United States have often been very low on the economic ladder -- think, for instance, of poor Irish farmers escaping the potato famine. When a nation welcomes low-socioeconomic-status immigrants, what it's really doing is priming the economy for progress a generation down the road. It's the children of immigrants who are often the real driving force for growth. They're close enough to their parents' experience to have an appreciation for what the country offers them, and they have the motivation to prove themselves in a big way. High-status immigrants will always be sought and welcomed by countries that aren't completely stupid about their borders -- after all, what country wouldn't want to be a premier destination for rocket scientists and brain surgeons? It's the country that sees the value of the second generation -- even the children of unskilled laborers -- that really benefits in the long run.
Netflix seems to think the change will help offset the "grade inflation" that applies to programming like documentaries, which people tend to rate more aspirationally than reflectively. But what about those users who are disciplined about their ratings and want to be clear that while some programs are fine, others are wonderful -- and still others, quite terrible? More valuable than going to a binary system (which supposedly makes people more likely to leave ratings) would be a system that permits people to rate television programs by season or episode. Some start strong and then end with a whimper (The West Wing). Others stumble out of the gate but find a real voice later on (Parks and Recreation). Some granularity in ratings might be a good thing.
A troubling demonstration of fealty to the Executive Branch
We shouldn't be enthused about missile tests, period. But we really ought to worry about tests in which things don't go as planned -- or perhaps more specifically, those that don't go where planned. On a related note, we should also pay attention to the fact that Sweden is back to practicing defense drills that it hasn't used in two decades. An unstable world without the assurances of the liberal postwar order is a much more dangerous one, and those dangers are expensive.
The inhumane conditions documented in a police report tell of adult behavior towards children -- including one who died -- that cannot be explained by anyone with a normal sense of decency. Whatever we're doing wrong as a state that kept the children from being able to escape such wretched treatment must be fixed. Urgently.
Firms can get ahead by more than just making flashy new products. Sometimes, big advantages come about because they simply find new ways to do old things or better ways to source their raw materials.
Accounting rules coming into force in 2019 will make companies report their operating leases as part of their balance sheets. That's going to reveal that a lot of companies have debt (in the form of those leases) that they haven't admitted to before. It's likely to have at least some impact on the "asset-light" business model. Bloomberg data suggests it's going to have a $3 trillion impact on accounting reports.
The case for a national cybersecurity academy, much like the military service academies, to develop people who can defend the nation in the cyber arena but with a grounding in the kinds of principles and broad knowledge they'll need in order to do the job ethically.
Senator Ben Sasse: "We want the rule of law -- not of judges' passions, not of judges' policy preferences [...] When a Supreme Court justice puts on his or her black robe, we don't want them confusing their job for those of the other branches. We want them policing the structure of our government to make sure each branch does its job, and only its job."
If you don't get the diagnosis right, you risk issuing a deadly prescription. The problem isn't us getting screwed at the trade-negotiation table. It's that technology (mostly) and trade (to a lesser extent) render lots of jobs obsolete or redundant. We can lie to ourselves and pretend like we can stop the shift by barricading ourselves off against trade, but that's just dumb policy that assumes the wrong diagnosis and guarantees the application of really awful prescriptions that will make the situation worse. Ham-handed trade policies that focus on "protecting" primary industries (that is, ones that are very close to the step when raw materials are turned into something basic) can punish American companies that have moved up the value chain. Trade principle #1: If you want to protect anything, focus on intellectual property. Punish theft of trademarks, patents, and trade dress. Trade principle #2: Follow quality-based purchasing guidelines. Americans build great products - use rules-based standards for quality. Trade principle #3: Help workers displaced by trade and/or technology to move up the value chain with flexible, adaptive training programs.
At the time when a Korean conglomerate is opening its 123-story Lotte World Tower, the company is finding itself in the midst of troubles of geopolitical economy and domestic law enforcement. The Korean economic miracle is a fascinating subject for study, but it's hard to shake the notion that the country is paying today for some of the economic vulnerabilities it accepted as part of the structure of its semi-managed economy. The government's strong hand in seeking to guide development (through favoritism and certain protectionist policies) created a class of businesses that are unusually susceptible to trouble when exposed to the wrong uncertainties.
The jobs that have disappeared from the US market aren't likely to "come back" for any reason, especially not since many of them have departed not due to trade but to increased productivity (especially thanks to automation). What we should be seeking to do is create new jobs that are enhanced by automation and trade -- in other words, to adopt an expansive vision of the economy and employment, rather than an isolationist one.
UK will start the formal process of leaving the EU on March 29th. The full divorce is expected to take two years.
Chicago is going to build three such facilities. It's a novel idea, and we should hope that the execution lives up to the lofty ambition. An idea like this seems so good and logical that one could be forgiven for looking for the "catch".
To anyone who grew up with floppy disks (or even cassette drives), this kind of progress is remarkable
It's quite possibly the best holiday of the year
It's an ambitious goal, to be sure. And there will undoubtedly be institutional resistance. But Singapore found a way to become an English-fluent country, so it's not without precedent. And over the long term, it's hard to imagine a lot of investments that would have a higher social return than getting Mexico deeply integrated with the English-speaking world. Good luck to the policy-makers.
If the UK is going to leave the EU, then Scotland may have a new excuse to leave the UK. And could you blame them for wanting better access to the bigger market rather than the smaller one? The remaining UK would have every incentive to treat Scotland well and seek favorable terms for trade and other policies if Scotland gained independence but joined the rest of Europe. Not too difficult to game out how this would play if all of the parties involved pursued their own self-interest.
There's no getting around the message here: "The FSB officer defendants, Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, protected, directed, facilitated and paid criminal hackers to collect information through computer intrusions in the U.S. and elsewhere."
A golden parachute indeed
(Video - in Spanish) Amnesty International says the United States is keeping young children in ICE detention centers for stretches exceeding a year. We really have to ask ourselves: Does that sound like it reflects American values and virtues?
Per the remarks of Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen: "The longer-run neutral level of the federal funds rate is still likely to remain below levels that prevailed in previous decades." That's a huge statement that probably goes over the heads of most casual observers. But the thought that the "ordinary" level of interest rates that prevailed for the last half-century or so could be gone -- well, that's quite the change of mindset.
Dwight Eisenhower said, "No nation's security and well-being can be lastingly achieved in isolation but only in effective cooperation with fellow nations." It's interesting to examine principles expressed during the Cold War to see whether they hold up today. This one does. If we want a peaceful existence, then we need a peaceful co-existence. It's perfectly fine for us to be different nations from one another, but we need to be cooperatively different.
A keen observation from Senator Ben Sasse: "Community is about persuaded values. Politics is about compulsory values."
If the United States withdraws dramatically from a world leadership role, we shouldn't expect peace and order to fill the void. Brutal cuts to our participation in (and funding for) international organizations seem shortsighted.
If Chinese companies (which may or may not be acting at the behest of the state) are offering to take part in sweetheart deals with family members of powerful White House officials (like the President's son-in-law and key advisor), then by whom and how is that to be policed?
Even if the temper of government sways in illiberal directions, the influence of the private sector should serve as an important guardian of tolerance. A good example: The investment-management company BlackRock is going to pressure investees to take action on issues like boardroom diversity. They have the votes, so they'll have the influence.
If the President truly has reason to believe that he was wiretapped, he has to supply some sort of evidence. Otherwise, baseless accusations undermine the basic assumptions of truthfulness required to make an advanced society function.
How come people with authoritarian instincts seem to share really bad taste in decorating?
A common scene in the rural Midwest: Permanent gates that swing closed to block entrance ramps to the Interstate highways. Because nothing short of a locked, permanent gate will stop some Midwesterners from proving what (over-)confident winter drivers they are.
Thanks to a growing population and the normal distribution of intelligence, America has more geniuses today than we did in the Manhattan Project. While genius alone doesn't solve our problems, we shouldn't fool ourselves into believing that modern problems are beyond our ability to create solutions. We should ask ourselves what modifications to public policy could attract the contributions of people who aren't engaged now. We also ought to examine what should be done about the state of our civic life to draw out the same kinds of people.
Tesla is storing solar energy captured in Hawaii and storing it to sell overnight at cheaper rates than conventional electrical generation can provide.
The current President isn't the first to use them with abandon. He will still face constraints, as rightly he should. While they have a place in our form of government, it should be as a late or last resort -- not a first course of action.
As they should
When a computer costs $35, it should come as no surprise that people use it for experimentation with great enthusiasm. A great example of the fact we simply cannot predict the outcomes when new technologies are introduced, especially at low prices.
An important leading indicator of where things are headed in the geopolitical sphere is (and will continue to be) the behavior of the Baltic and Nordic countries. And when it's clear that Sweden isn't confident in peace and security ahead, that ought to capture the attention of those who prefer a stable and peaceful world order. If they're nervous, the rest of us should be as well.
Laws should be made to expire like bad produce
Time for some high-level game theory. What discourages stupid behavior by North Korea without upsetting the stability of a region that contains an ambitious regional power?
