Amy Chosick of the NYT, damning Hillary Clinton, sounds just like Reeta Skeeter

Mrs. Clinton lacks some of the extraordinary gifts for connection and empathy that her husband possesses, and the round-table events that have characterized her early campaign can feel stage-managed. But even these settings are producing revealing moments, as Mrs. Clinton finds herself far from the world of international diplomacy and scrambling to re-educate herself about the nation she hopes to lead.

via Hillary Clinton Tells Voters She’s Listening, and Learning –

How to Lock Up Fewer People – NYT

“For the same conduct, we impose sentences on average twice as long as those the British impose, four times longer than the Dutch, and five to 10 times longer than the French. One of every nine people in prison in the United States is serving a life sentence. And some states have also radically restricted parole at the back end. As a result, many inmates are held long past the time they might pose any threat to public safety.

Offenders “age out” of crime — so the 25-year-old who commits an armed robbery generally poses much less risk to public safety by the age of 35 or 40. Yet nearly 250,000 inmates today are over 50. Every year we keep older offenders in prison produces diminishing returns for public safety. For years, states have been radically restricting parole; we need to make it more readily available. And by eliminating unnecessary parole conditions for low-risk offenders, we can conserve resources to provide appropriate community-based programming and supervision to higher-risk parolees.”

Everyone agrees on ending mass incarceration, but the scale of the task is huge.|By Marc Mauer and David Cole

Paris Can’t Be Another Copenhagen –

“India will be one of the states hardest hit by climate change, with increased coastal flooding and melting Himalayan glaciers. Rising global temperatures would make water security an even greater problem in India-Pakistan relations. William Cline, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, has estimated that a modest increase in average global temperatures would cut agricultural output in India by 38 percent.

The stakes are as great for China. Earlier this year, the head of China’s national weather service warned that climate change would have “huge impacts” on the country, including reduced crop yields, ecological harm and unstable river flows. A 2011 government report anticipated a 5-to-20 percent drop in grain output resulting from climate change by 2050. Never mind the crisis the Chinese leadership already faces from unsustainable levels of air pollution in the country’s major cities.”

via Paris Can’t Be Another Copenhagen –

Here is a new word. anthropogenic (born of man)

Here is a new word.

“Anthropogenic is an adjective that describes changes in nature made by people. If your town has rerouted water from the river for drinking water, that is an anthropogenic activity.

Whenever you see the word root anthro, you can bet there’s a person involved, and anthropogenic is a particularly good example. From the Greek anthropogenes, meaning “born of man,” anthropogenic can refer to any changes in nature that are caused by people — like the existence of roads or cities where once there were forests. Most often, you will hear anthropogenic as an adjective describing pollution — such as the anthropogenic causes of the hole in the ozone layer.”

NYT editorial, “If G.E. doesn’t complete the environmental cleanup job it has skillfully begun, a remarkable opportunity will be squandered.”

It is time for the shareholders and customers of GE to speak out.

“This month the dredges and barges went to work again on the upper Hudson River to begin the sixth and last year of one of the largest and most expensive environmental cleanups in American history. The polluter, General Electric, has been digging up toxic PCB’s, polychlorinated biphenyls, that it dumped into the river, by the millions of pounds, decades ago. It plans to keep dredging through the fall, then pack up its machinery and walk away from the job.

But the job won’t be done.”

If G.E. doesn’t complete the environmental cleanup job it has skillfully begun, a remarkable opportunity will be squandered.|By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

Trade and Trust – Paul Krugman attacks TPP

Krugman writes: “In any case, the Pacific trade deal isn’t really about trade. Some already low tariffs would come down, but the main thrust of the proposed deal involves strengthening intellectual property rights — things like drug patents and movie copyrights — and changing the way companies and countries settle disputes. And it’s by no means clear that either of those changes is good for America.”

The Comments are brutal, mostly, at least the popular ones.

