April 15, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 6:43 PM


Pelosi: Progressive Dem wing represented by Ocasio-Cortez is 'like five people' (ZACK BUDRYK, 04/14/19, The Hill)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told CBS's "60 Minutes" that the left flank of the House Democratic caucus represented by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is "like five people" in a Sunday interview.

Posted by orrinj at 6:03 PM


Stephen Moore once slammed Trump's 'dangerous' immigration position (Andrew Kaczynski, April 15, 2019, CNN)

President Donald Trump's pick to serve on the Federal Reserve Stephen Moore once criticized Trump's positions on immigration, describing them as "extreme nativist" and calling them "crazy" and "dangerous."

Moore made the comments in an August 2015 radio interview with Larry Kudlow, who now serves as the President's top economic adviser. In that interview, Kudlow compared Trump's immigration plans to the worst parts of World War II -- in an apparent reference to the Holocaust -- and said Trump's only real supporters came from "the nativist fringe."

Posted by orrinj at 4:18 PM


Israeli Researchers Print 3D Heart Using Patient's Own Cells (Michael Arnold, April 15, 2019, Bloomberg)

Israeli researchers have printed a 3D heart using a patient's own cells, something they say could be used to patch diseased hearts -- and possibly, full transplants.

To get some sense of the scale of deflation, consider what a 3-D printed heart transplant would have cost in 1950.

Posted by Glenn Dryfoos at 2:19 PM


Repost from 2017:

Jackie Robinson Day


Major League Baseball's Opening Day now falls about 2 weeks earlier than it did in the days of the 154-game schedule and when a "western swing" meant a trip to St. Louis and Chicago. For me it means that baseball now has 2 Opening Days - one on the first day of the regular season and a second on April 15, the anniversary of Jackie Robinson's 1947 debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Jackie Robinson Day is wonderfully commemorated each year throughout MLB by having every player and umpire wear Jackie's number 42. What's the tie-in with this column? Robinson's skill and daring as a ballplayer are celebrated in Buddy Johnson's 1949 novelty "Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?" Here are two versions, the first by Count Basie and his Orchestra, with the vocal by the great blues shouter, Jimmy Rushing. The second features Natalie Cole with a big band led by John Clayton.

Posted by orrinj at 4:00 AM


Structural Realism Has No Clothes (PAUL D. MILLER, 4/15/19, Law & Liberty)

[M]ost of this book is not a work of international relations scholarship; it is a straightforward engagement with classical issues of political theory, focusing on the relationship between liberalism, realism, and nationalism. Mearsheimer here lays his cards on the table with admirable clarity. He is a realist and a nationalist. He enjoys liberalism at home but thinks it is ruinous when used as a guide to foreign policy. The short version is that "Nationalism is more in sync with human nature than liberalism" because nationalism "satisfies individuals' emotional need to be part of a large group with a rich tradition and a bright future."

That nations exist and command primary allegiance over human lives is important for Mearsheimer's overall argument. He is a realist because he believes we cannot arrive at a common understanding of the good life across cultural and national lines; we therefore band together in tribes or nations that serve as survival vehicles; and these national units compete with one another for power, wealth, and survival in an anarchic world. The nation "fundamentally shapes [people's] identities and behavior," he argues, elsewhere going so far as to claim that nations "help shape their essences and command their loyalties," and that "nationalism is much like a religion."

Despite the importance of the concept of the "nation," Mearsheimer spends strikingly little time interrogating it. Mearsheimer seems to think that the existence of mutually distinct and internally coherent nations is too obvious to need defense or empirical demonstration. "The human population is divided into many different nations composed of people with a strong sense of group loyalty," he says, and now that nations have acquired states, "The world is now entirely populated with sovereign nation-states."

That is an extraordinary claim because of how much evidence there is against it. Excluding micro-sovereignties, there are almost no nation-states in the world today. Virtually every state in the world today is a pluralistic, multiethnic, multilingual polity in which questions of who or what defines membership generate intense debates. Perhaps only Japan and a few smaller European countries have the strong sense of oneness and a cultural consensus that Mearsheimer says defines nations (and Europe is in the midst of a fractious debate about immigration and national identity). Nationalism--the correspondence between nations and states--has always been more aspiration than reality, in part because of the ambiguity surrounding what exactly a "nation" is.