A word to those who are gripped by fear over the prospect of immigrants and refugees entering the country from troubled places: The United States kept more than 400,000 Axis POWs on American soil during WWII. 400,000 -- including legitimate, true-believer Nazis. This was during a time of war, and we're talking about enemy combatants -- not refugees from the fighting. If we were capable of maintaining the peace and security of the country with 400,000 enemy combatants on our soil at a time when nobody conceived of even the possibility of tools like biometric screening, then perhaps we should assume that we might today have the capacity to open our nation's doors more generously to those who are authentic victims of war, violence, and oppression. Fear of what might happen to us should be tempered by the knowledge that we've handled far greater risks with far lesser resources in the past.
(Video -- in Spanish) Try to imagine what fortitude it takes for a mother to bring her children from Guatemala or El Salvador all the way to the US border. Then try to imagine what kind of a gut-wrenching decision they must face when told either to separate from their children (and trust, somehow, that the system will take care of them) or to return to their homelands. America, we've got to be better than this.
(Audio) A really interesting interview with Michael Mankins, a management consultant who argues that firms squander mountains of employee time with a recklessness that they would never waste cash -- even though employee time is easily quantified in dollars and cents. Very interesting.
Rumor has it that Gordmans is on the brink of bankruptcy. American Apparel and Sports Authority have already gone down that road. It's just tough to be in a retail environment when you're competing with online alternatives that can beat your prices, offer wider variety, and spread out their inventory risk over the entire country.
Honda is spending about $50 million in Ohio and $100 million in Georgia on new equipment and assembly lines, so the company can produce next-generation transmissions for cars. But take note that with all of this spending, they aren't talking about hiring new workers. That's the crux of the story for American manufacturing today: Making more, better, and higher-value stuff than ever before, but doing it without adding new workers. On balance, that's a net gain to society -- but it doesn't satisfy people with a fetish for classic "smokestack" factory jobs. Advanced manufacturing is all about sophistication, training, and quality -- not lapsing into a 1950s-era caricature of an assembly line.
It's probably too much for the country to spend right now for too little obvious return on investment. But don't bet against an Atlantic strategy for China in the long run -- especially if they have reason to believe that their shipping lanes might be challenged.
The current obsession with reducing imports -- especially in pursuit of raising the country's GDP -- is a path down the wrong track. Imports are subtracted from GDP, yes, but only after being counted under consumption. So their net impact on the country's accounts is zero. And if we start clobbering imports for their own sake rather than realizing that they fit within a bigger economic picture, then we're going to get ourselves in trouble.
Literally. The President spent hours tweeting about (and with/at) "Fox and Friends".
Very unusual to have damaging tornadoes this early in the year. Tornado warnings usually don't arrive in force until April.
There is great incentive for firms to put automation to work whenever it becomes economically feasible, and a world of low interest rates, tight competition, and low returns on other investments -- coupled with the very fast pace of technological development that should by now be obvious to anyone with a pulse and an Internet connection -- make it all the more likely that automation will displace more workers at a faster rate in the years ahead than what we've already experienced. That creates a pressing need for thoughtful public policies to accommodate the substantial social costs that will likely be incurred as an inevitable byproduct of the pursuit of private gain. ■ There's no way to tell employers they should keep people on the payroll if they'll lose money (or even get pushed out of business) if they don't automate. But it would be willfully negligent for us to imagine that there is no meaningful social consequence to the mass displacement of workers in an economy far more complex than the ones in which prior mass displacements occurred. ■ The displacements are inevitable -- and they could come in big numbers very soon. (They might not, but we shouldn't design our public policies around rosy, over-optimistic scenarios.) So whether we need to start thinking seriously about substantial career-retraining programs for displaced workers, or implementing extraordinary accommodations like the universal basic income, or even going so far as to impose compulsory continuing education on all adults, there is no time to waste in treating the possibilities with the seriousness they deserve.
750 miles of continuous severe thunderstorm warnings. Double-digit tornado warnings in Iowa, approaching annual totals for some recent years. And it's all happening at the beginning of March, which is much too early by normal standards. It did smell like tornadoes at lunchtime.
Senator Ben Sasse says it well: If the President is going to make giant accusations, then it's incumbent upon the rest of us to insist on a full and fair investigation. We can't afford to let the public trust be indefinitely and indiscriminately undermined: Public trust is like a savings account, where deposits can only be made slowly and in small amounts. The withdrawals tend to be big and fast.
The Chicago Public Schools are in need of $215 million to balance a budget that is in dire distress due in part to a colossal problem with underfunded pensions. With recording artist Chance the Rapper delivering a $1 million ceremonial check to the school system, people might obviously and naturally applaud the gesture. But when a number as big as $1 million doesn't even cover a single percentage point of the problem, then there's a serious problem afoot. ■ CPS isn't the first public-sector institution to run into a catastrophic pension problem -- but it's part of the vanguard. There are lots and lots of other government and public-sector agencies that are, altogether, trillions of dollars in the red. This isn't the kind of problem that can be wished away -- in many cases, taxpayers are on the hook without any regard to the condition of the economy or their government budgets for other things.
People's propensity to want to turn to politics and "burn it down" (in the style of wrecking-ball candidate and President Donald Trump) looks like it has a close relationship to the disengagement those people have from the conventional organizing institutions of public life. People need to see that problems can be solved, differences overcome, and measurable progress achieved -- but also that it involves sacrifice, trade-offs, and commitment. That starts with engagement at the local level. People who pull away from that kind of engagement don't get the kind of psychological reinforcement they need in order to see that we are in control of our own destiny.
That's how it is in the Upper Midwest, where there's no getting around the fact that farm incomes have a huge effect on the remainder of each state. The current pain in the ag economy is (and will continue to) ripple through to other sectors.
Brookings says 3.2 billion people are "middle class" in the world today, and there will be a billion more in that category in just five years. A world with a vast middle class is more complicated than the one many of us were taught about. But it's a very good complication. As Margaret Thatcher said, "The sense of being self-reliant, of playing a role within the family, of owning one's own property, of paying one's way, are all part of the spiritual ballast which maintains responsible citizenship, and provides the solid foundation from which people look around to see what more they might do, for others and for themselves."
Imagine the benefits to an individual in the back seat of a car being driven by a drunk -- or a person being abused by a domestic partner. Technology is only as good as the people using it, but this is a very good way to use technology to help people.
The Economist is a voice of reason, as usual
Still in the chaos phase at the White House, it would appear
Reports the editorial board of the New York Times: "President Trump has appointed fewer than three dozen of the top 1,000 officials he needs to run the federal government." That's a serious problem. Even if it is accepted as an end goal to reduce the size and scope of government, it is malpractice to leave vast numbers of positions unfilled. Any orderly winding-down of government activity would still require that skilled hands be at the controls so that essential functions could be cherry-picked from among the non-essential, and to ensure that responsibilities be handed off where appropriate. Even the Civil Aeronautics Board (one of the few Federal agencies ever to be abolished) had to be wound down statutorily, not just left unstaffed.
The Federal Reserve could be more aggressive than previously expected. One reason that nobody seems to admit out loud (even if it's clearly on everyone's minds): The impact of what could be inflationary (and yet economically contractionary) fiscal policies initiated by the White House.
How we represent our world in pictures does have an effect on how we perceive it
A necessary profile of a company that has evolved dramatically in modern times
The 4% figure hailed by the White House is utterly desirable -- but almost certainly unachievable. A plan to get 4% real GDP growth requires more than "And then I click my heels three times..."
(Video) Former Senator Alan Simpson is angry with the way American voters and elected officials are avoiding the mounting fiscal crisis. People like fiscal discipline and free trade in much the same way they like vegetables: They're often less fun than the alternatives, but without them, we could die.
A subcommittee of the Iowa House recommended approval of a plan that would repeal the state's 5-cent deposit on can and bottle return. Eliminating the return, though, could disrupt community events and programs that count on people donating their cans and bottles. Once a government program develops a constituency, it almost never goes away -- no matter how benign or mundane the program. The people who depend on the program have very strong incentives to keep it around, while everybody else has only weak incentives to eliminate it.
Russian aggression against Ukraine and its drills in the Baltic region have the Swedes understandably nervous. The implicit costs of mandatory conscription are huge and should not be overlooked: A less-secure, less-stable world is not cost-free when compared to the incumbent liberal Western order. And with America unnervingly likely to pull back from soft power, it's time to pay attention.
(Video) Senator Lindsey Graham has real words of honor for Senator John McCain
A place like the White House boiler room or the broom closet at the Vatican: You ought to assume it exists, but why would you ever think about it?
"American pension funds are optimistic. Businesses are cautious. Shares are trading on very high valuations." It's that last part that gives extra reason for heartburn. High valuations propped up by lousy alternatives (who wants a fixed-income instrument right now?) and real apprehension about inflation are not good things.
It's vital to understand that most famine in the world today is man-made. That fact also means that we can fix it, but have to muster the will to do so. The situation in South Sudan is one shocking example: 100,000 people are already victims, and 5.5 million people are at risk. It's all due to violent conflict.
On bacon and cybersecurity, among other topics
That's the message the church is trying to promote in Venezuela -- so that people who throw out food scraps can indicate where that food waste can be found by those who are scavenging for something to eat. There is no acceptable reason why a country like Venezuela should have starvation happening today -- but authoritarian government and economic isolationism have come together there in such a way that even in the midst of vast potential oil wealth, the population is going hungry. Politicians can't make an economy grow -- but they clearly have the power to destroy its potential.
