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Hong Kong Triads May Gain From Occupy Central

Hong Kong Triads May Gain From Occupy Central

Hong Kong triads may gain power as pro-democracy protests continue, one risk expert says. WSJ's Ramy Inocencio talks to Steve Vickers, CEO of risk consultancy SVA.

 
Rand Paul claims Ebola is 'incredibly contagious' and.....

Paul walks through a crowd of young Republicans at the state GOP headquarters. 

Rand Paul claims Ebola is 'incredibly contagious' and .....

White House is being dishonest about how easily it can spread.

By Francesca Chambers and Associated Press

Sen. Rand Paul told a group of college students on Wednesday that Ebola is 'incredibly contagious' and can spread from a person who has the disease to someone standing three feet away and said the White House should be honest about that.

His comments directly conflict with statements from world health authorities who have dealt with Ebola outbreaks since 1976.

Paul, a doctor and a presumed GOP presidential contender, made his comments during a stop at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. In his remarks, he suggested Ebola could spread at a cocktail party attended by someone who is symptomatic, according to CNN video footage.

The Kentucky senator told a conservative radio show host that 'we should not underestimate the transmissibility' of the virus and warned that society may not be 'making sound, rational, scientific decisions' about Ebola 'because of political correctness.' 

'It's a big mistake to downplay and act as if "oh, this is not a big deal, we can control all this." This could get beyond our control,' Paul, who has an MD in optometry from Duke University, told Laura Ingraham.

'My suspicion is that it's a lot more transmissible than that if people who are taking every precaution are getting it.'

 
Matt Lauer's Wife filed Divorce papers in 2006

Not a pretty picture: In divorce paprs filed in 2006, Matt Lauer's wife Annette (above) said her husband was 'extremely controlling'

Matt Lauer accused of 'inhuman treatment and physically endangering the well-being of his wife.

In divorce papers filed by Annette Lauer in 2006, Matt Lauer is described as 'extremely controlling' and accused of 'cruel and inhuman treatment'

By Chris Spargo for MailOnline

Divorce papers filed by the wife of Matt Lauer nearly a decade ago which came out this week accuse the popular morning show host of some shocking behavior. Annette Lauer filed the papers in 2006 stating that Matt valued his work over his family and was 'extremely controlling.' Furthermore, Annette claimed at the time she suffered 'cruel and inhuman' treatment at the hands of her husband, who also demonstrated 'extreme anger and hostility towards her.'

Matt and Annette Lauer

Matt filed his own legal action days later, saying any 'cruel and inhuman treatment' he may have exhibited was 'provoked' by his wife. 

A source close to the couple said of the papers, 'These divorce papers were filed more than eight years ago and revoked three weeks later. In New York at that time, irreconcilable differences could not be considered grounds for divorce. A spouse had to prove cruel and in-humane or unsafe treatment, which meant that lawyers had to use those exact terms to establish grounds.' 

That same source added, 'Matt and Annette just happily celebrated their 16-year wedding anniversary over dinner with their three children.' 

 
How Old People Will Decide Your Future

How Old People Will Decide Your Future

Older voters are the electorate’s fast growing demographic – and a major reason Republicans can win big in 2016.

The political impact of shifting demographics is a hot topic. Judging from the coverage, it would be easy to assume that more liberal younger voters or rising number of Hispanics were the only significant demographic trend.

But that’s neglecting the fastest growing segment of the electorate: older voters.

As an Atlantic piece put it, “America is about to get really old.” In the 2012 election, those 65 years or older were 17 percent of the total vote. But by 2030 those numbers will nearly double, and over 30 percent of the electorate will be over 65. To put this in perspective, the Hispanic vote will probably be only about 15 percent of the electorate by 2030.

Yet the potential impact of older voters seems lost in the current political discussion. In contrast to previous cycles where the debate has been dominated by issues of particular concern to seniors - topics like Medicare, prescription drug prices, and social security – the battle over older voters has been muted by louder arguments, like gender issues, beheadings and disease. For every stock footage shot of a senior on cable news there are dozens of concerned women, terrorists and Ebola horrors.

