Thursday, November 27, 2014

Pollution and Politics - NYTimes.com

Pollution and Politics - NYTimes.com:



 "Earlier this week, the Environmental Protection Agency announced proposed regulations to curb emissions of ozone, which causes smog, not to mention asthma, heart disease and premature death. And you know what happened: Republicans went on the attack, claiming that the new rules would impose enormous costs."



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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Borders

States define themselves through borders. For instance I've been in the Mexico-US border. The first time I saw it, I couldn't believe my eyes. The US was so beautiful, in contrast, my country looked ugly. I was not aware of how ugly, until I'd seen the American side more carefully. Of course there are ugly places on this side of the border. Nevertheless, as you can see in Acemoglu's book, Why Nations Fail, all in all, life is better on this side.

Material conditions usually don't interest me. I am more of an idea person. Nevertheless, now that my immediate family is on the US side, I feel grateful. It just happened, different events put me where I am now. Waiting for Thanksgiving day, for a turkey cooked by my daughter.

Life is good!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

News Drumsticks - NYTimes.com

News Drumsticks - NYTimes.com:



 "Finally, Ferguson, Mo., reminds us of our own wounds of mistrust we need to heal. The controversial verdict was announced the same day President Obama awarded this year’s Presidential Medals of Freedom, which also reminded us that we’ve been a work in progress in repairing our racial divide. Among those honored were the three civil rights workers killed in the Freedom Summer of 1964. Another was Charlie Sifford, a black golfer who helped desegregate the P.G.A. Tour and pave the way for Tiger Woods. And another was Stevie Wonder, who, as Obama put it, “channeled his inner visions into messages of hope and healing.”"



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Monday, November 24, 2014

Robert P. McCulloch

I just watched the St. Louis County Prosecutor announce, that officer Darren Wilson can go on with his life.

I know my opinion is not as high as his. Nevertheless I did not see a human behind that face. He is a messenger of a blind Justice System.

Amen.

Grand Jury Does Not Charge Ferguson Officer in Michael Brown Shooting - NYTimes.com

Grand Jury Does Not Charge Ferguson Officer in Michael Brown Shooting - NYTimes.com:



"CLAYTON, Mo. — A St. Louis County grand jury has brought no criminal charges against Darren Wilson, a white police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, more than three months ago in nearby Ferguson."



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Solving the Riddles of an Early Astronomical Calculator - NYTimes.com

Solving the Riddles of an Early Astronomical Calculator - NYTimes.com:



 "A riddle for the ages may be a small step closer to a solution: Who made the famed Antikythera Mechanism, the astronomical calculator that was raised from an ancient shipwreck near Crete in 1901?"



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Solar and Wind Energy Start to Win on Price vs. Conventional Fuels - NYTimes.com

Solar and Wind Energy Start to Win on Price vs. Conventional Fuels - NYTimes.com:



"For the solar and wind industries in the United States, it has been a long-held dream: to produce energy at a cost equal to conventional sources like coal and natural gas."



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Grand Jury Reaches a Decision in Michael Brown Shooting - NYTimes.com

Grand Jury Reaches a Decision in Michael Brown Shooting - NYTimes.com:



"FERGUSON, Mo. — A grand jury deliberating whether to charge Darren Wilson, the white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., has reached a decision in the case that will be announced later Monday, the prosecutor’s office said."



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Interstellar

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Inflation and Rising Interest Rates That Never Showed Up - NYTimes.com

The Inflation and Rising Interest Rates That Never Showed Up - NYTimes.com:



"Six years ago the Federal Reserve hit rock bottom. It had been cutting the federal funds rate, the interest rate it uses to steer the economy, more or less frantically in an unsuccessful attempt to get ahead of the recession and financial crisis. But it eventually reached the point where it could cut no more, because interest rates can’t go below zero. On Dec. 16, 2008, the Fed set its interest target between 0 and 0.25 percent, where it remains to this day."



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Turmoil Over Immigration Status? California Has Lived It for Decades - NYTimes.com

Turmoil Over Immigration Status? California Has Lived It for Decades - NYTimes.com:



"LOS ANGELES — There may be no better place than California to measure the contradictions, crosswinds and confusion that come with trying to change immigration law."



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Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Downside of the Boom - NYTimes.com

The Downside of the Boom - NYTimes.com:



"WILLISTON, N.D. — In early August 2013, Arlene Skurupey of Blacksburg, Va., got an animated call from the normally taciturn farmer who rents her family land in Billings County, N.D. There had been an accident at the Skurupey 1-9H oil well. “Oh, my gosh, the gold is blowing,” she said he told her. “Bakken gold.”"



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After Snow, Western New York Prepares for Floods - NYTimes.com

After Snow, Western New York Prepares for Floods - NYTimes.com:



 "BUFFALO — As dump trucks, plows and payloaders continued laboring to clear snow as high as seven feet, western New York girded on Saturday for the feared second act of the storm — widespread flooding."