The triumph of hope over sound reasoning. Snapchat's parent company came out with an IPO that priced the company at $35 billion. The business lost half a billion dollars last year and almost $400 million the year before. There's no sound way to place a value on a company like that. In fact, under most circumstances, a company losing that much money that fast wouldn't even really be regarded as a going concern. So for people to believe that it is worth $35 billion -- and for NBC to take out a half-billion-dollar share of that -- requires an active and willing suspension of disbelief in basic accounting.
The Department of Homeland Security, says Reuters, is considering a new policy whereby children caught crossing the US border illegally could be separated from their mothers and detained under "protective custody" of the government. With policies like this, who are we trying to be as a country?
Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman knows that the President's address to Congress wasn't Republican in nature
Processed wood considered as high-strength building material for tall towers
The Attorney General has recused himself from "any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for president of the United States". It's a necessary step -- the perceived misconduct is severe, and Jeff Sessions seems to be too close to the matter to be able to give it fair and impartial oversight.
The appalling, utterly inhumane abuse of a Chicago 8-year-old -- at the hands of her father and grandmother -- is all the proof society should require to know that parents do not have absolute authority over their children. At some point, the state is obligated to step in to protect the welfare of the defenseless. And if we as voters, citizens, and taxpayers fail to adequately fund -- and demand accountability from -- the systems required to protect those kids, then we become unwitting accomplices in their harm.
The actress actually has a sensible policy for her personal security. She'll talk with fans, but won't take pictures with them, knowing that some will share those pictures immediately with geolocation tagging -- giving away her location. It's actually just an extension of the kind of behavior we all should practice -- wait until you're home to post pictures of yourself when you're out. Don't give away your locations, travel patterns, or routines if you don't have to.
It's taken too long, but the more we recognize culturally that females shouldn't be bounded by oppressive taboos any more than should males, the better off we'll be. As Warren Buffett has said, "Look what's happened since 1776, most of the time, using half our talent." There's no reason to hold back anyone's full potential.
A disappointing attempt at a book-length treatment of material that would have been entirely serviceable as a short article or workbook
Columnist "Lexington" in The Economist points to the lack of substance in the President's address to Congress: "Republican members of Congress are also realising that identity beats conservative principles in this new politics of the right." This is all a terrible reflection of the last decade or so: President Obama undermined the Democratic Party by trying to be a superstar floating above it all. President Trump undermines the Republican Party by existing in a space of empty populism outside the range of commitment to principle. ■ Ideology gets a bad reputation, but there's a difference between blind partisanship and committed ideological consistency. Blind partisanship has very little social payoff; if it's "my party, right or wrong", then nothing good will come of it. But the person who can extract conclusions from a defined system of beliefs that draw from an informed understanding of history and philosophy is a person who can behave with some predictability and who can fall back on the strength of convictions even when challenged by new and novel opposition. ■ Grounding oneself in a principled ideological framework doesn't mean one has to be rigid or act with blinders on. It's less about acting like an unmovable brick wall, and more like behaving like a moored buoy -- free to move with the currents of news and events just like the waves of the ocean, but tethered to a fixed location.
A thousand stores will get the kiosks -- because customers like them and they pay for themselves in two years. Those who want to fight for a $15-an-hour minimum wage should take note. Time and energy would be better spent campaigning on behalf of systems for better job training and human-capital development than fighting for regulations that will only hasten the arrival of the technology that will displace lesser-skilled workers.
A man is charged with murder in what looks like a clear-cut case of race hatred. A much better man -- one who tried to intervene in defense of the two Indian men who were killed -- is in the hospital with injuries.
Accounts that look abusive will be isolated via artificial intelligence. Individuals can mute tweets that include words they don't want to see. Account types can be filtered out as well. The changes should be helpful in general, but the bad behavior on the platform is so widespread it may be hard to shut it down entirely.
Jeff Immelt, in his letter to shareholders, calls it "an era when trust in big institutions is so low that the most valued 'strategy' is simply change in any form."
(Video) Senator Lindsey Graham rebukes the President's proposal to slash funding for the State Department. Security today is the result of long, patient investment in trust-based relationships, not cavalier transactional deal-making. Things like diplomacy (including public diplomacy, like investments in international broadcasting) don't pay off overnight. That makes them susceptible to short-sighted cuts, unless thoughtful leaders like Senator Graham prevail.
It is a hallucination to believe that 4% real GDP growth can be achieved without long-term, sustainable, and patient investment in our physical and human capital. We need to invest in our physical infrastructure -- but not with short-term stimulus programs that just dump some asphalt on existing roadways. We need to invest in our human capital, too -- but not by artificially inflating (and then crashing) a dubious universe of for-profit schools. The United States could probably sustain 4% growth rates in the long term, but that would require increasing our productivity by much more than 4% (unless we somehow expect a dramatic boom in workforce participation). Plans to get to 4% growth absolutely must include plans to raise productivity.
A strain that hasn't gotten a lot of attention before (H7N9) appears to be resurgent in Asia
Has a long period in the opposition hollowed-out the ranks of people who can make real proposals happen? It's an interesting question. And it's especially important when it's clear there isn't a lot of policy leadership emanating from the Executive Branch.
Retailing is such a fickle business
A state senator in Iowa proposes Senate File 288: To "require partisan balance of the faculty employed at each fo the institutions of higher learning governed by the board." It is a fine concept for universities to promote exposure to a wide range of perspectives -- that's the point of obtaining a "liberal" education (where "liberal" means "open", not left-wing). But as Margaret Thatcher said, "One of the problems, I think, of modern politics, and modern journalists, is that people are always polarizing questions. You know, saying either/or. And in fact life isn't lived in either/or terms, but mostly somewhere in between." Legislating partisanship not only misses the possibility that "balance" may not reflect even the community standards of the state (which, at any given time, might be more of one party than another), but it also misses the exceptionally important notion that "balance" isn't binary -- Iowa, just for instance, has 715,000 independent voters and 12,000 third-party voters, compared with 627,000 Democrats and 665,000 Republicans. Thus, authentic "balance" should require more independents than either of the major parties. Moreover, any consideration of "balance" ought to reflect the multipolar nature of politics -- there are all flavors of Democrats and all flavors of Republicans, and all flavors of "other" as well. What of the person who agrees with 55% of a party platform? Does he or she count as a real partisan? The proposal for party balance at the state universities is silly and should be dismissed out-of-hand as ridiculous, unenforceable, and unproductive.
What you can pick up about economics and consumer surplus from looking at a piece of IKEA furniture
It's surprising that even with the enduring appeal of Wright's Prairie Style that there aren't more homes being designed and built today in the same fashion. Aren't there architects and builders today who want to make a similar name for themselves? Many people obviously don't mind spending obscene amounts of money on hideous McMansions, so why not spend the money instead on something that will still look good 50 years from now?
They say the best way to spend your money is on experiences, not stuff. One could imagine that people with a lot of money might very rationally want to blow through their wealth on experiences like this.
Over-zealous hunting by government agents for immigration-rule violators leads to perfectly legal American citizens being asked to "show papers". It may sound like a trivial encroachment, but it ought to be resisted -- freedom of movement is a fundamental American right, and the pursuit of lawbreakers is no excuse for trampling on the rights of the law-abiding.
Politics aside, has anyone ever done their best in any workplace where paranoia, anger, and distrust prevail?
Threats like this have no place in civilization
It could be argued that the bridge was built too well in the first place -- anyone who paid for its construction is long dead, and it most likely could be replaced by something using better materials and methods (that's the nature of technology, of course). It could also be argued that we are really too accustomed to coasting on the investments our predecessors made in building an adequate system of public works for us to enjoy today, and have done far too little to invest in their ongoing maintenance and upkeep. And there's a third argument to be made: That some old structures are worth keeping around because of their historical merit.
A valuable third-party perspective on the pivotal geopolitical relationship between China and the United States
A terrorist attack by a white man in Kansas against two Indian men is as deplorable as any other terrorist attack, and it should be denounced with the same kind of volume as any other.
When do we want it? As soon as we get the productivity growth rates that would consistently make that kind of increase in real output possible! (It's not very catchy, but it's true.)
Better late than never
...but they did make it a whole lot worse. We should never retreat into mindless protectionism again.
With career military men in charge of the Defense Department, Homeland Security, and (naturally) the Joint Chiefs of Staff, we would normally be in a condition that ought to give people alarm: Civilian control of the government and oversight of the military ought to be a priority. But with a wildly inexperienced White House in charge, the sober words of experience and temperance are coming from the men who have spent a lifetime sworn to defend the Constitution. The President seems sufficiently impressed by their credentials to offer them deference he doesn't seem to show anyone else.
If you're sufficiently enthusiastic about politics that you'll show up at a "Conservative Political Action Conference", it ought to be pretty embarrassing that you could be taken by a practical joke that involved you waving a Russian flag. Basic familiarity with the symbols of one of our most important geopolitical adversaries ought to be required of anyone willing to so vigorously espouse a political opinion.
An effort to pressure the country into submission over nuclear weapons. May it work, for the good of us all.
Rare is the financial reporter who actually understands the Buffett process. It's worth reading.