Yet everyone seems to agree that the higher turnout of senior voters in an off year election is one of the key advantages favoring Republicans, and has been a growing GOP advantage in recent presidential elections. Older voters comprised the greatest increase in Republican voter share between the 2008 and 2012 election. McCain won 65-plus Americans by 8 points, and Romney increased his share to 12 points. If similar rates of increase continued, it would quickly become a dominant factor in elections.

The trend of decreased interest among younger voters and increased among older appears to be accelerating this year. A Pew Research Center poll released Monday found that “25 percent of adults 65 and older were closely following the midterm elections, compared with 5 percent of adults ages 18-29.” 
 
U.S. Air Force personnel put up a 25-bed hospital in Liberia.

In Liberia, U.S. Soldiers Race Ebola

Liberia was barely able to respond to the needs of its people before the outbreak of Ebola. Subsequently, the U.S. and other countries are essentially creating a health system from scratch on extreme deadlines.

American and Liberian soldiers hammer, saw and sweat in the afternoon sun here in a frenetic campaign to build the county’s first Ebola-treatment unit. Soon, the soldiers will have floodlights to work round-the-clock shifts.

The unfolding epidemic has killed more than 4,400 people, mostly in West Africa. Everything in Liberia was needed weeks ago, and the Ebola-treatment centers are no exception. A month ago, President Barack Obama vowed to build 17 units. Soldiers have yet to complete one.

....................................

Liberia’s health infrastructure was barely able to respond to the needs of its people before the outbreak. Ebola has since steamrolled it. As a result, the U.S. and other countries are essentially creating a health system from scratch on extreme deadlines.

The challenges are huge: Power outages and a lack of basic medical supplies are among them. Decrepit roads and heavy rains plague construction sites. Doctors and nurses were already in short supply because of years of low pay.

How fast the U.S. and international effort in West Africa comes together could determine whether the virus is largely contained in West Africa—or spreads more aggressively abroad. Cases have surfaced in the U.S., Spain and Germany. The World Health Organization said this week that there could be as many as 10,000 new cases a week in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone by the end of 2014. That followed its criticism that the international community was too slow to respond.

Now the U.S. and others fighting Ebola are bringing to West Africa the sophisticated facilities these countries have lacked.

Before the outbreak, Liberia’s only lab capable of testing blood for highly infectious diseases was the Liberian Institute on Biomedical Research—a compound of World War II-era buildings and rusted cages that used to house chimpanzee test subjects. The bat-infested facility could only process 40 blood specimens a day and the electricity only worked intermittently.

 
Corporate Egg Freezing

What if electively freezing one’s eggs is not a means of empowerment but a surrender to corporate control?

Corporate Egg Freezing

By Rebecca Mead

Apple and Facebook’s offer might be the kind of employee benefit whose principal beneficiary is the company.

Deferring childbearing from one’s twenties or early thirties until one’s later thirties or forties certainly has its appeal for the woman with ambitions beyond motherhood. Lots of women have chanced it, even before egg freezing came along and supplied a possible, if not entirely reliable, form of counter-infertility insurance. Still, even with this tantalizing suggestion of reproductive liberty, it’s hard to figure out exactly how long to postpone. A woman might skip having children in her twenties or thirties in order to focus on her career, only to discover by her forties that its demands—not to mention the encroachment of middle age—make motherhood even less manageable than it appeared at twenty-five or thirty.

And it seems overly optimistic to hope that, with nature’s deadlines subverted, a woman’s decision about whether or when to bear children might become an entirely autonomous choice—hers alone to make, independent of cultural and professional pressures as well as biological ones. Might Apple and Facebook’s offers of egg freezing be, in fact, the kind of employee benefit whose principal beneficiary is the company? What if, rather than being a means of empowerment—whereby a young woman is no longer subject to anything so quaintly analog as the ticking of a biological clock—freezing one’s eggs is understood as a surrender to the larger, more invisibly pervasive force of corporate control?

