A wealthy Texas teenager who killed four pedestrians in a DUI is being let off with only probation because he was diagnosed with a rare new disease: “affluenza”. Apparently, some psychiatrists are arguing, wealthy people have had their moral compasses de-calibrated by privilege. We’re not in a position to judge the case on its legal merits, but we’re pretty certain there’s a cure for this horrible disease: jail.
U.S. fatigue and distraction in the Middle East has made ample room for Russia to step in as the new patron, power-broker and custodian of the region. Washington should think twice about welcoming this development.
In Donetsk, an industrial city in eastern Ukraine, there are no protestors in the streets. There are no roadblocks, no barricades, no riot police. People there have a message for the protestors in Kiev, as Andrew Roth writes in the New York Times: Go back to work.
America averaged 8.075 million barrels a day in the first week of December, our highest total since 1988. It’s the latest in a string of milestones for the US, which continues to reap the benefits of shale. Fracking has changed the American energy landscape virtually overnight; the idea that the US might contemplate opening up exports of oil and gas would have been laughable ten or even just five years ago, but that’s where we are today.
Far reaching reforms like those passed last night in Mexico make it likely that our neighbor will see a huge job-creating bonanza in oil and gas production. The United States stands to benefit in several ways.
Representatives from China and Dominica put pen to paper on a multi-million dollar investment deal last month in what observers are calling a virtual takeover of the Caribbean island. Call it the Caribbean arm of China’s “cabbage” strategy.
Stanley Fischer is set to become Vice-Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Anti-Semites are sure to be all over this one.
We may soon be looking to our oceans for our freshwater. Or, more accurately, we’ll be looking underneath our oceans, where scientists have found vast reserves of fresh and near-fresh water. A new study estimates that there are roughly 120,000 cubic miles—more than 100 times the amount of freshwater we’ve drilled from the ground since 1900—of low-salinity water trapped underneath seabeds. Chicken Littles—wrong again.
Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovich announced that he does, in fact, plan on signing an agreement with the EU despite rejecting it last week. However, he wants something in return—about €20 billion. He appears to be holding an auction, but will power slip from his hands before all the bids are in?
Syria is serving as a petri dish for European jihad, EU officials have found. There are now entire training camps in Syria composed of European fighters, sending EU interior ministers into a panic over the prospect of their return. The costs of inaction in Syria continue to mount.
Across the Middle East, Kurdish politics are growing more assertive and self-confident. The status quo is increasingly untenable, but the United States appears to have no game plan.
Obama and Code.org have taken some flak for suggesting that every child needs to learn to code. But while it’s true that not every child is a programmer-in-training, Americans could still deal with a good deal more computer literacy than they have now. Schools need to start thinking seriously about how to integrate computer eduction into their curricula. It’s becoming a more important skill than ever before.
A new global survey of attitudes about the future of health care shows a big pent-up demand for a vastly different type of system than we currently have: one that is more DIY, less hospital and doctor-centric, more personalized, and characterized by smarter use of technology and better service delivery. The closer we can come to realizing that vision, the cheaper, more efficient, and more open to reform our health care system will be.
The top Western-supported rebel commander in Syria has been run out of town by Islamist fighters in the latest setback to US policy in the Syrian civil war. General Salam Idris, the commander of the Free Syrian Army, was forced to flee to Turkey after fighters belonging to the Islamic Front overran his offices and took control of warehouses that stored gear sent by the US to help Idris and his men fight the Assad regime.
Canada last week expanded its claims in the Arctic, enticed by the region’s oil and gas riches. Russia isn’t taking that laying down—Putin ordered his military to beef up bases in the region, and sharpen its focus on Arctic goings-on.
Where does public opinion stand on the Affordable Care Act now that the front-end of the website is functioning better? It depends on which poll you use. Five new polls have come out in the past few days, and they paint different pictures of how the law is being received. But one lesson can safely be drawn from them taken as a whole: Americans are skeptical of parts of Obamacare but determined not to return to the pre-ACA situation.
The Mexican Senate passed an historic energy reform bill late last night. The bill now heads to the lower house, where it is expected to pass. The reforms could kick-start the country’s stagnating oil and gas production and help it realize its goal of becoming the world’s “new Middle East.”
MOOC critics have been making hay over some studies and interviews suggesting that the movement may be losing steam. But despite some setbacks, “blended” MOOCs that mix online courses with in-class instruction are still on course to transform higher-ed.
The future of the Trans Pacific Partnership hangs by a thread. Partnership members can’t settle severe disagreements on sensitive issues like rules on intellectual property, state-owned enterprises, agriculture, and much else. The TPP, for better or worse, has become the symbol of American economic engagement in the Pacific region. If the TPP fails it would be seen as a significant setback for Washington’s relationship with Asia at a critical time.
Argentinians’ purchasing power has been destroyed by the inflationary problem the government claims it doesn’t have, leading to a vicious cycle of poverty and protests. Despite some of the most abundant natural resources on the planet, Argentina is failing fast.