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Stampeding Black Elephants - NYTimes.com

Stampeding Black Elephants - NYTimes.com:



 "SYDNEY, Australia — I PARTICIPATED in the World Parks Congress in Sydney last week and learned a new phrase: “a black elephant.” A black elephant, explained the London-based investor and environmentalist Adam Sweidan, is a cross between “a black swan” (an unlikely, unexpected event with enormous ramifications) and the “elephant in the room” (a problem that is visible to everyone, yet no one still wants to address it) even though we know that one day it will have vast, black-swan-like consequences."



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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Heavy Snow Keeps Falling in Buffalo Area, Straining Nerves and Roofs - NYTimes.com

Heavy Snow Keeps Falling in Buffalo Area, Straining Nerves and Roofs - NYTimes.com:



 "LANCASTER, N.Y. — Jack Fasanella and Pattie Higgins had not seen another soul, aside from each other, for days."



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Some Republicans Fear That Their Hard-Liners Will Alienate Hispanics - NYTimes.com

Some Republicans Fear That Their Hard-Liners Will Alienate Hispanics - NYTimes.com:



"WASHINGTON — All but drowned out by Republicans’ clamorous opposition to President Obama’s executive action on immigration are some leaders who worry that their party could alienate the fastest-growing group of voters, for 2016 and beyond, if its hottest heads become its face."



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Suffer Little Children by Paul Krugman

The Tenement Museum, on the Lower East Side, is one of my favorite places in New York City. It’s a Civil War-vintage building that housed successive waves of immigrants, and a number of apartments have been restored to look exactly as they did in various eras, from the 1860s to the 1930s (when the building was declared unfit for occupancy). When you tour the museum, you come away with a powerful sense of immigration as a human experience, which — despite plenty of bad times, despite a cultural climate in which Jews, Italians, and others were often portrayed as racially inferior — was overwhelmingly positive.
I get especially choked up about the Baldizzi apartment from 1934. When I described its layout to my parents, both declared, “I grew up in that apartment!” And today’s immigrants are the same, in aspiration and behavior, as my grandparents were — people seeking a better life, and by and large finding it.
That’s why I enthusiastically support President Obama’s new immigration initiative. It’s a simple matter of human decency.
That’s not to say that I, or most progressives, support open borders. You can see one important reason right there in the Baldizzi apartment: the photo of F.D.R. on the wall. The New Deal made America a vastly better place, yet it probably wouldn’t have been possible without the immigration restrictions that went into effect after World War I. For one thing, absent those restrictions, there would have been many claims, justified or not, about people flocking to America to take advantage of welfare programs.
Furthermore, open immigration meant that many of America’s worst-paid workers weren’t citizens and couldn’t vote. Once immigration restrictions were in place, and immigrants already here gained citizenship, this disenfranchised class at the bottom shrank rapidly, helping to create the political conditions for a stronger social safety net. And, yes, low-skill immigration probably has some depressing effect on wages, although the available evidence suggests that the effect is quite small.
So there are some difficult issues in immigration policy. I like to say that if you don’t feel conflicted about these issues, there’s something wrong with you. But one thing you shouldn’t feel conflicted about is the proposition that we should offer decent treatment to children who are already here — and are already Americans in every sense that matters. And that’s what Mr. Obama’s initiative is about.
Who are we talking about? First, there are more than a million young people in this country who came — yes, illegally — as children and have lived here ever since. Second, there are large numbers of children who were born here — which makes them U.S. citizens, with all the same rights you and I have — but whose parents came illegally, and are legally subject to being deported.
What should we do about these people and their families? There are some forces in our political life who want us to bring out the iron fist — to seek out and deport young residents who weren’t born here but have never known another home, to seek out and deport the undocumented parents of American children and force those children either to go into exile or to fend for themselves.
But that isn’t going to happen, partly because, as a nation, we aren’t really that cruel; partly because that kind of crackdown would require something approaching police-state rule; and, largely, I’m sorry to say, because Congress doesn’t want to spend the money that such a plan would require. In practice, undocumented children and the undocumented parents of legal children aren’t going anywhere.

The real question, then, is how we’re going to treat them. Will we continue our current regime of malign neglect, denying them ordinary rights and leaving them under the constant threat of deportation? Or will we treat them as the fellow Americans they already are?
The truth is that sheer self-interest says that we should do the humane thing. Today’s immigrant children are tomorrow’s workers, taxpayers and neighbors. Condemning them to life in the shadows means that they will have less stable home lives than they should, be denied the opportunity to acquire skills and education, contribute less to the economy, and play a less positive role in society. Failure to act is just self-destructive.
But speaking for myself, I don’t care that much about the money, or even the social aspects. What really matters, or should matter, is the humanity. My parents were able to have the lives they did because America, despite all the prejudices of the time, was willing to treat them as people. Offering the same kind of treatment to today’s immigrant children is the practical course of action, but it’s also, crucially, the right thing to do. So let’s applaud the president for doing it.

President, Daring Congress, Moves to Overhaul Immigration - NYTimes.com

President, Daring Congress, Moves to Overhaul Immigration - NYTimes.com:



"WASHINGTON — President Obama chose confrontation over conciliation on Thursday as he asserted the powers of the Oval Office to reshape the nation’s immigration system and dared members of next year’s Republican-controlled Congress to reverse his actions on behalf of millions of immigrants."



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Historic!

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