Archives For: Premium

The Eurozone Battles Deflation

Jan 23 2015 @ 1:20pm

Matt O’Brien describes the European Central Bank’s new $1.3 trillion quantitative easing program:

[T]he ECB will buy €60 billion, or $69 billion, of assets a month—including government, institutional and private sector bonds—and will do so until at least September 2016, or until there’s a “sustained adjustment in the path of inflation” toward their close-to-but-below 2 percent goal. To give you an idea how far away that is, prices are actually falling in Europe—a seriously worrisome sign—with euro-zone inflation currently at -0.2 percent. It’s no wonder that Europe’s economy still has 11.5 percent unemployment and is growing so slowly that it’s not clear whether it’s even gotten out of its last recession.

Cassidy has FAQ on the plan. Why it might not work:

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Why, Exactly, Is Rubio Running?

Jan 23 2015 @ 1:02pm

Rubio is assembling a campaign. Larison fails to see the logic of his candidacy:

I still think there is no room for him in the nomination contest, and it doesn’t make much sense for him to launch a bid that has no realistic chance of succeeding. But just as a Romney candidacy would siphon off support from Bush, a Rubio candidacy would also pull away some votes from Bush, because they appeal to the same kinds of voters and donors. All of that makes it more likely that an insurgent candidate may be able to sneak through and win the nomination, and it further splits the hawkish vote.

Jazz Shaw confesses “to being a least a little surprised by this”:

The longer Rubio waited, the more I thought he might just decide to give this a pass. He’ll be all of 45 years old when the next president is sworn in, and even if it’s a Republican who serves two terms, he’ll still be in his early fifties for the 2024 election. He would have plenty of time to season himself and let the current crop of heavy hitters beat each other up.

Waldman thinks Rubio is running for VP:

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The Legacy Of King Abdullah

Jan 23 2015 @ 11:58am

Greenwald is disgusted by the tributes to the late Saudi king:

The effusive praise being heaped on the brutal Saudi despot by western media and political figures has been nothing short of nauseating; the UK Government, which arouses itself on a daily basis by issuing self-consciously eloquent lectures to the world about democracy, actually ordered flags flown all day at half-mast to honor this repulsive monarch.

Murtaza Hussain piles on:

It’s not often that the unelected leader of a country which publicly flogs dissidents and beheads people for sorcery wins such glowing praise from American officials. Even more perplexing, perhaps, have been the fawning obituaries in the mainstream press which have faithfully echoed this characterization of Abdullah as a benign and well-intentioned man of peace.

Andrew Brown likewise takes the Saudis to task:

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The Geriatric Saudi Royal Family

Jan 23 2015 @ 11:19am

King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia’s ruler, died yesterday. The WSJ has a useful Saudi dynasty family tree (full interactive version here):

Saudi Arabia

Dan Stewart introduces us to the new king:

A longtime governor of the capital, Riyadh, Salman has a reputation as a progressive and practical prince similar in bearing to his late brother. The transition is expected to be a smooth one, with little instability and no long-term policy changes. But the 79-year-old has reportedly been in poor health in recent years, and is perhaps unlikely to rule for as long as his elder sibling.

Josh Marshall marvels at how “every Saudi head of state who has governed this pivotal, brittle and profoundly influential petro-state during the years of its ascendency since 1953 has been the son of a man born only a decade after the US Civil War.” But, he notes, “they are coming to the end of the line”:

[Salman’s] successor will be Crown Prince Muqrin. But he’s it – the last surviving son of ibn Saud at a youngish 69. After Muqrin dies, assuming he outlives Salman, the family will move on to the grandsons of ibn Saud, with a council of princes of some sort who will choose who succeeds who. We will see then just how much the legitimacy of ibn Saud and the longevity of his sons was the key to holding the tightly wound edifice together.

Michael Kelley focuses on the royal now second-in-line:

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Big Brother For Books?

Jan 23 2015 @ 10:19am

Late last year, an article appeared in The Guardian about the info that e-book seller Kobo collected about the habits of their readers:

After collecting data between January and November 2014 from more than 21m users, in 13624974countries including Canada, the US, the UK, France, Italy and the Netherlands, Kobo found that its most completed book of 2014 in the UK was not a Man Booker or Baileys prize winner. Instead, readers were most keen to finish Casey Kelleher’s self-published thriller Rotten to the Core, which doesn’t even feature on the overall bestseller list – although Kelleher has gone on to win a book deal with Amazon’s UK publishing imprint Thomas & Mercer after selling nearly 150,000 copies of her three self-published novels. “Rotten to The Core by Casey Kelleher was the most completed book in the UK, with 83% of people reading it cover to cover,” said Kobo, “whereas the number one bestselling ebook in the UK, One Cold Night by Katia Lief [also a thriller] was only completed by 69% of those who read it.”