Cooperative cruise control (involving trucks communicating with one another) could be a reality in Iowa by the end of the year
It's not just a matter of whether law enforcement only actually prosecutes people here without proper documentation -- if they create a sufficient amount of insecurity and uncertainty among people who immigrated here legally that they are starved of the confidence they need to make long-term decisions (like buying homes), then the waves of homeowners looking to exit the market (like, say, Baby Boomers hoping to down-size) may find themselves losing a very ready set of buyers. At the margins (where prices are decided), immigrants have a huge impact on the housing market.
America's first-past-the-post system works rather differently, with dramatically different outcomes
At the Munich Security Conference: "Our predecessors did not believe in the end of history -- or that it bends, inevitably, toward justice. That is up to us. That requires our persistent, painstaking effort. [...] [W]e stand for truth against falsehood, freedom against tyranny, right against injustice, hope against despair...and that even though we will inevitably take losses and suffer setbacks, through it all, so long as people of goodwill and courage refuse to lose faith in the West, it will endure." ■ The line of argument advanced by the President, which suggests that the United States has been ripped off by ne'er-do-well allies, is self-defeating. The point of a security alliance isn't to fight over who pays what share of the bills, but rather to ensure that no individual country is forced to fight its battles alone. The United States most likely plays a role in NATO that is disproportionate to its population; we probably pay more, and we probably do more of the heavy lifting. So what? If the ultimate objective is a secure world in which our interests are protected, then we would be exerting money and effort to advance our security interests globally, with or without allies. The outcome we want is not dependent upon the number of other participants. ■ So, if a peaceful world is going to be subject to the free-rider problem no matter what (and it is -- it's not as though our concept of security is defined by NATO borders), then anything that gets other parties to substantially participate in that common security arrangement is better than no such participation at all.
Midwestern US Senators show broad agreement: No matter your political stripes, the notion of a foreign government interfering with our free and fair elections is noxious. Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse concludes (correctly): "This should not be viewed through partisan labels. Congress should investigate Russia's influence campaign in the US."
One of the most sensible and cost-efficient means of conducting public diplomacy has been the operation of an international broadcasting service. (The BBC, to many people around the world, IS Britain.) The United States's effort in this area, the VOA, has been subject to far more than its deserving share of cuts in the last decade or two, and it's high time we recognize just how valuable it is.
Which is more peculiar: The candidate for office who has to spend considerable time and effort trying to raise funds, or the candidate who is wealthy enough to self-fund a major campaign (as one of the Pritzker clan intends to do if he runs for Illinois governor)? We should ask ourselves whether there is anything about the structure of our electoral system that makes these outcomes more likely than they ought to be.
Nebraska's capital city is looking for ideas to build a new central library -- and it's a worthwhile question. Ideally, as a society, we would place such a high cultural value on learning (and not just classroom learning for those in the conventional school ages, but well beyond) that libraries would naturally be seen as the most viable and logical centers of most communities. That often isn't the case -- perhaps it's only true in the most extraordinary of situations. But taking serious steps to make the public library a real center of the community -- not just the building and where it's located, but the institution and what it does to the local civic fabric -- is a pivotal step for municipal leaders to take.
A well-delivered call for all of us to do some urgent introspection
(Video) CBS News anchor Scott Pelley offers a concise summary of the President's problems: "The media didn't block his travel ban, didn't fire the national security advisor, didn't cause the labor secretary nominee to withdraw, didn't attack the judiciary. It seems like the common denominator of Mr. Trump's woes is the Constitution." His comments (on the February 17th edition of the program, at about the 10:00 mark) manage to make a very strong point simply by illustrating the facts. Opponents of the President ought to take note: His missteps can be refuted through a plain recitation of the facts. No embellishment is necessary; in fact, the less the facts are hyped, the better.
Brazen attempts to skew the outcome of an election by targeted attacks on computer systems and other illegal means of underhanded behavior should be repelled when possible and prosecuted when not. The American public, meanwhile, ought to think hard about becoming more resistant to manipulation -- since there's no reason to believe that Russia will back down from doing the same things again, nor any reason to believe that others will refrain from trying the same thing. Once a vulnerability has been exploited, one should expect continued attacks until it is patched.
Republicans control both houses of Congress, and a nominal Republican is in the White House. And yet, not much is getting done. That's a good thing -- government should be deliberate, not so nimble that big things can turn on a dime.
The President of the United States inserted comments into a speech making reference to things happening in Sweden. He suggested that they were awful, terrible events. Swedish media conclusively report no such things taking place.
It would have been a gigantic merger -- estimated at more than $140 billion
If your only standard for behavior is "The worst thing my opponent got away with", then you don't really have a functioning moral compass. Regrettably, a whole lot of people are trying to adjust to the 2017 political reality by using this line of excuse. It's repugnant and it's tiresome.
Building a cake with inedible fondant is like making a gingerbread house from cardboard.
If Americans were bothered by President Obama's trips to Hawaii or his time spent campaigning for Hillary Clinton, then the same people should show concern over the fact the President of the United States has now spent three weekends in a row burning taxpayer dollars to shuttle him back and forth to Florida. That's not to mention the fact that we're now a month into the new administration and still short of massive numbers of key appointees. If it was wasteful spending under Obama, it's still wasteful spending under Trump.
The German soldiers are in the Baltic states as part of their NATO defense commitment. The disinformation campaign is a clever (though sinister) way for Russia to undermine the defense of those small countries by driving a wedge between the NATO alliance and the locals. Again, Russia is turning to asymmetric techniques of conflict -- they've gotten very good at it.
Take interest in your own investments, or take out index funds. (But take interest -- it's much better. Learning how capitalism works from the inside is simply a cost of living in an advanced market economy like ours -- just like we all have to learn a few things about computers and modern medicine, too.)
Mission creep is probably inevitable for an outfit like Facebook, but it always seems to end in failure
The President needs to spend less time tweeting hate mail, gallavanting off to Florida, and planning campaign rallies -- and more time finding qualified people to run the Executive Branch. What he's doing isn't in the job description, and what he isn't doing...is. He's had a month in office, and that followed more than two months of transition.
As they reasonably might. There's some evidence Swedes and Finns may be growing more nervous, too.
CBS News anchor Scott Pelley captures the essence of the President's press conference today with erudition and economy of words
Neil deGrasse Tyson writes, "Almost all armed conflict in the history of the world came about because opposing sides believed different things to be true." While the conditions he describes may be true, the difference in the way people see things isn't really the underlying cause of most conflict. Instead, we should always be alert to the circumstances where armed conflict can be seen as a more efficient way of capturing resources than honest alternatives like trade or development. Genghis Khan didn't grow a colossal empire on belief, he built it to take resources from others. The Mongol Empire is just one among many examples. The predictive power that comes from understanding armed conflict as a means of capturing resources is that we can start to assemble an understanding of the world that promotes trade and human development and the dignity and rights of the individual. Very little in the world could be more dangerous than a poor country with giant ambitions and low regard (among the ruling class) for the value of common people's lives.
From a 2001 paper: "While South Koreans are probably better off than they would have been without the chaebol system, they were living atop an economic fault line that was destined to shift. South Korea should provide yet another warning sign to those who fail to believe that managed economies are bound to experience failure."
Is the President really still using an unsecured Android phone? A device that hasn't been properly secured could easily be hijacked and turned into a bug by skilled adversaries, among many other bad things that could happen.
Maybe compression shorts and separate shirts will make the sport more appealing
What's with the shortage of public intellectuals, anyway? The shortage of good "explainers" on behalf of economics is a real loss to society. So much about conflict (of all types) traces back to resources and their creation, destruction, and distribution -- and that's economics. One causal factor, perhaps, is that the answers to economic questions tend toward ambiguities, gray areas, and conditionals. That makes it very hard for anyone credible to gain traction in the public eye.
Romanticizing a particular sector of the economy without thinking through the consequences of development is a path to waste, inefficiency, and trouble.
30 miles out from a submarine base
The story of Singapore is a complicated one, to be sure, but it is a definitive case study in the power of market economics, trade, and endogenous initiative ("bootstrapping", in a sense) to take a place with no substantial advantage in natural resource wealth and convert it into a tremendously wealthy place.
What can and should happen when a person's birth family isn't ready or willing to give a child the care each one deserves.
For bad behavior, ranging from bush-league to truly unconstitutional
Whoever invented the coffee-flavored jelly bean was a world-class sociopath.
It takes a dim view of human nature to ignore the fact that most people try to be good, regardless of birthplace.
We have to give them the opportunity to do so. The job may be tougher than ever under the current administration: President Trump has decided that the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers (whomever that will be; the role hasn't been appointed yet) will not serve in his Cabinet. It's likely because he can't find an economist willing to play yes-man to his economic savagery. Have no doubt: Someone will need to be called in to clean up the economic mess created by this President (should he get any meaningful amount of the economic policy he campaigned upon). The only ones capable of fixing it will be the "nerd" class of sober, pragmatic, level-headed economists. We're in trouble if they're being shown the door already.
They're crossing from the United States, presumably because they are fearful of what a feckless US government policy on undocumented immigrants will do to them.