Nationalism is better understood as internal imperialism, the rule by a majority group over minority groups under the ruling group's language, culture, or religion. As a nation's definition gains specificity--as it settles on a particular language, culture, or religion--it necessarily excludes those who do not share the nation's identity. That is why everywhere a full-bodied nationalism has actually been tried, it has rarely resulted in states that are at peace with themselves and their neighbors. Historically, nationalism has an unsettling tendency to attract racist, xenophobic, and sectarian fellow-travelers. The age of nationalism is the age of civil wars, insurgencies, terrorism, and "national" liberation movements, to say nothing of inter-national competition and war.

Posted by orrinj at 12:04 AM


U.S. Farmers Fear China Deal Will Leave Them Worse Off Than Before Trade War (Mike Dorning, April 15, 2019, Bloomberg)

Some U.S. farm groups fear that President Donald Trump's terms for easing his trade war with China risk leaving large swaths of American agriculture worse off than before the conflict began.

Many producers are alarmed by signs that the administration would accept Chinese purchase target pledges for commodities like soybeans and pork without a promise to lift retaliatory tariffs, said industry representatives, some of whom spoke only on condition of anonymity to avoid consequences for publicly criticizing the administration.

"This is of great concern to producers out here facing another year of tariffs," said Mark Powers, president of the Northwest Horticultural Council, which represents cherry, pear and apple growers in the Pacific Northwest. "We're disappointed. Clearly the priority lies elsewhere."

Farmers are unnerved by Trump's enthusiasm for tariffs and his tendency to pick industry winners and losers...

...now they're getting it...with the bark on.

Posted by orrinj at 12:02 AM


Trump striking out on coal and nuclear energy (Amy Harder, 4/15/19, Axios)

President Trump is coming up empty handed on his promises to bolster America's ailing coal and nuclear power industries. [...]

Nuclear power and coal don't share many attributes in common other than they're both economically struggling for similar reasons: competition from cheap natural gas and, to a lesser extent, renewables.

On top of inaction, trade policies under consideration could make matters even worse for the nuclear industry -- like new restrictions on uranium they use for fuel.

Posted by orrinj at 12:01 AM


Sink the Jones Act: It's not helping anyone. (DAN GRANFIELD  APRIL 15, 2019, The Bulwark)

Banning foreign ships from delivering supplies from the American mainland to other American territories obstructs our disaster relief operations because an old and depleted fleet of Jones Act-eligible ships has to perform the entire lift. This causes delays and price increases during natural disaster recovery.During disasters, Congress and the president frequently waive the Jones Act in order to deliver aid. (During Hurricane Maria, President Trump waived the law to speed up support for Puerto Rico.) But these short-term waivers expire long before the relief and rebuilding processes are complete.

And it's not just disaster relief that's hampered by the Jones Act. It costs 3 to 5 times more to ship oil from the Gulf Coast to New England than it does to ship the same oil to Europe. Because of the Jones Act. This year the state of Massachusettsasserted that "no Jones-Act qualified carriers" were available to ship gas to the Northeast. Governors from all six New England states--three Republicans and three Democrats--came together torequest a Jones Act waiver.

Natural gas and oil shortages in the Northeast create price increases. And to alleviate these, New England states sometimes seek oil and gas from other sources. They often import oil from foreign countries like Trinidad and Tobago and even sometimes Russia.

And it's not like the Jones Act is still protecting America's shipbuilding industry. Since World War II, we've lost about two-thirds of our eligible shipyards and almost 95 percent of qualified ships. Jones Act-compliant ships are eight times more expensive than their foreign competitors. When the numbers are that big, no government is going to be able to make up the difference. In the end, the market simply moves elsewhere.

In March, Mike Lee introduced the"Open America's Water Act of 2019," which would repeal the Jones Act. It would allow all qualified vessels, both foreign and domestic, to trade between U.S. ports. so long as they cooperate with the security measures already in place.

There's no reason this shouldn't be a bipartisan issue. 

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Exclusive: U.S. waters down demand China ax subsidies in push for trade deal - sources (Alexandra Alper, Chris Prentice, Michael Martina, 4/15/19, Reuters) 

U.S. negotiators have tempered demands that China curb industrial subsidies as a condition for a trade deal after strong resistance from Beijing, according to two sources briefed on discussions, marking a retreat on a core U.S. objective for the trade talks.