Such skepticism is buttressed by a defining paradox of contemporary life, which is that while most of us have willingly surrendered a large measure of our privacy and even our decision-making to tech companies for the sake of convenience or pleasure, many of us remain queasily uncomfortable with the terms of the tradeoff. We may tolerate the disconcerting specificity of Facebook’s targeted ads as they appear alongside our friends’ latest photos; we may even, on occasion, find ourselves grateful for the suggestion, and make an online purchase with which we are afterward quite delighted. But we remain alive to the conviction that Facebook’s best interests and our own are unlikely to be in alignment. We feel ourselves to be uneasily balanced between submission and suspicion. The suggestion that such companies might, through an apparently generous employee benefit, obliquely engineer the reproductive choices of their employees is unsettling in its devil’s-bargain familiarity.

The inclusion of egg freezing as an employee benefit partakes of the techno-utopian fantasy on which companies like Facebook and Apple subsist—the conviction that there must be a solution to every problem, an answer to every question, a response to every need, if only the right algorithm can be found. But the difficulties that an American woman continues to face in her efforts to reconcile having a career with being a mother are more than faulty code to be debugged. Rather, they are vast and systemic: the limited availability of subsidized care for preschool children, the resistance of corporate culture to flexible or reduced hours for the parents of young children, the lack of federally mandated, paid family leave.
 
The Exercise Cost of Soda and Juice

The Exercise Cost of Soda and Juice

James Hamblin

When people think about sugar calories in terms of physical activity, they choose well.

What if nutrition labels told people exactly what calories meant, in practical terms? A bottle of Coke could dole out specific exercise requirements. The calories herein, it might say, are the equivalent of a 50-minute jog. The decision to drink the Coke then becomes, would you rather spend the evening on a treadmill, or just not drink the soda?

Some would say that's a joyless, infantilizing idea. The implication that people can't understand calorie counts is unduly cynical. Have a Coke and a smile, not a Coke and a guilt-wail. Others would protest on grounds that it's impossible to make this kind of exercise requirement universal to people of all ages, body sizes, and levels of fitness. Everyone burns calories at different rates. But Sara Bleich, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is not among these people. She describes these labels as her dream.

For the past four years, translating nutrition information into exercise equivalents has been the focus of Bleich's increasingly popular research endeavor. Her latest findings on the effectiveness of the concept are published today in the American Journal of Public Health. In the study, researchers posted signs next to the soda and juice in Baltimore corner stores that read: “Did you know that working off a bottle of soda or fruit juice takes about 50 minutes of running?” or “Did you know that working off a bottle of soda or fruit juice takes about five miles of walking?” (And, long as those distances and times may seem, they may even underestimate the magnitude of the metabolic insult of liquid sugar.)

 
The age of loneliness is killing us

Man sitting on a bench under a tree

The age of loneliness is killing us

George Monbiot

For the most social of creatures, the mammalian bee, there’s no such thing now as society. This will be our downfall.

What do we call this time? It’s not the information age: the collapse of popular education movements left a void filled by marketing and conspiracy theories. Like the stone age, iron age and space age, the digital age says plenty about our artefacts but little about society. The anthropocene, in which humans exert a major impact on the biosphere, fails to distinguish this century from the previous 20. What clear social change marks out our time from those that precede it? To me it’s obvious. This is the Age of Loneliness.

When Thomas Hobbes claimed that in the state of nature, before authority arose to keep us in check, we were engaged in a war “of every man against every man”, he could not have been more wrong. We were social creatures from the start, mammalian bees, who depended entirely on each other. The hominins of east Africa could not have survived one night alone. We are shaped, to a greater extent than almost any other species, by contact with others. The age we are entering, in which we exist apart, is unlike any that has gone before.

Three months ago we read that loneliness has become an epidemic among young adults. Now we learn that it is just as great an affliction of older people. A study by Independent Age shows that severe loneliness in England blights the lives of 700,000 men and 1.1m women over 50, and is rising with astonishing speed.

Ebola is unlikely ever to kill as many people as this disease strikes down. Social isolation is as potent a cause of early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day; loneliness, research suggests, is twice as deadly as obesity. Dementia, high blood pressure, alcoholism and accidents – all these, like depression, paranoia, anxiety and suicide, become more prevalent when connections are cut. We cannot cope alone.