Iowa's comprehensive public university needs respect and a high profile
The idea that centrists are rivals to be shunned from the Democratic Party (rather than coalition partners to be embraced) represents the triumph of ideological puritanism over math. The Democrats need a broader tent, not a more leftist one.
(Video) US Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska is a thoughtful voice on Constitutional separation of power, transcendent of politics. He is a generationally significant voice for the Article I branch of government.
Whatever has been done...is over. Don't make decisions based on the rear-view mirror.
At just a hair below $20 trillion, the debt comes out to $61,282 in real, incurred money owed per person for every one of us in the United States. And that doesn't count the massive future liabilities imposed by expenses like our entitlement programs -- which will cost even more.
American decency isn't about the boxes we check on Election Day, but about the things we do in ordinary civic life. So when you think of what makes America "great", think about the plow drivers who clear the way for a heart-transplant patient to make it to the hospital in the middle of a snowstorm, or of the foster father who takes in terminally-ill children so they can feel familial love in their short time on Earth.
If the government were to put a 20% tax on restaurant bills, consumers would eat out less, restauranteurs would find their revenues decreased, and everybody would be worse off. There is no reason to think that a 20% tariff would work in any other way. Remember: Cutting the check isn't the same as paying the price. Tariffs aren't a tax on "other people" or "other countries". A portion of their incidence falls on the consumer -- and quite often, a very large portion indeed. (And don't forget: The Midwest depends on trade.)
A book that ought to be taught in schools, right alongside "1984" and "Brave New World". Written by Sinclair Lewis, it is both a powerful narrative and a novel full of gems, like "...a country that tolerates evil means -- eil manners, standards of ethics -- for a generation, will be so poisoned that it never will have any good end."
Before we have left and right, we have three branches of government -- each of which should jealously guard its own role in checking the other two. It's troubling to have a Supreme Court nominee already have to face heat because of ridiculous and troubling things the President has said.
It is perfectly fine for us to find ourselves in a world where the United States and China aren't enemies or rivals or opponents, but instead find ourselves "cooperatively different" (to coin a phrase). But even if that is to be our future, then the United States will need to be playing its diplomatic "A" game so as to ensure we cooperate on the right things in the right ways and avoid unnecessary escalation of conflict in others. No sensible person should expect China to adopt a liberal-Western system of government anytime soon (or perhaps for decades or even centuries to come), but we're all stuck on the same planet together. Negotiations over our differences, though, should be conducted at a level far better than what we've executed thus far.
The problem with a bill like this is that texting itself isn't unique in its capacity to create distraction. There are people who are equally distracted by eating a sandwich, arguing with children in the back seat, or checking out their appearance in the mirror. Why should texting be singled-out when the danger it creates isn't unique?
The company is eliminating the telecommute and putting all of its marketing staff in six offices
He used to hold the record for tallest member of the United States Senate. The new Senator from Alabama, Luther Strange, has knocked him from the top spot.
A message to the President: Waking up and blasting off an angry tweet every morning is a bad way to set the agenda
"[President Trump's] attempts to run a renegade White House are not working out well". Does he have the opportunity to do better? Of course. Does he have the wherewithal? That's the big question, and it's hard to see any signs the answer will be "yes".
An Omaha restauranteur shared photos of minors who tried to buy alcohol at his establishment as part of a sting operation. A jury decided that didn't constitute obstruction of justice.
Yes, one of those Kennedys: Chris, the son of Robert F. Kennedy, and one of the (seemingly few) family members who hasn't ever run for office. He's in part been responsible for managing the extended family's gigantic fortune.
Barbed satire from The Onion
Max Boot, a conservative, criticizing the Republican Party: "By not doing more to distance itself from this morally obtuse president, the Republican Party is becoming, de facto, the party of moral relativism."
Improved granularity of forecasting is making things much more accurate.
Without energy for heat, people literally suffer in the cold. It's not warfare, but it's the asymmetric application of pressure.
Even though CBS Radio stations won't have anything to do with CBS anymore, the KCBS and WCBS call letters will go with the sale, at least for 20 years. How the heritage networks have treated their radio assets is really extraordinary: NBC Radio was killed off, then brought back from the dead. ABC Radio was owned by Cumulus for several years until the deal folded in 2014, and then it was brought back from the dead at the start of 2015 not in its classic format but predominantly as a promotional arm of the parent. It's all quite odd.
Watch where the people come from over the years
That's the lesson from Germany's economy: Train workers, focus on areas of comparative advantage, and engage more with the world market (not less). This is emphatically not the course being charted by the Trump administration -- but it would be the right one to follow.
Author Tom Nichols: "Most people do not have the skills or background to know if what they're reading is any good." This could be called the "missing-syllabus" problem: While the Internet (especially) causes us to think we have the world's information at our fingertips, it doesn't come with a syllabus. Without knowing where to start or how to truly teach ourselves, it's quite easy for us to think we're auto-didacts when we're really just filling our brains with intellectual hash. It's an especially complex problem in the Teach-Yourself Economy, since more people need to learn more than they used to, and our formal educational and training systems are slow to adapt to the demand.
Walmart, universities, health systems, and the Federal government. That's about it. Enlightening.
A fight comes to life in Illinois
Even enthusiasts for expansive executive powers are starting to regret putting too much power in the hands of the Article II branch of government
Says columnist Matt Levine: "Everything Trump literally said is coming literally true; everything the serious people heard remains an unserious hope. Businesses may eventually get the tax and regulatory reform they wanted, but it's not a priority."
Charles Koch plans to spend a lot of money defending the free market against Trumpism.
Athletic programs are a fine adjunct to the college experience, but they are neither essential nor guaranteed to be profitable. Schools should be prudent about them: They're fine to have, but they should never drive the agenda of the university or become centers of consolidated power -- nor should they be above careful scrutiny.
In fact, he's still the sole beneficiary of the trust set up for his assets. And there's nothing blind about them. We should have higher standards for him, and for his successors -- and it may be time to codify those standards, rather than relying upon convention.
Think of it like a compressed spring: If you've been held back by circumstances in the past, and then by good fortune find yourself freed from those oppressive circumstances, it's not hard to imagine wanting to strive just a little more than those who never felt those constraints in the first place.
Other countries, if unable to count on America's support, are going to put themselves first
The nation's top police officer says: "Russian intelligence services are targeting Norwegian individuals." It's unsettling when put in parallel with "Occupied", the phenomenal television drama about a soft Russian invasion of Norway.
Badly-written, hastily-drafted executive orders end up having unintended consequences.
You wouldn't believe how cheap light is today compared to when your ancestors walked the earth. Everything that durably improves the quality of life over time comes back to productivity -- we humans learning how to produce more with less waste.
Tom Nichols: "Unmodulated shock and outrage, however, not only burn precious credibility among the president's opponents, but eventually will exhaust the public and increase the already staggering amount of cynicism paralyzing our national political life."
"For most of Trump's career he has only trusted a small group of longtime loyalists at the Trump Organization, and even then he has often tightened the circle further to family members." It's important to get the right perspective on things: The President isn't a skilled manager; he's a self-promoter. And it goes further: Where a lot of people see authoritarian instincts, others see deep-seated insecurities and thin knowledge. They may share some superficial symptoms in common, but it's hard to respond correctly without getting the diagnosis right. On a related note, it's a good thing we have Senator John McCain, who is a key player in the Republican resistance.
The Supreme Court nominee dissented in a case where he thought a school police officer went too far in busting a kid who burped to disrupt class. But here's the key takeaway: "...for it is (or should be) emphatically our job to apply, not rewrite, the law enacted by the people's representatives. Indeed, a judge who likes every result he reaches is very likely a bad judge, reaching for results he prefers rather than those the law compels." Yes.
...then they'll usually look for someone to be worse-off than themselves. And when that fails, we get an election like 2016.
Budweiser and AAA will cover the cost of a tow and transportation home for people in Iowa through Monday morning. An interesting way to combat drunk driving over Super Bowl weekend.
The European Union as a political entity has a whole lot of problems -- but this feels like a bad time for such an important participant to get headed urgently towards the exit
Not a TV network; it's the way diplomats send urgent messages back up the chain of command within the US foreign service to warn that they think a policy is off-track. Probably a model that private businesses should adopt, too.
If new firms aren't being created, power is likely being concentrated in the old ones
His Black History Month comments are a perfect example of his incapacity to consider anything abstract
It's a big deal -- being without reliable high-speed Internet access is in many ways like being without access to paved highways
And how it caught on
Some thoughtful reflection on the situation at the State Department
President Trump to the press corps today: "Other countries take advantage of us with their money and their money supply and devaluation. Our country has been run so badly, we know nothing about devaluation." This ought to put anyone who believes in a growing real economy and a sound dollar on full alert. The President doesn't set the money supply -- but he does nominate the Chair of the Federal Reserve, and although Janet Yellen has a term on the Board of Governors that lasts through 2024, her current term as Fed Chair expires in 2018. There are plenty of institutional safeguards in place to protect the Fed from political pressure, but there's also a lot of damage a President can do via appointments, from the bully pulpit, and via regulatory and tax tools. The mere fact that a sitting President of the United States would bark openly about "devaluation" of a currency as if it's a tool that we have under-utilized is a dangerous thing. Fiat currency depends upon the faith of the people who use it. The bigger problem may be that President Trump doesn't understand the actual state of the economy, and he's aggressively promoting the use of tools that are inappropriate to its current condition.