Francine Prose frets about the implications of collecting such data:

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What’s In A Black Name? Ctd

Jan 23 2015 @ 9:25am

Readers ramp up the thread:

About the discussion on discriminating against black names, there is also this research, where the researchers sent out emails to professors from many disciplines seeking help/information about their PhD programs. The emails were signed by generic White, Black, Hispanic, Indian, and Chinese male/female names. Then they measured the response rate: how fast the professors responded and how willing they were to help the student. Regardless of the professors’ discipline, sex, race, White males had it the best, and the Asians the worst. This only changed with Chinese professors responding to Chinese students. So, there you go.

A few readers also point to a study entitled “Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal?” The abstract conclusion states, “White names receive 50 percent more callbacks for interviews.” Another redirects to the real world:

I read your post and thought perhaps employers need to institute anonymous application processes. A quick search online revealed that some organizations (and governments) have done just that with positive results.

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To Screen But Not To See

Jan 22 2015 @ 8:25pm

Iraq veteran Brian Turner, author of the memoir My Life as a Foreign Country, has an insightful take on American Sniper and how the film reflects our flawed understanding of the conflict:

This isn’t the defining film of the Iraq War. After nearly a quarter century of war and occupation in Iraq, we still haven’t seen that film. I’m beginning to think we’re incapable as a nation of producing a film of that magnitude, one that would explore the civilian experience of war, one that might begin to approach so vast and profound a repository of knowledge. I’m more and more certain that, if such a film film ever arrives, it’ll be made by Iraqi filmmakers a decade or more from now, and it’ll be little known or viewed, if at all, on our shores. The children of Iraq have far more to teach me about the war I fought in than any film I’ve yet seen — and I hope some of those children have the courage and opportunity to share their lessons onscreen. If this film I can only vaguely imagine is ever made, it certainly won’t gross $100 million on its opening weekend.

The biggest problem I have with American Sniper is also a problem I have with myself.

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What’s Killing The Bees? Ctd

Jan 22 2015 @ 5:19pm

The crisis could be spreading:

Wild bees are at risk of catching diseases from their struggling domesticated brethren, according to a recent study published in The Journal of Applied Ecology.

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How Can We Beef Up Cyber Security?

Jan 22 2015 @ 4:46pm

Adam Segal sees new cyber laws as a real possibility:

Could this finally be the year when the Congress passes cyber legislation? I think yes. Public awareness of the threat is at an all-time high. The Sony attack has created pressure for Congress to act (though it is not clear that any of the legislation would have prevented the North Korean hackers from breaching the company). Moreover, there is bipartisan support for cybersecurity legislation. … [W]hile disparaging most of the President’s agenda, prominent Republicans like Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee have pointed to cybersecurity as an area where “we can get some agreement.” As in the past, privacy concerns will make or break the legislation, but we should expect to see real signs of progress.

Katie Benner examines the cyber proposals in Obama’s SOTU:

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A New Way Forward On Abortion?

Jan 22 2015 @ 3:59pm

Charles C. Camosy’s forthcoming Beyond the Abortion Wars tries to chart it. Calling the book “fascinating and compelling,” Jim A.C. Everett applauds it for cutting through the spin:

In this book, Camosy masterfully traverses the ‘battleground’ between the ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’ camps in order to show that this battleground is in fact no such thing. In fact, as Camosy notes, the majority of the American public actually agree on a middle-ground position on abortion. Despite what one might think from reading certain media outlets and Twitter wars, there is actually a large consensus in the public regarding abortion. This insight is deceptively powerful. By demonstrating the areas of agreement, Camosy is able to help guide us beyond the abortion wars to allow a way forward for a new generation.

Commenting on the House GOP’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would have prohibited abortions after 20 weeks (except in cases of rape or to save the mother’s life), Camosy points to one key factor in crafting legislation that appeals to this middle-ground – “that Roe has, in effect, already been overturned”:

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