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Member since: Tue Apr 5, 2005, 09:55 AM
Number of posts: 6,837

Journal Archives

The Chinese mix of frugality and risk-taking is driving global stock markets wild

A byproduct of this transition into a more mature economy is slower growth. Typically, as a nation progresses from poor to middle-income – and from basic needs and manufacturing toward a service economy that includes more creativity and intellectual assets – growth rates naturally slow down for reasons economists do not fully fathom.

But what’s really behind all this angst, the booms and the busts? And are investors and traders right to be increasingly concerned about a global recession?

A longer-term view suggests the fears are misplaced: the world economy will actually benefit from a successful transition in China, despite a few bumps along the way.

And as for the cause, it helps to examine Chinese culture and history. A heady brew of frugality, wild risk-taking and amateurism has created huge bubbles – ones that were bound to deflate.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/the-chinese-mix-of-frugality-and-risk-taking-is-driving-global-stock-markets-wild/

Attack on unions shows why we need a new social contract governing work

Labor legislation passed in the New Deal (minimum wages and overtime protections, social security, unemployment insurance and the right to unionize) provided the foundation for that social contract, and collective bargaining made it work by negotiating wage increases in tandem with productivity growth.

But at least in part because those policies and practices could not cope well with developments since 1980 – such as globalization and corporate short-termism – the country has experienced three decades of wage stagnation, rising income inequality and the erosion of the social safety net that was designed to ensure basic protections and minimum employment standards.

Restoring such a safety net, which would be further eroded if the Supreme Court rules against the unions, will require broadening the circle of debate to engage the powerful interest groups that don’t necessarily share the view that changes are needed.

Given the hopeless gridlock in Congress on labor policy issues, the best path forward might be to focus on private sector leaders and those on the front lines of innovations that might just help identify the features of a new social compact.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/attack-on-unions-shows-why-we-need-a-new-social-contract-governing-work/

Kid gloves for homegrown extremists are part of a smart strategy

Soon after a bunch of white guys with guns holed up at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in protest against the federal government, wags took to social media to deride them.

"Y'all Qaeda," "YeeHawdists" and "Vanilla ISIS" are some of the clever put-downs circulating on Twitter.

Critics also decried what they perceive as a double standard in the seeming lack of response from law enforcement. If the gun-toting men were black or Muslim, went the typical argument, they would have incurred the full, militarized wrath of law enforcement.

So it might appear, but if you think law enforcement agencies are being deferential out of fear, you couldn't be more wrong. Be very grateful that federal officials know exactly whom they are dealing with: troublemakers just itching for an excuse to claim that the federal government provoked them first.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/kid-gloves-for-homegrown-extremists-are-part-of-a-strategy/

Good explainer: What a hydrogen bomb is – and why North Korea might not really have one

Reports that North Korea has launched a fourth nuclear weapons test – backed by convincing seismic data – have caused widespread alarm. North Korean officials announced in advance that the test would involve “a totally different type of nuclear bomb” from those trialled in previous years. Following the test, North Korean state television lauded the first detonation of a “hydrogen bomb” as a “national epoch-making event”.

Moving to a new form of nuclear weapons technology will likely have significant implications for North Korea, although some experts have expressed scepticism about these claims and there are clear benefits for Pyongyang to exaggerate its nuclear capabilities. While details of the test will remain unclear for some time, the term “hydrogen bomb” is also somewhat ambiguous, leaving further room for speculation about the true nature of North Korea’s nuclear technology.

Fission devices

There are two basic types of nuclear weapons: fission weapons and fusion weapons. First developed during World War II through the US-led Manhattan Project, fission devices (commonly known as atom bombs) create an explosion by splitting the nuclei of heavy atoms. These type of weapons were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, killing hundreds of thousands of people.

The core of a fission weapon is composed of weapons-grade fissile material such as highly enriched uranium or plutonium, which on its own is not explosive. When detonated, this core is compressed using conventional high explosives into a critical mass capable of sustaining a nuclear chain reaction.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/what-a-hydrogen-is-and-why-it-might-not-be-what-n-korea-exploded/

Obama’s executive order on guns is mostly political theater

The executive order has been carefully crafted to survive a court challenge. It does not erase the distinction between business and private firearms sales. Rather, it broadens the definition of a business and provides for stricter enforcement of restrictions on business sales by hiring additional personnel to conduct background checks.

Yet, even the president has admitted that the executive order is “not going to prevent every mass shooting”.