Yes, factories have closed, people travel by car instead of buses, use YouTube rather than the cinema. But these shifts alone fail to explain the speed of our social collapse. These structural changes have been accompanied by a life-denying ideology, which enforces and celebrates our social isolation. The war of every man against every man – competition and individualism, in other words – is the religion of our time, justified by a mythology of lone rangers, sole traders, self-starters, self-made men and women, going it alone. For the most social of creatures, who cannot prosper without love, there is no such thing as society, only heroic individualism. What counts is to win. The rest is collateral damage.

 
Southern Evangelicals Are Dwindling—and Taking Republican Votes With Them

Southern Evangelicals Are Dwindling—and Taking Republican Votes With Them

Demographic changes may help Democrats in the midterm elections.

By Robert P. Jones

White evangelical Protestants have remained a steadfast Republican constituency in both presidential and midterm congressional elections ever since the Reagan presidency, which marked what political scientists Merle and Earl Black dubbed “the great white switch.” In 2008 and 2012, roughly three-quarters of white born-again Christians supported GOP nominees John McCain (73 percent) and Mitt Romney (78 percent).  In the 2010 midterm election, similar numbers of white born-again Christians (77 percent) supported the GOP House candidate in their districts.

During the heady days of evangelical prominence in the 1980s and 1990s, white evangelical Protestant leaders frequently noted the decline of their more liberal mainline Protestant cousins, but now white evangelicals are seeing their own populations shrink. In recent years, for example, the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest evangelical denomination in the country, has reported steady declines in membership and new baptisms. Since 2007, the number of white evangelical Protestants nationwide has slipped from 22 percent in 2007 to 18 percent today.

A look at generational differences demonstrates that this is only the beginnings of a major shift away from a robust white evangelical presence and influence in the country. While white evangelical Protestants constitute roughly three in 10 (29 percent) seniors (age 65 and older), they account for only one in 10 (10 percent) members of the Millennial generation (age 18-29). In the last few national elections, however, because of high levels of voter turnout, white evangelical Protestants have managed to maintain an outsized presence at the ballot box according to national exit polls, representing roughly one-quarter of voters.

But the fact that there are currently five Southern states—Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, and North Carolina— where polling shows that the Senate race margins are less than five percentage points indicates that 2014 may be the year that the underlying demographic trends finally exert enough force to make themselves felt. These changes are evident in analysis based on the American Values Atlas, a massive interactive online map of demographic and religious diversity in America based on 45,000 interviews conducted throughout 2013, created by the Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with Social Science Research Solutions.

 
The Social Conservative Royal Rumble Is Brewing in Iowa

The Social Conservative Royal Rumble Is Brewing in Iowa

By Ben Jacobs

If Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee do throw in for 2016, they’ll have to top a growing horde of newcomers to win over their old caucus voters.

The two most crowded places in 2015 may be a subway car at rush hour and the stage at a Republican presidential debate. With the past two winners of the Iowa caucuses, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, both making moves toward a campaign and other social conservatives, ranging from Ben Carson to Ted Cruz, thinking about running, things are already looking crowded.

On Wednesday, Santorum told Real Clear Politics that he is approaching the 2016 election “as if I’m running.” Santorum, who won the Iowa caucuses and finished second in 2012 GOP primary, has never made a secret of the fact that he’s considering another bid for the nomination. The former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania has stumped across the country this year for Republican candidates, including a significant number of visits to Iowa. He has also gone out of his way to endorse candidates in competitive primaries who backed him in 2012, most notably Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz in a congressional primary and Prof. Sam Clovis in the Hawkeye State’s Senate primary.

At the same time, Huckabee is organizing a trip to Europe with a number of pastors from early primary states after Election Day. The trip, first reported in June by David Brody at CBN, will focus on the leadership of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II and feature stops in London, Krakow, and Los Angeles. Longtime Huckabee aide Hogan Gidley described the trip to The Daily Beast as “an outstanding political move” that allows the former Arkansas governor to display his “understanding of the world around us.”

 
Biden’s son discharged from Navy after positive cocaine test.

Biden’s son discharged from Navy after positive cocaine test.

Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter was discharged from the Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine, a source familiar with the matter confirmed Thursday.