It's good and bad news: The good part is that observers seem to think the children who get separated from their families in the troubles plaguing Syria are able to be reunited quickly with extended family as necessary. But the bad news, more glaringly, is that there are lots of entire families who still need help -- and who won't get it from the United States, if the Trump Administration has its way.
(Video) Danish television system produces a 3-minute video that probably speaks more to the value of common humanity than we readily acknowledge
The BSA is a fine institution with a great deal of good it can do for young people. Getting rid of arbitrary obstacles to participation is a laudable step for the organization to take.
When former Fed chair Ben Bernanke writes that, "to increase output without unduly increasing inflation the focus should be on improving productivity and aggregate supply", he's saying something totally different from what's coming out of the White House. In fact, it's almost 180 degrees the opposite. So if you don't expect them to satisfy the second part of the statement (focusing on productivity), then you'd better prepare for an inflationary situation.
A sobering thought: "Precisely because the problem is one of temperament and character, it will not get better. It will get worse, as power intoxicates Trump and those around him."
The Republican and Democratic parties are separately, and together, in basically their worst condition ever. More Millennials and Gen Xers identify as independents than as either Republicans or Democrats. Our one-person, one-vote/first-past-the-post voting system makes a two-party duopoly basically inevitable, but the current arrangement isn't stable.
Democrats with conservative fiscal views and moderate social ones are a rare breed now -- when they're needed more than ever
Anything with Sandra Bullock and Mindy Kaling has to be worth the price of a ticket
What it's like to come to the United States because you're unsafe in the land of your birth. We should be proud to be a refuge to the world's oppressed. That's the behavior of humane, civilized people.
Gallup says that 50% of the country already disapproves of Donald Trump as President. He started at an even split (or a remarkably low net approval of zero), and is now almost incomprehensibly far behind his predecessors of recent memory. He is starting with the same approval rate as Richard Nixon in May 1973 -- which, for historical reference, was the the opening of the televised Senate Watergate hearings. Imagine.
It's not just about "roads and bridges". Infrastructure is much broader than that, and it's not a single thing at which we should blindly throw a lot of money and expect great returns.
Prices in some neighborhoods are declining -- and they're already the lower-valued neighborhoods. That keeps residents from building equity to get into higher-value neighborhoods, if they want. It should be considered a serious local socioeconomic problem, and one that local leaders have an interest in examining thoughtfully. Are there public goods that can be used to make those neighborhoods more valuable?
Yeah, yeah: It's in the name of public health. But it still sounds a little nanny-state-ish.
A bit dry, but definitely worthwhile reading for the conscientious student of business management
The Economist carries a column with a strong insight about the need for opponents of the Trump Administration to make sure that they don't attack the voters themselves who put him in office. There's going to be a lot of need for reconciliation and unusual alliances in the time to come. There are already a lot of strong voices on the center-right who are as opposed to the direction and misbehavior of this administration as anyone on the left -- because offenses against truth and basic civility have no party. But it does nothing good to scold people who are late converts.
Manufacturing productivity is rising. Non-union manufacturing employment is steady. But unionized manufacturing jobs are on a downward trajectory that hasn't reversed course in more than a generation. It's not because of labor laws. Meanwhile, the President can convene all the "manufacturing jobs councils" he wants, but if government policy is to be used to favor one kind of employment over others, that will require sound reasoning and justification. The bar should be set extremely high for favoritism to be justified.
Technology already exists that permits real-time manipulation of audio and video. Technology itself is neutral; whether it is used for good or bad purposes is in the hands of the users. But this technology could easily be used for a great deal of evil. Audiences shouldn't fall for it.
A bystander at a gym saved the life of a man in cardiac arrest when the staff fell short. Everyone should get trained in CPR because none of us knows in advance how well we'll respond in an emergency. Some people freeze; that's inescapable. So the more people who are trained, the better the chances of survival for anyone who falls in need.
A vibrant portrait of one of the great technological successes that is far more engrossing in detail than in its usual abbreviated portrayal in the history books.
David McCullough in 2001: "If they were marble gods, what they did wouldn't be so admirable. The more we see the founders as humans the more we can understand them."
This is not the way to start relations between two countries sharing a large border, many common interests, and a great deal of economic interconnectivity. The United States has a giant vested interest in a politically stable, economically prosperous Mexico -- even if the President of the United States is willfully blind to that fact.
He's taking on the worst behavior of the Trump Administration in a clever and public way, and that's a good thing. The Trumpian notion of imposing high tariffs on imported goods is ridiculous and punitive -- not a smart way to fund anything (including a wall on the border with Mexico). Tariffs are funny things -- they look like a way to target "foreigners", but the fact is that their incidence depends on the relative slopes of the supply and demand curves. Cutting the check isn't the same as paying the price. Tariffs offer concentrated benefits to the workers they "protect", with costs shared among all consumers. That kind of recipe is really good for turning badly-formed political wants into reality.
The Russian government depends heavily upon income from the oil business. With that income in retreat, it should come as no surprise that the government there is looking to asymmetric power plays (like trying to interfere with Western elections) and headline-grabbing displays of power. Economic strength speaks for itself; weakness begets the kind of behavior we see in wounded animals.
Marketing company sets up deal to put temporary advertising wraps on personal vehicles. Why not? Commercialism is the American way.
As the Chinese government has sought to keep its subjects from taking their money overseas, it's going to starve some of the world's hot property markets of interested buyers (and their money)
Big multilateral trade deals are never perfect, but they're generally preferable. Think of the United States as a giant trading bloc among 50 independent countries: We have just one trade agreement that serves us all, rather than the 1,225 bilateral agreements that would be required if each state went its own way with each of the other 49 states. Remember: One person's "tariff" is another person's use of import taxation to force the entire public to play favorites and subsidize a small share of the population.
Can physical barriers obstruct the passage of people and goods? Obviously, yes. But anywhere you look in the world, where there are two neighboring countries with different standards of living, there is always and everywhere pressure on that border by migrants seeking a better life. Indonesians die trying to get into Malaysia. The border between Belarus and Poland is stretched thin. And, yes, many Latin Americans try to enter the United States in search of work. Putting up walls isn't a durable answer. The real systemic solutions come from enhancing the economies of the poorer countries in these relationships, and from normalizing relationships so that migration issues can be handled in a sober way. An expensive, 2,000-mile long wall between the United States and Mexico has all the characteristics of a gigantic boondoggle that will waste taxpayer resources and disappoint its proponents.
None has been revealed. Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence -- but they do not require extraordinary refutation. If someone claims that the sky has turned teal with purple polka dots, the burden of proof is not on the rest of us to prove that it has not. Unfortunately, there have always been people who are submissive to the claims of those in positions of authority, no matter what the evidence. That is why the President's claims should be clearly denounced as deviant.
Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa tweets a series of messages to the President, advising that he intends to stand his ground regarding expectations of transparency and reporting as the Senate reviews nominees to serve in the new administration. Grassley has credibility as an advocate for good-government transparency, so this message ought to stick.
If the President or the press secretary is demonstrably lying or propagating false information, just switch the feed to black and white instead of color. This is a massively image-sensitive administration; diminishing that image when it is being tarnished by lies is a signal that would serve the public.
If the world retreats from what we know as the "liberal order" (not left-wing, but liberty-driven), then something else will come next. Vacating the liberal order would only clear the way for lesser substitutes to emerge: If you clear a field and let nature take its course, weeds will take over, not roses. If the US quits the trade and defense deals that define the world order today, don't expect roses to take our place.
Statement from the National Association of Secretaries of State: "We are not aware of any evidence that supports the voter fraud claims made by President Trump, but we are open to learning more about the Administration's concerns." The President ought to be ashamed of himself for making unsubstantiated allegations in an effort to undermine faith in the electoral process. He is behaving like a deviant. It is disgraceful.
She departs service as governor of South Carolina, and she enters a role once held by George H. W. Bush. Haley started as a fiery outsider but has shown herself to be a sober leader in office; if she executes this office well, it may augur well for higher ambitions in her future.
The President's vague and unsubstantiated threat to "send in the Feds" is no solution. He absolutely must not try to declare martial law, nor should he flood the city with agents of the FBI or ATF. Chicago doesn't have a problem of toughness; its problems are much more systematic than that.
Not every pilot car is a Cadillac
The new President is ordering a withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It wasn't perfect, but our departure is a sign of a nation that thinks itself small. Big, decent trade agreements make the world safer and more prosperous.
Anne Applebaum: "European security may now depend on Germany, France, Britain and one or two others, and it's better to start planning now for the possibility of European-only cyber-defense, counter-terrorism, and conventional defense too."
Marketers are building detailed psychographic profiles of us all
Sample a few television programs from places like Britain or Australia, and it's hard not to notice that their workplace-themed shows are often set in places with lots and lots of windows. Not so for many American programs. What's the reason for that?
In a time when practically everything is recordable and storable online, it's not advisable to make up excuses to defend the indefensible
Long-term, Germany is heading towards a worker shortage. Its humanitarian project to welcome refugees (many of them young) could end up paying off quite handsomely. A chance to do well by doing good, as some like to say.
