Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Navy Rear Admiral: DoD preparing for climate change

Republicans can call global warming science "political" all they want, but the U.S. Military cannot afford to be so blithe about the real effects of real climate change. Hence they are getting prepared.  

Gee, if only the party that says it most adores our nation's military would take note!

Voter-ID laws are a good ole fashioned poll tax

Rank-and-filed Republicans can never be convinced that there has never been an incidence of group voter fraud, much less an incidence that swayed an election. (Republican leaders know it's a sham to give them an excuse to suppress voting.)

So my conservative friends, just read this parallel in Hong Kong that Beinart found. It blew me away:

If Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters succeed in booting C.Y. Leung from power, the city’s unelected chief executive should consider coming to the United States. He might fit in well in the Republican Party.

In an interview Monday with The New York Times and other foreign newspapers, Leung explained that Beijing cannot permit the direct election of Hong Kong’s leaders because doing so would empower “the people in Hong Kong who earn less than $1,800 a month.” Leung instead defended the current plan to have a committee of roughly 1,200 eminent citizens vet potential contenders because doing so, in the Times’ words, “would insulate candidates from popular pressure to create a welfare state, and would allow the city government to follow more business-friendly policies.”

And for those who say getting a new photo-ID just to vote (not for any other use by the voter) isn't a poll tax, consider this:

Acquiring that free ID requires showing another form of identification—and those cost money. In the states with voter-ID laws, notes a report by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School, “Birth certificates can cost between $8 and $25. Marriage licenses, required for married women whose birth certificates include a maiden name, can cost between $8 and $20. By comparison, the notorious poll tax—outlawed during the civil rights era—cost $10.64 in current dollars.”

It's not like poll taxes are OK if they are "affordable" by somebody else's standards. No. Poll taxes are forbidden, period. 

By Peter Beinart
October 22, 2014 | The Atlantic

Monday, October 20, 2014

Putin using Ukraine to build up dictatorship at home (Politico)

This analysis is chilling, sobering reading. The special insights of Poland, thanks to its unique interactions with the Kremlin, are not something you read about often in the Western press. Definitely check this one out!

UPDATE (10.22.2014): Now the speaker of the Polish Parliament Radek Sikorski is backing off his statements to Politico and saying his recollection of Putin's words to Polish PM Donald Tusk about partitioning Ukraine were wrong, and that the meeting that he falsely recalled in Moscow didn't even take place. 

Methinks Sikorski is now remorseful for his candor and wants to take back the truth.

By Ben Judah
October 19, 2014 | Politico

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Why Germany trains it workers better (Atlantic)

I've been saying this and talking about Germany's apprenticeships for years.

However, Jacoby cautions us that we can't hope to simply transplant Germany's system in the U.S. Why?

First, because we don't have the same system of strict academic tracking that Germany does from a young age. (Although there are second and third chances in Germany to get more or different education).

Second, because we don't have a state-funded system of vocational and higher education that Germany does. It all costs money, folks.

And third, because U.S. corporations don't have the same long-term view of developing "talent" (which, in the U.S., is supposed to come from nowhere). In Germany they know it costs time and money and yet they see the ultimate competitive value in it. Not so here.

Read on!

By Tamar Jacoby
October 16, 2014 | The Atlantic

Reuters: The rise & legacy of Vladimir Putin (PANEL VIDEO)

This is worth watching in full, with Gary Gasparov, Masha Gessen (somebody I've re-posted several times), David Remnick, and some Wall Street tool Roger Altman.

NEWSMAKER: The Rise & Legacy of Vladimir Putin
October 14, 2014 | Reuters