Do I hear the gods of war laughing in the background?
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India said on the opening day of the summit meeting that poor nations have the right to burn carbon to grow their economies.“Justice demands that, with what little carbon we can still safely burn, developing countries are allowed to grow,” he wrote in a column published in The Financial Times. “The lifestyles of a few must not crowd out opportunities for the many still on the first steps of the development ladder.”Citing statistics showing that carbon pollution last year was equal to the year before while economic growth continued, Mr. Obama rejected arguments that cleaning up the world’s air would be too costly or lead to poorer lifestyles.“We have proved that strong economic growth and a safer environment no longer have to conflict with one another,” he said.”
Source: Obama, at Conference, Says U.S. Is Partly to Blame for Climate Change – The New York Times
“Thanksgiving as we know it dates not to colonial days but to the middle of the Civil War, when Abraham Lincoln made it a federal holiday. It is, in other words, a celebration of national unity. And our national unity is indeed something to be thankful for.To see why, consider the slow-motion disaster now overtaking the European project on multiple fronts.For those not familiar with the term, the “European project” has a very specific meaning. It refers to the long-term effort to foster a peaceful, prosperous Europe through ever-closer economic and social integration, an effort that began more than 60 years ago with the formation of the Coal and Steel Community.”
Source: Europe the Unready – The New York Times
“Obama administration officials say the T.P.P. goes further on labor standards than those earlier pacts. For example, the T.P.P.’s labor chapter requires all 12 countries to adopt minimum wage, working hour and occupational safety regulations. That is an improvement, but it could turn out to be mostly symbolic because the agreement does not specify how countries should set minimum wages. Nor does it establish any minimum standard for safety regulations.Experts say the most important labor provisions are found in side agreements the Obama administration reached with Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei individually to address specific problems like barriers to union organizing and the treatment of immigrant workers from countries like Myanmar. These countries will have to change their labor laws in specific ways before they are allowed to export goods duty-free to the United States.The agreement with Vietnam, a country run by a communist government, would require that workers be permitted to form independent unions that are not affiliated with the Communist Party and would have the right to bargain collectively and to strike. This should help workers who have been exploited to demand better pay and better working conditions.”
Source: Pacific Trade and Worker Rights – The New York Times
“So it’s worth paying attention to what Mr. Erickson says. And as you might guess, he doesn’t think highly of President Obama’s antiterrorism policies.Still, his response to the attack in Paris was a bit startling. The French themselves are making a point of staying calm, indeed of going out to cafes to show that they refuse to be intimidated. But Mr. Erickson declared on his website that he won’t be going to see the new “Star Wars” movie on opening day, because “there are no metal detectors at American theaters.”Paul KrugmanMacroeconomics, trade, health care, social policy and politics. Health Reform Lives! NOV 23 Fearing Fear Itself NOV 16 Republicans’ Lust for Gold NOV 13 Despair, American Style NOV 9 Austerity’s Grim Legacy NOV 6See More »It’s a bizarre reaction — but when you think about it, it’s part of a larger pattern. These days, panic attacks after something bad happens are the rule rather than the exception, at least on one side of the political divide.Continue reading the main storySign Up for the Opinion Today NewsletterEvery weekday, get thought-provoking commentary from Op-Ed columnists, The Times editorial board and contributing writers from around the world.Consider first the reaction to the Paris attacks. Lightsabers aside, are Mr. Erickson’s fears any sillier than those of the dozens of governors — almost all Republicans — who want to ban Syrian refugees from their states?”
Source: The Farce Awakens – The New York Times
A critical fix Congress could make right now would be to change the law so that a person’s sentence is determined by his role in a drug operation, and not by the entire amount of drugs found in that operation, which is a poor measure of culpability.
One version of the sentencing reform legislation, introduced in the House by Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin, and Robert Scott, Democrat of Virginia, would have addressed this issue squarely by applying many mandatory minimum sentences only to the leaders of a drug organization. But that smart idea was heavily watered down in the bills passed by the Senate and House Judiciary Committees in recent days. Congress should resurrect this sensible provision, which would go a long way toward bringing some basic fairness and rationality back into the nation’s horribly skewed drug laws.”
Making a real dent in the federal prison population will require broader reforms than what Congress is currently considering.
Source: Cut Sentences for Low-Level Drug Crimes