Man on the Spot #42: Cuba, the housing market, surveillance

Posted by on June 1, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments


Image: Wikipedia Commons

Image: Wikipedia Commons

Why the Housing Market Is Still Stalling the Economy …

APRIL 24, 2014 Neil Irwin

The number of new houses and apartments that are needed in the United States is determined over the long term largely by demographics — immigrants arriving and young people moving away from home. From 2000 to 2007, the number of households rose 1.24 million a year on average — about what economists would expect, given those demographic trends.

Cuba – Latest World & National News & Headlines …

2014 Cuba film festival to honor Gabriel Garcia Marquez. HAVANA— Cuba is dedicating this year’s Havana Film Festival to the late Nobel Prize-winning novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Garcia Marquez died last week in Mexico City.

DeWayne Wickham columnist for USATODAY

Wickham: Cuckoo Cuba Twitter network, DeWayne Wickham, 6:59 p.m. EDT April 14, 2014

USAID seems clueless to signs of progress under Castro regime, but Obama shouldn’t be.

The irony here is that Cuba has been moving toward more openness in recent years without an assist from USAID. It has liberalized its travel laws, outlawed workplace discrimination against gays and lesbians and slowly, but surely, become more accepting of dissent.

Op-Ed Contributors: Secret Drugs, Agonizing Deaths

The Opinion Pages | Op-Ed Contributors


States have long shielded the identities of executioners, a reasonable policy that should not interfere with judicial review of execution procedures. But in the past year, Georgia, Missouri, Tennessee and other states have expanded the reach of their secrecy laws to include not just the execution drugs used, but even the pharmacies that supply them. Even as states adopted riskier and untested drugs, they argued that the identities of the

Three Expensive Milliseconds

paul_krugman1Paul Krugman | APRIL 13, 2014

Four years ago Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, abruptly canceled America’s biggest and arguably most important infrastructure project, a desperately needed new rail tunnel under the Hudson River. Count me among those who blame his presidential ambitions, and believe that he was trying to curry favor with the government- and public-transit-hating Republican base.

In Florida Tomato Fields, a Penny Buys Progress


IMMOKALEE, Fla. — Not long ago, Angelina Velasquez trudged to a parking lot at 5 each morning so a crew leader’s bus could drop her at the tomato fields by 6. She often waited there, unpaid — while the dew dried — until 10 a.m., when the workers were told to clock in and start picking.

California’s Thirsting Farmland


Tensions have been high over the water allocations to farmers, with signs reading “Congress created this dust bowl” and “Politicians are responsible for the drought” lining Interstate 5 through the heart of the Central Valley.

Gilead Revenue Soars on Hepatitis C Drug

Alcoholic_hepatitisBy ANDREW POLLACK APRIL 22, 2014

But Sovaldi, which has a list price of $1,000 per pill, or $84,000 for a typical course of treatment, has become a flash point in a debate over drug prices. Paying for Sovaldi for all the patients who need it could put financial strain on insurers, state Medicaid programs, the Department of Veterans Affairs and prison systems. UnitedHealth Group, one of the largest insurers, said last week that its first-quarter earnings had declined in part because it had spent more than $100 million on hepatitis C treatments, including Sovaldi, far more than it expected.

Changes to Surveillance Bill Stoke Anger


A revised version of the bill was unveiled on Tuesday, and the House may vote on it this week. Several civil liberties groups that had backed a previous version argued that the changes weakened the limits in a way that leaves the door open for the government to obtain enormous volumes of records. They said they were withdrawing their support.

Ex-Senators on Both Sides of Aisle Join Forces on Health Care …

By CARL HULSE MAY 20, 2014

Mr. Breaux said the leadership of the two parties does not communicate. Mr. Lott said he thinks the Senate needs to return to regular order, put bills on the floor, work through amendments pushed by both parties and find a way to lessen the impact of the often politically charged votes.

Young Undocumented Immigrants Growing Disenchanted With Both …


The views of young immigrants and Latino voters were swayed in that race because of a highly popular program of deportation deferrals the president announced in June 2012 for undocumented immigrants who came to this country as children. In 2012, Latinos supported Mr. Obama over his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, by 71 percent to 27 percent. However, since then, the youths, and Latinos in general, have grown more wary of Democrats, several polls have shown, as immigration legislation has stalled in Washington and the administration has approached a record of two million deportations.

For Schools, Long Road to a Level Playing Field

MAY 20, 2014

According to calculations by the O.E.C.D., socioeconomic background explains 15 percent of the variation in the performance of American students, far more than in high-performing countries like Finland, Japan and Norway. Only one in 20 children coming from the most disadvantaged quarter of the population manages to excel at school and climb in the rankings.

Far-Right Fever for a Europe Tied to Russia


Russia has added to its allure through the financing, mostly with corporate money, of media, research groups and other European organizations that promote Moscow’s take on the world. The United States also supports foreign groups that agree with it, but Russia’s boosters in Europe, unlike its leftist fans during the Cold War, now mostly veer to the far right and sometimes even fascism, the cause Moscow claims to be fighting in Ukraine.


Image: Wikipedia Commons

Image: Wikipedia Commons

Italy: Nearly 500 Migrants Rescued Off Sicily


The Italian Navy rescued nearly 500 migrants, including 100 children, in an all-night operation on Tuesday. The migrants were brought aboard two navy vessels on Monday evening and Tuesday from two fishing boats tethered together off Sicily. Most were from Bangladesh, Egypt and Syria, the navy said. There has been an enormous jump this year in the number of migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, an increasing number of them children. Of the 26,644 migrants who arrived in Italy through April 30 this year, 3,848 were minors, and 2,744 of those were unaccompanied.

Exercise ‘Snacks’ to Control Blood Sugar


On the other occasions, the volunteers broke their workouts into three, bite-size portions, which the researchers helpfully dubbed “exercise snacks,” undertaken shortly before breakfast, lunch and dinner. In one case, these snacks consisted of high-intensity intervals, with the volunteers walking as fast as they could manage for one minute on a treadmill, powering down to a gentle stroll for an additional minute, and repeating that sequence six times, for a total of 12 minutes.

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