Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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January 2019

What Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez knows about tax policy

Paul Krugman writes: I have no idea how well Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will perform as a member of Congress. But her election is already serving a valuable purpose. You see, the mere thought of having a young, articulate, telegenic nonwhite woman serve is driving many on the right mad — and in their madness they’re inadvertently revealing their true selves. Some of the revelations are cultural: The hysteria over a video

The struggle for climate justice and gender justice must go hand in hand

Winnie Byanyima writes: Climate change affects women in a profoundly different way than men. Culture and tradition in many places puts the role of caring for families on women. It is women, for example, who are responsible for collecting firewood, fetching water, and growing food to feed hungry mouths. So as the impacts of climate change take grip, it is women who must be on the front lines of adapting

Justice Dept. admits error but won’t correct report falsely linking terrorism to immigration

The Washington Post reports: The Justice Department has acknowledged errors and deficiencies in a controversial report issued a year ago that implied a link between terrorism in the United States and immigration, but — for the second and final time — officials have declined to retract or correct the document. Released by the departments of Justice and Homeland Security, the report stated that 402 of 549 individuals — nearly 3

Russia is promoting Islamic moderation in unison with Arab powers

Hassan Hassan writes: Russia’s Islamic outreach became more visible, at least in the Middle East, in 2016, precisely when anti-Muslim sentiments in Western countries appeared on the rise, and Russian trolls and bots were spewing anti-Muslim rhetoric on American political forums. “Russia is generally investing in the idea that it is not America, it is not against Islam, it is offering a moderate alternative, and their tool in this is

1.32 million Jews were killed in just three months during the Holocaust

Live Science reports: Operation Reinhard, known as the single largest murder campaign during the Holocaust, was worse than historians imagined. In a mere three months, at least 1.32 million Jewish people died — close to one-quarter of all the Jewish victims who perished during World War II, a new study finds. The finding is based on an old data set that tallied the number of Jews who were forced from

Genetic data on half a million Brits reveal ongoing evolution and Neanderthal legacy

Ann Gibbons writes: Neanderthals are still among us, Janet Kelso realized 8 years ago. She had helped make the momentous discovery that Neanderthals repeatedly mated with the ancestors of modern humans—a finding that implies people outside of Africa still carry Neanderthal DNA today. Ever since then, Kelso has wondered exactly what modern humans got from those prehistoric liaisons—beyond babies. How do traces of the Neanderthal within shape the appearance, health,

Music: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan — ‘The Game’

 

The importance of knowing you might be wrong

Brian Resnick writes: Julia Rohrer wants to create a radical new culture for social scientists. A personality psychologist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Rohrer is trying to get her peers to publicly, willingly admit it when they are wrong. To do this, she, along with some colleagues, started up something called the Loss of Confidence Project. It’s designed to be an academic safe space for researchers to

Despite what Trump says, most Americans want climate action — even if China doesn’t do its part

Jonathon P. Schuldt and Y. Connie Yuan write: Eighty-nine percent of Democrats — in which we include those who identify as independents but who say they lean toward the Democratic Party ­— said they support climate action, no matter what China does. By contrast, only 53 percent of Republicans (including leaners) say the same. But still, that means a majority of Republicans we surveyed said they want climate action, no

China’s historic moon landing boosts rivalry with U.S.

 

A ‘reign of fear’ takes hold in Nicaragua with new crackdown

The Washington Post reports: Reporters for an online news site are writing their stories in secret locations. Editors of the country’s only 24-hour news network have been jailed. And employees of a major human rights organization have escaped into the mountains. Except one. “I am 80 years old, and I am in no condition to go up into the mountains, not even to save my life,” said Vilma Núñez, a

An unbridgeable gap has opened between American Jews and Israeli Jews

Jonathan Weisman writes: The events of the past year brought American and Israeli Jews ever closer to a breaking point. President Trump, beloved in Israel and decidedly unloved by a majority of American Jews, moved the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May, with the fiery evangelical pastors John Hagee and Robert Jeffress consecrating the ceremony. In October, after the murder of 11 Jews at the Tree

Arab states move to reconcile with Syria

Deutsche Welle reports: Nearly eight years into a devastating war and with victory in sight, Syrian President Bashar Assad looks set to be freed from his isolation in the Arab world in 2019. Syria was booted out of the Arab League seven years ago as Arab states recalled their ambassadors, and Gulf Arab states shuttered their embassies to isolate the Assad regime amid a crackdown on protesters and descent into

Music: Fariha Pervez & Muazzam Ali Khan — ‘Jogi’

 

China’s gulag for Muslims

Mustafa Akyol writes: One of the darkest episodes of the 20th century was the gulag — the Soviet system of forced labor camps where dissidents were imprisoned in terrible conditions, often to perish. The camps were established by Lenin, expanded by Stalin and finally exposed to the world by the great Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, with his 1973 masterpiece, “The Gulag Archipelago.” “Thin strands of human lives stretch from island

Why China’s electric-car industry is leaving Detroit, Japan, and Germany in the dust

Jordyn Dahl writes: After the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and ’70s crippled China’s economy, the country began to open its markets to the outside world. The aim was to bring in technological know-how from abroad that domestic firms could then assimilate. By the early ’80s, foreign automakers were allowed in on the condition that they form a joint venture with a Chinese partner. These Chinese firms, by working with