This writer spent an a few hours the other day reading the US Government positions on TTP, at Federal websites. The best was the trade office of the State Dept, but I can’t seem to find it today. The goals are admirable.
Here is a short list from the’


Reduced or eliminated tariffs for American goods
Streamlined and simple customs rules for American businesses
Countries are required to put in place the most progressive labor standards, including a minimum wage, a ban on child labor, the right to form unions
Countries are required to put in place the most progressive environmental standards ever, including a ban on wildlife trafficking, illegal logging, and overfishing
A free and open Internet that will allow people to openly search and buy American goods
New rules to make sure foreign state-owned companies compete fairly with our private businesses”
I found an example, Vietnam current has no tariffs on auto parts from China, but has a 27% tariff on auto parts from the US. The Trade desk insists that these anti US practices will be reduced. Perhaps we will have to wait till the document is made available, before condemning it. Anything that helps protect rhinos and elephants for instance, deserves support, unless real sovereignty is sacrificed, which remains now just an accusation.
TTP recognizes that the biggest growth will be in Asia, as well as the most pollution. Maybe the left should hold their fire, till they can see what they are trying to kill.

via Trade and Trust –

Patchwork Oversight Allows Dubious Charities to Operate –

“But even before the political controversy, the tax agency’s oversight of charities was dropping. A report in December by the Government Accountability Office found that examinations of charities and tax-exempt groups had steadily declined over the years and that review rates were lower than for other filers. In 2013, the I.R.S. examined 0.71 percent of all charitable organizations’ filings, compared with 1 percent for individuals and 1.4 percent for corporations, the G.A.O. found.”

via Patchwork Oversight Allows Dubious Charities to Operate –

Times editorial: The High Cost of Dirty Fuels

NYT Editorial: “The I.M.F. estimates that calculated properly, energy subsidies will amount to $5.3 trillion this year, or 6.5 percent of the global gross domestic product. China, the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, will be responsible for nearly half of that amount, or $2.3 trillion, and the United States will be the second biggest at $699 billion.

The arguments for cutting subsidies are not new. But the I.M.F.’s exhaustive research makes the case even stronger and more timely. The fund calculates that by raising taxes on fossil fuels, basically eliminating the subsidies, nations would reduce premature deaths caused by air pollution by 55 percent. That would make a big dent in the 3.7 million premature deaths that the World Health Organization links to all outdoor air pollution for just 2012.”

The Times makes many good points. I question whether not taxing to recoup externalites is exactly the same thing as subsidizing a product. Am I splitting hairs, or isn’t a tax to recover externality costs a different animal than a direct subsidy?

Ending subsidies for fossil fuels would save many lives, a report from the International Monetary Fund makes clear.|By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

Saint Nicholas: The Power of Hope Is Real

Great news from the work of Esther Duflo at JPAL/MIT, and Dean Karlan at Innovations for Poverty Action. Thank you Saint Nicholas.
These economists and their colleagues are using micro-finance, randomized trials and psychology to show what works and what doesn’t in the war on poverty — very exciting.
The dark side to such valiant efforts, is that population growth makes their efforts less useful. Without education, family planning, and population control, all those donated animals will soon be eaten.

A new trial involving 21,000 people in six countries suggest that a cow or a goat and the belief in a better future can significantly impact poverty.|By Nicholas Kristof

Hillary, Jeb, Facebook and Disorder by Tom Friedman; my call for an umemployment tax

I suggest you read Tom Friedman’s column before my comment, posted at the Times:
This writer is deeply worried about the facts and forecasts that Tom Friedman brings forward in yet another excellent column. As I struggle at the super markets to find a human available to ring up my groceries, I ponder a new unemployment tax on all US businesses and business people. It would be a federal tax that would go up when unemployment rises over 5%, or an appropriate number, and keep r

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Huge disruptive inflections in technology, the labor market and geopolitics have the 2016 presidential candidates in a leadership quandary.|By Thomas L. Friedman