Upward-mobility machines they can certainly be, even if they don't come with illustrious pedigrees
Turns out they don't always fly as well as hoped
The conclusion is supported well and the stories are worth reading, but it would have been better as seven short books in a series rather than one exhausting tome.
Strongly recommended reading for anyone who appreciates a historical context for foreign policy-making today.
If government can cut down on the high cost of being poor, it's making good use of taxpayer money. Proper custodianship should be applauded.
Vice President Joe Biden on the PEOTUS and his fight with the intelligence agencies: "Grow up Donald, grow up, time to be an adult"
And that ought to be cause for serious concern. It's been bad enough to see the political backlash against the straw-man of foreign trade and immigrant workers. What happens when people turn their hostility against technology at large?
Reasonable people might begin to wonder whether the "lifetime" warranty that went with the tools will remain in force
National Institutes of Health decides that the evidence favors exposure to peanuts early in order to resist allergies: "Clinical trial results reported in February 2015 showed that regular peanut consumption begun in infancy and continued until 5 years of age led to an 81 percent reduction in development of peanut allergy in infants deemed at high risk"
When he attacks companies like Toyota, it should be assumed that he is short-selling for himself or otherwise tipping off members of his inner circle to do so. Absent legitimate, authentic, and verifiable declarations of his finances or the adoption of a bona fide blind trust, it must be assumed that he is abusing his position. This is not a partisan issue: It is a matter of good government.
Writes the CEO: "[I]t's clear that the broken system is ad-driven media on the internet. It simply doesn't serve people." And in the process of seeking a publishing model that will profit, the company is laying off dozens of staff members.
Strength in numbers for publishers?
"Lee" isn't exactly the surname most Americans think it is
One into which it would seem very odd indeed for the President-elect to be taking an active role. But that's what he's doing.
So concludes Larry Summers, and he's quite likely right. The magnitude of political risk to the world economy today is extraordinary. The costs of a correction will be large and painful.
Which means that men who are looking for new jobs may need to re-think their attachment to sterotypes about what "women's" jobs are
The suspension of cooperation can't be taken as a good sign. Indonesia is the world's 4th-largest country (by population), and Australia is the essential anchor for the protection of values in its corner of the Pacific Rim. If the two countries aren't on the same page, it's a bad turn of events.
Really, nobody goes around telling men how much prettier they would be if only they smiled
OfficeMax used to have a headquarters in suburban Chicago. After merging with Office Depot, OfficeMax no longer needed a headquarters of its own. Now, the building itself is likely to go into default. The choice many (if not most) businesses have made to reduce their direct ownership of real estate leads to some weird circumstances -- like the (former) Sears Tower no longer containing any Sears offices, and "OfficeMax headquarters" going bankrupt after OfficeMax ceased to exist as its own company.
The President-elect is taking glee in bullying individual companies to suit his own agenda. That is one of the most corrupt forms of crony capitalism -- which is the kind of thing that the truly free market abhors. When companies like Ford then turn to giving credit to the bully-in-chief for their decisions, their flattery is a weak capitulation to the kind of environment that will eventually be their downfall. Good financial advisors tell their clients not to make decisions based on the tax consequences; decisions should be made on the basis of the soundness of the investment itself. It is cowardly and sniveling for a business leader to suck up to a politician in the hope of getting favorable treatment (in taxes or otherwise).
Writer Patrick Tomlinson: "Instead of fighting for conservative solutions to our shared problems, I find myself arguing with 'conservatives' who, despite all the objective, verifiable evidence, can't even admit that our shared problems even exist in the first place."
The Acumen model for putting donations to work in developing economies is a great one -- based on the idea that markets work, even in poor places. They just sometimes require patient investment.
So let's not feign horror at the idea of imposing consequences. Should we seek friendly relations? Always. But friendship requires a foundation of fair play -- that is literally a concept we should learn in children's books.
America deserves good political parties involved in sensible contests of ideas with one another -- not self-righteous, inward-looking machines
The UBI is worthy of examination -- it possesses novelties that appeal to both the left and the right, which makes it sound a lot like apocryphal $20 bill on the street -- bypassed by the rational economist who assumes that if it were real, someone else would have taken it already.
This is the wrong time for classical liberals (not leftists) to back down. Now is the time to step up.
Now is not the time for the Legislative Branch to shrink.
Not if it's intended as a labor stimulus (the unemployment rate is already low). Not if it's just the visible stuff like highways and bridges (to the detriment of lots of critical work that is rarely visible to the public and doesn't make for good press coverage). Not if it's pure deficit spending (the Federal debt is already grotesque in size). Not if it's just for playing pork-barrel political games (the needs are independent of political connectedness).
The location of the President and his/her well-being at all times is a matter of national security. The same substantially goes for the President-elect. Ditching the press pool isn't an option for anyone who intends to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States.
One of the most troublesome possible flashpoints to watch today
The less time that is spent by skilled people on low-skill work, the better off we all are. Skilled people should do skilled work.
In the brilliant words of a writer for Vanity Fair, the President-elect "offered up a series of misleading, disjointed responses, during which he falsely claimed to have created thousands of new jobs, dismissed alleged Russian interference in the presidential election, whitewashed his sprawling financial conflicts of interest, and offered up word salad in a rambling defense of Israel"
The carriage disputes between local broadcast stations and the satellite and cable systems are a very strange vestige of the early days of cable television. And now? Now customers just find themselves annoyed by the anachronisms.
Compare these magnificent designs with the cluttered and amateurish flags used by so many American states and municipalities
In a valedictory interview with his old advisor, David Axelrod, President Obama misses an important point. If he doesn't think his administration got the credit it deserved for its work, then perhaps he should cast more blame on the way that same administration treated the news media. There was a lot of avoidance and a lot of outright hostility that not only kept their intended message from getting out (such as it may or may not have been), but also that set the stage for an incoming administration to declare something close to open warfare against the First Amendment.
Both major parties are in distressing condition. The path ahead for the Democrats, at least, needs to be less fixation on identity politics and more attention to economic solutions and pragmatism
A poorly-titled Bloomberg story on the coming administration gives a misleading impression: It's not a "business-friendly" environment if the incoming President has already shown a proclivity to manipulate and interfere with the private sector to suit his political motivations.
Labor unions that approach the increasing complexity of the economy with a heels-dug-in approach are going to do their members more harm than good. Adaptation and growth need to come.
They're going to need to bind themselves together more than in the past, and a little bit of branding is a good step.
We can't say we haven't been told about some of the most awful violations of human rights taking place around the world. Aleppo is a devastating example, but far from the only one. So why are we submitting to paralysis?
The distressing gun violence in Chicago may have some very predictable epidemiological characteristics. That may help give policy makers important things to consider and act upon. The worrying part is that we already know about things that appear to work...but they keep finding themselves cut out of budgets.
But be careful of blaming the journalists named in the bylines -- headlines are often supplied by webmasters and editors. The point, however, is true: Bad headline-writing is hazardous to our understanding of the world.
Situational needs plus high availability may leave a few too many troops consuming high volumes of drinks like Red Bull -- to a degree that could be hazardous to their health
Because "De gustibus non est disputandum", but there's a lot of humor to be had in writing about it
And may not for two months to come. Seems an inopportune time for that. And, perhaps, symbolic at a time when Russia is pulling the power move by taking credit for brokering a peace agreement in Syria.
Businesses are falling behind on maintenance because they can't get enough workers to do it. And that's not just financially risky -- it could be physically hazardous to workers.
If the new MSC Seaside is any indication, the cruise ships of tomorrow will look more like cargo freighters than the graceful SS Normandie...which might make sense, since the MSC cruise line originated as a cargo line. For those who actually want to be treated like cargo, there's already a cruise experience for that.
One normally wouldn't expect the kind of trouble being seen now from a company with as broad a reach as Toshiba already possesses
If we can find the motivation to express grief about a celebrity death on Facebook, then we should compel ourselves to do something good in the real world we inhabit. Permanently archived.
The incoming President turned to Twitter in the morning to complain about "roadblocks" erected by the sitting President. Later in the day, when asked, he blew off the issue as nothing at all. Not a lot of people go through life with a strictly momentary, transactional approach to their encounters with others -- it's extremely strange, since most of us expect to deal with the same people tomorrow whom we encountered today. But the incoming President has been programmed to behave as though there are no consequences beyond what's on the table in the moment. For a primer on this, read "The Liar's Ball", which tells the story of a single Manhattan office building and how it's changed hands (including in and out of Donald Trump's). His world is not the same as that of people who live in communities or who have durable relationships. In his world, your rival this morning may be your partner by lunch and your counterparty by dinnertime. You can love, hate, curse, and do business with the same person from day to day, and it doesn't have lingering consequences.
CNN cites an unnamed official who thinks the government failed to exercise the necessary imagination to see what Russia sought to gain by cyberwarfare. A repugnant election later, and that failure of imagination seems pretty distressing.
Trust between the community and the police is built up over time -- and it can be damaged by those who assume too aggressive a posture. In the long run, this kind of behavior quite likely puts other peace officers at unnecessary risk.
The New York Times illustrates the popularity of 50 television programs as heatmaps across the country. Really intriguing stuff.
Nebraska family wants to stick four kids, two parents, and a dog into "tiny houses". That can't be good for the mental health of the kids.