The source spoke anonymously because no permission had been given to speak publicly about a personnel issue.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Biden was discharged earlier this year after failing a drug test in June 2013. A lawyer and former lobbyist, Biden was commissioned as an ensign in the Navy Reserve in 2013. He applied for a commission into the reserve as a public affairs officer at age 42. Because of his age, Biden needed a waiver to apply. The Journal reported he needed a second waiver because of a drug-related charge when he was younger, a request that is not unusual.

"It was the honor of my life to serve in the US Navy, and I deeply regret and am embarrassed that my actions led to my administrative discharge," Hunter Biden said in a statement. "I respect the Navy's decision. With the love and support of my family, I'm moving forward."

Vice President Biden's office declined to comment.

 
Ebola challenges America’s ability to adapt

Ebola challenges America’s ability to adapt

In any health care setting, it is wise to listen to the nurses, who see all. Their reports from Dallas about the initial procedures used in treating Thomas Eric Duncan are appalling. Safety suits with exposed necklines left nurses to cover skin with tape. When tape is removed, it abrades the skin. One health expert I consulted described this practice in dealing with Ebola as “moronic.”

Proper protocols are now in place. But Ebola in America has been an exacting and brutal teacher.

First, we have seen that the infectiousness of Ebola increases as a patient grows sicker and the level of the virus spikes in his or her bloodstream. To the general public, this should provide some reassurance. When a patient begins to feel weak and achy at home, he or she is less likely to spread the disease. None of the people who lived in tight quarters with Duncan has (as of this writing) reported infection.

But for health workers treating very ill patients, the danger of infection is dramatically elevated. Any crack in a glove, any touching of the eye, might be enough. And when a patient’s viral load is sky-high, it is likely to be found even in his or her saliva and mucus. Theoretically, even a cough spraying sputum onto exposed skin might transmit the disease. A person in this condition would be too sick to walk the streets. The risk is to health-care workers who are not properly ­protected.

Second, we’ve learned that providing protection to health workers is a skill not possessed by every hospital. Reading a protocol off a Web site is one thing. Implementing a protocol, with perfection as the only acceptable standard, is another. It is the distance between reading a book on batting and taking a pitch in the major leagues. Most hospitals are poorly prepared to take very ill Ebola patients. This demands either the immediate deployment of federal Ebola “SWAT teams” when a case is reported or the careful transfer of patients to more competent facilities. The hurt feelings of local hospitals or mayors should matter not at all.

 
A wave for House Republicans?

A wave for House Republicans?

Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner is pictured. | Getty

Republicans are taking their most aggressive steps yet to parlay a favorable national climate and growing cash advantage into a historic House majority.

Aiming to stretch the political map, two prominent conservative groups, American Action Network and Congressional Leadership Fund, on Friday will announce a joint $3 million investment in seven House races, including contests in deep blue districts that are just now starting to be seen as realistic targets for Republicans.

They’re not saying it’s a wave, at least not yet. But Republicans are encouraged by what they’re seeing in the homestretch of the House campaign and are determined not to let an opportunity pass.

The coming offensive will reach as far as President Barack Obama’s home state of Hawaii, where recent polling in one district has shown Republicans to be surprisingly competitive. It will also take them to a liberal northeastern Iowa seat where Democrats are suddenly on defense, and to an upstate New York district not long ago seen as safe for the president’s party. Obama carried each district in 2012, in most cases handily; in the Hawaii district, he won 70 percent of the vote.

Republicans, who currently hold a 17-seat majority, are driving deep onto enemy turf just as Democrats have gone on the retreat. A late cash infusion from GOP-aligned groups has forced Democrats to pull resources from top offensive targets in order to buttress besieged incumbents, putting them almost entirely on defense. Of the 28 races seen as most seriously in contention, all but seven are held by Democrats.

 
Ebola missteps have shattered trust in hospital system, lawmakers say

Ebola missteps have shattered trust in hospital system, lawmakers say

By TODD J. GILLMAN, MATTHEW WATKINS AND MICHAEL E. YOUNG

The head of the CDC and a top doctor from Presbyterian come under sharp questioning from a House subcommittee.

Fumbles by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and by Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas have demolished CDC assurances that any hospital in America could effectively deal with an Ebola case, said Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., the subcommittee chairman.

“CDC and our public health system are in the middle of a fire. Job One is to put it out completely,” Murphy said.