There is evidence that unregulated private sales – over the internet and at gun shows – are a source of guns for individuals who are ineligible to purchase or possess a firearm. However, the weapons used in recent mass shootings in San Bernardino and Umpqua Community College in Oregon were acquired legally at federally licensed gun stores or through private transactions that likely wouldn’t be affected by Obama’s new rules. In other words, the president’s executive order would not have stopped these shooters.

The president’s executive order and its focus on the “gun-show loophole” is largely political theater. Act II will be his upcoming town hall meeting on CNN.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/obamas-executive-order-on-guns-is-mostly-political-theater/

More Mexicans are leaving the US than coming across the border

During the most recent Republican debate, Donald Trump declared “people are pouring across the southern border.”

Trump is right that the United States has been a major immigrant destination since the 1960s, but if he is referring to Mexican flows today, he is wrong.

According to sociologists Frank Bean and Gillian Stevens, Mexican migration to the United States is “the largest sustained flow of migrant workers in the contemporary world,” and Mexico is the single largest contributor of migrants to the United States since 1965.

But here’s what Trump ignores: a recent Pew Report shows that more Mexicans are leaving than coming to the United States – reversing a decades-long trend.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/more-mexicans-are-leaving-the-us-than-coming-across-the-border/

Young Americans: Connected to the world, but not to politics

They are connected to one another like never before. And they are as disconnected from American politics as ever.

They're avid volunteers for community causes, yet most hardly seem to care about government or campaigns. They see a government that's not deserving of their trust, resistant to change and barely caring about their needs. They don't think their vote counts.

They are the young. Old enough to vote, numerous enough to pick a president or a Congress. And they don't seem to care.

"I don't pay taxes. I don't pay for my health insurance," said Emilia Pascarella, a sophomore at Penn State University. "I don't feel I'm being affected."

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/young-americans-connected-to-the-world-disconnected-from-politics/

Studying gun violence is the only way to figure out how to stop it – but we don’t

It seems that not a week passes without a new report of a mass shooting in the United States.

The gun epidemic, long simmering, has in the past few weeks seemed to reach a new phase in the public discourse. The shootings in San Bernardino, California occasioned a nearly unprecedented front-page editorial in The New York Times, the country’s “paper of record,” together with comments, once again, from the president, urging congress to act on regulating firearms and firearm violence.

The top-level data on the problem are at this point familiar. There are about 32,000 gun deaths a year in the United States, approximately the same number as deaths from motor vehicle accidents. The number of firearm deaths has been stable essentially since 2000. There are another 180,000 or so people injured by firearms annually in the country. These numbers far outstrip the consequences of firearms among our peer high-income countries, with stricter gun regulations.

What ails us? Why do we continue to accept these consequences of firearms when other countries do not?

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/studying-gun-violence-is-the-only-way-to-figure-out-how-to-stop-it-but-we-dont/

It’s time to repeal the gun industry’s exceptional legal immunity

Gun violence has been a problem for a long time, but the recent shootings in Paris and San Bernardino have focused new attention on the issue.

Americans no longer just worry about someone shooting up a school or workplace for personal reasons. The threat of terrorism has added an alarming new dimension to the problem.

Coming up with effective and realistic solutions is not easy. Guns pose a tricky dilemma, because they can be used to do good or bad things. They can be used to commit heinous crimes, but they can be used to protect lives as well.

The challenge for lawmakers is to come up with ways to reduce the risk of criminal misuse of guns while preserving and even promoting the likelihood of guns being used in beneficial ways.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/its-time-to-repeal-the-gun-industrys-exceptional-legal-immunity/

Gay marriage bans must recede into history

My latest Detroit News blog post.

As late as 1967, it was illegal in many states for a white person to marry a black person. Depending on the year and where you lived, state anti-miscegenation laws also prohibited marriage between whites and native Americans, Asians, Filipinos or native Hawaiians.

That’s because, until the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia, states could and did reserve the right to define marriage that way. The era of anti-miscegenation laws ended only when the high court ruled that they violated the 14th Amendment of the Constitution — the same amendment cited by U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman when he struck down Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban.

Whether Friedman’s decision will hold up to further scrutiny is hard to say. Implementation of it is on hold, thanks to a stay order issued by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

There are, however, compelling ethical and legal reasons why Friedman’s ruling should be upheld. Chief among them: There are times when “the will of the people” should not be honored by the courts.

More here: http://blogs.detroitnews.com/politics/2014/03/27/end-gay-marriage-bans/
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