If it were being done for transparency, or to reveal his thinking, it might be a good thing. But he's demonstrated a breathtaking lack of depth with his activity on Twitter up until now. Why would that change? In an ideal world, the President of the United States would spend five minutes a day composing and sharing his or her thoughts with the world. That's a far different thing from tweeting in anger in the middle of the night. Clear thinking and clear writing go hand-in-hand.
Lots of people are taking to social media to decry "anti-intellectualism" as the cause of dysfunction in politics and society. It's not enough. It's safe and self-gratifying to decry anti-intellectualism. But in a democracy, you still have to persuade the "anti-intellectuals".
The future of power in the Pacific Rim is a lot less monolithic than the past. China's first carrier will almost certainly have a pile of troubles. Its fifth will have fewer.
A former law-enforcement officer, seeing what happened to the children of people who committed crimes, decided with his wife to start adopting kids
News of past security breaches may be making Verizon skittish about an acquisition, and that could be a catastrophe for the old Internet giant
The arguments for liberalized trade are always under assault from "common sense" that is wildly misinformed
Finland doesn't have a lot of generations of history of independence from Russia. Demonstrations of strength in the Baltics give the Finns thoroughly understandable anxiety.
Frosty relations under Obama have set the stage for even worse behavior by his successor. That's bad for the country.
The future for the Democratic Party isn't to be found in doubling down on what makes the party "different" so much as in acting on needs that seem to be going unanswered. That's a very small-"d" democratic idea, indeed.
Yes, it's called the Willis Tower now. But that name has never stuck in the public imagination anyway. It's a really good question: What happens to our modern skyscrapers a century or two from now?
Two decades after publication, still a highly recommended autobiography of a legitimate modern-day success story.
Including advice on what to do to try to stay safe online, even if Yahoo has a billion accounts hacked.
For using cyberwarfare against the United States to influence the 2016 election, that is
Driver: "I didn't have anything better to do". And that, you see, is what gives a low-friction economy the potential for both great opportunity and serious destabilization. If people are willing to transform their leisure time from "nothing better to do" into productive work, then lots of great things can be done. But if people are willing to do things as extraordinary as driving 1,100 miles in a day on little more than a lark, then anyone who depends upon the kind of work being displaced by "nothing better to do" could find themselves in a downward economic spiral in a hurry. Embrace the good that comes with these changes, but social stability will require figuring out ways to mitigate the harm done to those who lose out.
Possibly because they weren't even the ones to have discovered the attack
Is a disappointing hotel in DC a sign of what the next Presidential administration will do to the country?
Writer Dan Brooks says to call it "egg-manning", after the classic "straw man" fallacy -- but applied to the era of the Twitter egg
Took you long enough: The standard in place had been around since 1982 and granted probably too much authority to the President to do things without the supervision and check of Congress.
A plan to require "American Iron and Steel" in the construction of water infrastructure projects has been derailed from a Federal spending bill, and though it may seem paradoxical, that's probably a good thing for American workers. AIS requirements have actually imposed an unnecessary, complex, and expensive burden on a good number of American manufacturing companies that have made perfectly rational decisions to use supply chains that stop outside the United States sometimes. A lot of manufacturing happens up the manufacturing chain -- at high-value assembly of complex products. Artificially fumbling around with the inputs that these companies are required to use actually makes it harder for them to operate effectively and competitively -- especially if it means they have to set up multiple production configurations so they can meet domestic regulations with one process, and find ways to make other products at more competitive prices for export. Far too often, regulations like AIS end up doing more net harm than good.
Once again, it would seem, the Federal government will be funded by swinging a few months at a time. But a fight over benefits for coal miners almost took us into a shutdown until a very, very last-minute vote bought some time. This is no way for a great country to act; nor is it any way for a country with a $19.87 trillion Federal debt to behave. Divided evenly among 325 million Americans, that's more than $61,000 in Federal debt per person. It's madness to run up that kind of debt without at least getting some long-term benefit from it. But that's not what we're doing -- our deficit spending is just the equivalent of running up a credit-card bill to pay ordinary household expenses. This reckless behavior will bring about consequences someday. Bad ones.
Starting in a few days, they're going to send an update that will kill the ability of those phones to take a battery charge. Hard to think of a more dramatic move to force people to surrender their exploding devices.
For every thousand people (over age 25) living here, about six degree-holders left between 2011 and 2015. That's bad, and it's not just an Iowa problem: Illinois and Nebraska were even worse-off, and every other bordering state (Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, and South Dakota) was also in the red. College degrees aren't the end-all, be-all of a society or an economy, but when you see the same negative thing happening across a broad contiguous area, you can't just turn your back on the phenomenon.
The astronaut pioneer has slipped the surly bonds of Earth
Futurist Ian Pearson has an uncommon ability to see things coming in advance. Heed what he tells you: We're all going to need to make friends across party lines and expose ourselves to ideas that might make us uncomfortable...if we are to survive.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon chips will be able to run the same Windows platform that finds its way into big devices like laptops. This won't necessarily turn the Windows Phone into a blockbuster, but it might make things easier for products in a "connected" home to work in tandem.
But a data-based analysis of commuting patterns makes it clear which parts of the country are tied to others, and how. If nothing else, the maps illustrating these connections should give policymakers some reasons to pick up the phone or drop an email by way of someone in a related area whom they may not have considered a counterpart before.
Mark Nook takes over on February 1st
His diplomatic naivete and his bluster are going to combine to make bad things happen. He will be played -- with ease -- by rival powers with strategic foresight and patience. It will be very bad for America.
The proliferation of stupid, fraudulent, and utterly wrong material on the Internet has caused some non-discerning audience members to lose their minds. One might think that it's time to add "media literacy" to the school curriculum, but the fact is that there are lots and lots of adults who lack the capability to discern between true and false, and there's no hope of putting them into a classrom now. Contributing to the problem is that stripping down content to suit mobile devices takes away a lot of the cues that might tell the reader whether a site is substantive or not.
Yes, if for the sake of the infrastructure itself. No, if it's a make-work ploy. So sayeth the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago -- and he's right. The former, if done right, establishes the foundation for important economic activity and growth elsewhere in the economy. The latter, especially at a time of basically full employment, only serves to inflate costs.
The evolution of the Des Moines metro area over the last 30 years is evident to long-time locals. Also, for whatever amount the area has grown, "urban sprawl" here is hardly a meaningful concern.
In the absence of a properly functioning market for legitimate moneylending, the crooks have moved in
(Video) It's very, very hard to face the reality that half a million children are starving to death in Yemen right now. HALF A MILLION. But that is the reality, and the civilized world needs to face it.
The organization says 93 million people are directly in harm's way due to violence, displacement, and natural disasters worldwide. 93 million people is a population larger than Germany, and would rank in the top 20 countries by population worldwide.
The New York Times reporter explains more of the "must-know" in an hour than any amount of social media has covered. The first 25 minutes or so of her interview with Glenn Thrush spend a little too much time on inside baseball, so for the listener truly in a hurry, skip forward to the 25-minute mark for the real meat and potatoes.
Donald Trump isn't the first vapid populist to hit the electoral scene -- not in the world, nor in America. He won't be the last, either. But ideas matter. As Margaret Thatcher's ally Keith Joseph once said, "We must fight the battle of ideas in every school, university, publication, committee, TV studio even if we have to struggle for our toe-hold there; we have the truth, if we fail to make it shine clear, we shall be to blame no less than the exploiters, the casuists, the commercialisers." In the short run, it's possible to win an election on empty promises. In the long run, something has to fill the void after those empty promises collapse under their own weight. People need answers, they need leadership, and they need something affirmative to believe in. It's up to sensible people on both the right and the left to define some sound intellectual foundations for what comes next.
Ghana is going through a rough economic patch, which is challenging to sound government no matter where you are
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November 2 to November 8, 2015
October 26 to November 1, 2015
October 19 to October 25, 2015
October 12 to October 18, 2015
October 5 to October 11, 2015
September 27 to October 4, 2015
September 21 to September 27, 2015
September 14 to September 20, 2015
September 7 to September 13, 2015
August 31 to September 6, 2015
August 24 to August 30, 2015
August 17 to August 23, 2015
August 10 to August 16, 2015
August 3 to August 9, 2015
July 27 to August 2, 2015
July 20 to July 26, 2015
July 13 to July 19, 2015
July 6 to July 12, 2015
June 29 to July 5, 2015
June 22 to June 28, 2015
June 15 to June 21, 2015
June 8 to June 14, 2015
June 1 to June 7, 2015
May 25 to May 31, 2015
May 18 to May 24, 2015
May 11 to May 17, 2015
May 4 to May 10, 2015
April 27 to May 3, 2015
April 20 to April 26, 2015
April 13 to April 19, 2015
April 6 to April 12, 2015
March 30 to April 5, 2015
First quarter 2015
Fourth quarter 2014
Third quarter 2014
Second quarter 2014
First quarter 2014
Fourth quarter 2013
Third quarter 2013
Second quarter 2013
First quarter 2013
Fourth quarter 2012
Third quarter 2012
Second quarter 2012
First quarter 2012
Archives (2001 to present)
Comments or questions? Contact Brian Gongol