The subcommittee’s top Democrat, Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado, echoed the concerns.

“It would be an understatement to say that the response to the first U.S.-based patient with Ebola has been mismanaged, causing risk to scores of additional people,” she said.

The questions on Capitol Hill about Presbyterian — and about U.S. hospitals in general — arose as Nina Pham, a Presbyterian nurse infected with the Ebola virus, was moved from Presbyterian to a National Institutes of Health clinic in Bethesda, Md. Pham, 26, was among those who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan of Liberia, who died of Ebola in the Dallas hospital on Oct. 8.

 
Clinton takes a shot at Romney

Clinton takes a shot at Romney

By JONATHAN TOPAZ

Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney are shown. | AP Photos

Hillary Clinton on Thursday in Michigan took a veiled swipe at Mitt Romney as she criticized those who would have “let Detroit go bankrupt” following the financial crisis in 2008.

On the stump for Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Gary Peters and gubernatorial hopeful Mark Schauer, Clinton said that the two stood up for Michigan in Congress.
“They could have lined up with those saying, ‘Let Detroit go bankrupt. Let manufacturing just wither away,’” Clinton said at the event at Oakland University in Rochester. “They could have been on the side of those who were criticizing what they called Government Motors.”

Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, wrote a November 2008 op-ed in The New York Times titled, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” arguing against the government bailout of the auto industry. “If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye,” Romney said in his now-famous opening. Several critics of the bailout also derisively termed the emergency taxpayer ownership of GM in 2008 “Government Motors.”
 
The San Francisco Bay Guardian and the Decline of the Alt-Weekly

The San Francisco Bay Guardian and the Decline of the Alt-Weekly

By Vauhini Vara

On Wednesday morning, the seven-person editorial staff of the San Francisco Bay Guardian met around a table at the Muddy Waters Coffee House in the Mission. Marke Bieschke, the executive editor, arrived a couple of minutes late and pulled up a chair. “How is everyone feeling?” he said, sounding a little like a camp counselor at the end of his rope.

They weren’t feeling great. The previous morning, Glenn Zuehls, the head of the company that owns the Guardian, had assembled most of the editorial staff and made a jarring announcement: The next day’s Guardian—a special annual “Best of the Bay” issue—would be its last. The editorial staff members were to pack up their belongings and leave the building. Meanwhile, visitors to the Guardians Website were greeted with a white screen announcing that the paper had stopped publishing. All else had been scrubbed from the site—the paper’s archives, masthead, advertisements.

............................

The demise of the Guardian isn’t an isolated event. Alt weeklies used to be vibrant and well-respected parts of the media ecosystem; they bred star journalists and covered local controversies that their more mainstream daily competitors were sometimes too timid to address. But prominent alt weeklies like the Boston Phoenix have shut down in recent years, while the Village Voice and other outlets have lost or laid off some of their best-known writers. One by one, independently owned publications, like the Baltimore City Paper, have sold themselves to bigger—and, often, much more conservative—media corporations.

 
Dallas County opts against declaring Ebola emergency

Dallas County opts against declaring Ebola emergency

The Commissioners Court decided Thursday afternoon to rely on written agreements with 75 health care workers potentially exposed to the virus that they will avoid public transportation and “public places.”

Those agreements will be voluntarily signed, but if some workers don’t agree, the county can issue court orders.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the director of the National Institutes of Health and the chief clinical officer at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas spent much of the day defending the response to the country’s first Ebola case during testimony before a U.S. House committee Thursday.

 
Why Germany Is So Much Better at Training Its Workers

Ina Fassbender/Reuters

Why Germany Is So Much Better at Training Its Workers 

Tamar Jacoby

America rarely uses an apprenticeship model to teach young people a trade. Could such a system help the unemployed?

At last, unemployment is easing. But the latest low rate—hovering below 6 percent–obscures a deeper, longer-term problem: “skills mismatches” in the labor force, which will only worsen in years to come. According to the most recent figures, 9.3 million Americans are unemployed, but 4.8 million jobs stand empty because employers can’t find people to fill them. With new technology transforming work across a range of sectors, more and more businesses are struggling to find workers with the skills to man new machines and manage new processes.

