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[OP-ED]: The curse of middle-aged capitalism -- for Trump and all of us

 08/21/2017 - 13:57
In 1995, the largest five firms by market “capitalization” (the value of a company’s shares) were old-line businesses: Exxon, AT&T, Coca Cola, General Electric and Merck. By 2015, only Exxon (now Exxon Mobil) remained.

 A persisting puzzle about the U.S. economy is how it can seem both strong and weak. On the one hand, it remains a citadel of innovation, producing new companies like Uber. On the other, the economy is expanding at a snail’s pace of 2 percent annually since 2010. How could both be true? Why isn’t innovation translating into faster growth? The answer -- or part of the answer -- is that American businesses are running on two separate tracks. Call them the “youthful” and “middle-aged” tracks.

[OP-ED]: The Art of the Bluff

 08/15/2017 - 15:13
Trump has made clear that the United States would respond to North Korean nuclear threats with a massive military strike, possibly involving nuclear weapons. EFE

How did we get here? Why does it appear that we’re on the brink of a war in Asia, one that could involve nuclear weapons? North Korea has had nuclear-weapons capacity for at least 10 years now. Have its recent advances been so dramatic and significant to force the United States to wage a preventive war? No. The crisis we now find ourselves in has been exaggerated and mishandled by the Trump administration to a degree that is deeply worrying and dangerous.

[OP-ED]: El gran debate de Trump sobre el crecimiento económico

 08/15/2017 - 10:01
No hay suficiente dinero para satisfacer todas nuestras demandas, incluso a tasas más altas de crecimiento económico. Habrá conflictos entre gastos privados y gubernamentales; entre gastos nacionales y locales; entre gastos de salud y gastos de no-salud; y entre gastos dedicados a los ancianos versus los jóvenes. El presente es polémico; el futuro quizás sea peor.

La discusión entre el gobierno de Trump y sus críticos sobre una tasa de crecimiento económico sostenible suscita profundas preguntas sobre el futuro de Estados Unidos. ¿Ingresamos en un período prolongado de crecimiento económico lento? Si es así, ¿cómo altera eso la sociedad y la política? ¿O acaso las medidas “correctas” elevarán el crecimiento económico a niveles del pasado?

[OP-ED]: Trump’s great growth debate

 08/09/2017 - 08:58
There isn’t enough money to satisfy all our demands, even at higher rates of economic growth. There will be conflicts between private and governmental spending; between national and local spending; between health spending and non-health spending; and between spending on the old versus the young. The present is contentious; the future may be worse.

The argument between the Trump administration and its critics over a sustainable rate of economic growth raises profound questions about America’s future. Have we entered a prolonged period of slow growth? If so, how does that alter society and politics? Or will the “right” policies raise growth to past levels? 

If you haven’t paid attention, here’s a brief overview of the debate.

[OP-ED]: Can we die in peace?

 07/28/2017 - 08:38
Just whether the persistence of high-cost care reflects good medicine, a deep human craving to cling to life, or both is unclear. But the rhetoric about “end-of-life” care has changed more than the reality. To the question -- Can we die in peace and with dignity? -- the answer is “not yet.”

For those of us who had hoped that American attitudes toward death were shifting in ways that would promote a wider reconstruction of the health care system, there’s discouraging news from Health Affairs, the pre-eminent journal of health policy. It devotes its latest issue to “end-of-life” care and finds that -- at least so far -- the power to make health care more compassionate and cost-effective is limited.

[OP-ED]: Donald Trump’s lost opportunity

 07/26/2017 - 09:12
Donald Trump could have quickly begun reshaping American politics. He heard voices that others didn’t, understood what those people wanted to hear and articulated much of it. But when it came time to deliver, it turned out that he had no serious ideas, policies, nor even the desire to search for them. EFE

There are many ways to evaluate the Trump presidency at the six-month mark. What I am struck by is the path not taken, the lost opportunity. Donald Trump had many flaws, but during the campaign, he tapped into a real set of problems facing America and a deep frustration with the existing political system. Additionally, he embraced and expressed -- somewhat inconsistently -- a populism that went beyond the traditional left-right divide. What would things look like at this point if President Trump had governed in the manner of a pragmatic, jobs-oriented reformer who was relentlessly focused on the “forgotten” Americans of whom he often speaks?

US approves Russia sanctions, Moscow says they are a blow to normalizing ties

 07/26/2017 - 06:13
Sergei Ryabkov at a press conference in Damascus, Syria on June 28, 2014. EPA/YOUSSEF BADAWI

Russia's deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov has responded to news that a package of further punitive measures for Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 US elections and its 2014 annexation of the Crimea was voted through the House of Representatives.

Plain Text Author: 
Andrea Rodés / Agencies

[OP-ED]: Take this taco and make it your own

 06/30/2017 - 11:32
Gustavo Arellano, author of “Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America.” said: “[It is laughable] that white people aren’t supposed to -- pick your word -- rip off or appropriate or get ‘inspired’ by Mexican food, that comida mexicana is a sacrosanct tradition only Mexicans and the white girls we marry can participate in.

Picture this: Taco fixins in a tortilla cone. A flour tortilla cone, no less. 

It comes to you courtesy of a new Food Network explainer video titled “Taco Cones are the New Tacos” in which a young Asian-American woman demonstrates how to “eat two tacos at the same time” by baking tortillas into an ice cream cone shape, filling them with ground beef and adding toppings.

Global Cyberattack: What We Need to Worry About?

 06/28/2017 - 06:00
An engineer checks live cyber threat maps and statistics at his office in Istanbul, Turkey, 27 June 2017. EPA/ERDEM SAHIN

Most damaging acts of cyber aggression have not been 'acts of war' according to the rigid standards of international law. Thus governments and international organisations struggle to prescribe an effective response to cyber actions -- even as they continue to cause grave economic, social, and political harm, Oxford expert says.  

Author: 

In Search of the Maya World: From Central America to Philadelphia

 06/27/2017 - 14:26
Gallery of archaeological pieces of Mayan culture exhibited at the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology of the University of Pennsylvania. Photo: Supplied UPEnn

One of the most intriguing mysteries of Latin American culture is what happened to the Maya civilization. How come after over 3,000 years of history, from about 2, 500 BC to 950 AD, most of the glorious Maya centers in Mesoamerica were abandoned? Before the arrival of the Europeans in the 1500’s magnificent cities like Tikal in Guatemala and Copán in Honduras had all but disappeared; left uninhabited, they were covered by thick jungle growth, hidden throughout the mountains and the lowlands. 

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[OP-ED]: Trump stumbles into another decade of war in the Middle East

 06/27/2017 - 09:39
During the campaign, Trump seemed to be genuinely reflective about America’s role in the Middle East. “This is not usually me talking, OK, ‘cause I’m very proactive,” he once said on the subject. EFE

While we have been focused on the results of special elections, the ups and downs of the Russia investigation, and President Trump’s latest tweets, under the radar, a broad and consequential shift in American foreign policy appears to be underway. Put simply, the United States is stumbling its way into another decade of war in the greater Middle East. And this next decade of conflict might prove to be even more destabilizing than the last one.

[OP-ED]: Cleaning The ‘Heroin Hell’ Will Not Create Heaven In Surrounding Communities

 06/26/2017 - 10:41
'Bedroom' for a man in Philadelphia's West Kensington community where festering structural impoverishment sparks social ills like rampant drug sales. LBW Photo

The recent announcement that City Hall and Conrail cut a deal to cleanup the notorious heroin corridor along a section of railroad track running through Philadelphia’s Fairhill and West Kensington communities is welcomed removal of a dangerous blight that’s festered for nearly two decades.