One solution has enchanted employers, educators, and policymakers on both sides of the aisle: European-style apprenticeship. The Obama administration is about to announce $100 million worth of apprenticeship grants—and wants to spend another $6 billion over the next four years. Meanwhile, lawmakers as different as Democratic Senator Cory Booker and Republican Senator Marco Rubio have expressed interest in the idea.

Americans should proceed with caution.

 ..........................

The U.S. has its own tradition of apprenticeship going back many years. But like most kinds of vocational education, it fell out of fashion in recent decades—a victim of our obsession with college and concern to avoid anything that resembles tracking. Today in America, fewer than 5 percent of young people train as apprentices, the overwhelming majority in the construction trades. In Germany, the number is closer to 60 percent—in fields as diverse as advanced manufacturing, IT, banking, and hospitality. And in Europe, what’s often called “dual training” is a highly respected career path.

"Dual training" captures the idea at the heart of every apprenticeship: Trainees split their days between classroom instruction at a vocational school and on-the-job time at a company. The theory they learn in class is reinforced by the practice at work. They also learn work habits and responsibility and, if all goes well, absorb the culture of the company. Trainees are paid for their time, including in class. The arrangement lasts for two to four years, depending on the sector. And both employer and employee generally hope it will lead to a permanent job—for employers, apprentices are a crucial talent pool.

The first thing you notice about German apprenticeships: The employer and the employee still respect practical work. German firms don’t view dual training as something for struggling students or at-risk youth. “This has nothing to do with corporate social responsibility,” an HR manager at Deutsche Bank told the group I was with, organized by an offshoot of the Goethe Institute. “I do this because I need talent.” So too at Bosch.

 
Nightmare at the Picasso Museum

Pablo Picasso, 1971

Nightmare at the Picasso Museum

Jonathan Jones

The greatest museum of Picasso’s works has been engulfed by scandal and crisis. Closed for the past five years, it is finally ready to reopen its doors to the public. But has the bitter struggle for Picasso’s legacy been resolved?

On 30 June 1972 Pablo Picasso created his last self-portrait. He had depicted himself many times before, but never like this. His face looked like a skull with stubble. Its colour was greenish-grey. The mouth was a straight slit. Only the lines under his eyes proved his features were flesh and not raw bone, which seems to protrude from his head at the left of the picture, where it is set against red fire, blood, or a setting sun.

From his youthful self-portraits to his bare-chested appearance, at the age of 75, in Henri-Georges Clouzot’s 1956 film The Mystery of Picasso, the artist, so fit and long-lived, enjoyed showing off his muscular body. But in his last images of himself, the shoulders that were still so powerful when he displayed them in Clouzot’s adoring film had shrunk to the dried flatness of a mummy. This was his 91st year. Picasso looked at himself without illusions, underlining the true state of things with heavy black lines.

When friends came to visit he would show them the self-portrait of 30 June. It had pride of place on an easel apart from his routine clutter. He wanted to know how others saw it.

Picasso habitually studied his own works in this meditative way: his studio, and all his homes, were filled with his own artworks, going right back to juvenilia from his teenage years in Spain. He kept a bank vault in Paris, filled with paintings, prints, sculptures, and even poetry. But his self-portrait as a death’s head was something else; he kept goading friends to interpret it, insisting they gaze with him into its big terrifying eyes. This picture of a death foreseen was, for Picasso, “a mirror”, his friend and biographer John Richardson told me.

Less than a year after making it, he died, at home in Mougins in the south of France, on 8 April 1973. He was buried at the foot of Mont Sainte-Victoire in Provence, in a striking final homage to Cézanne – whose hesitant, searching paintings of this mountain did so much to inspire Picasso’s cubist revolution in the early years of the 20th century.

He was survived by his second wife, Jacqueline, as well as his “legitimate” son by his first marriage, Paulo, and Paulo’s three children, Pablito, Marina and Bernard. Then there was his former lover Marie-Thérèse Walter and their daughter Maya. And Françoise Gilot, the author of Life with Picasso, a merciless picture of an ageing artist lording it over his much younger lover, rich with embarrassing details of his habits and opinions – such as his insistence that one cannot be a real woman without becoming a mother. After failing to prevent its publication in 1964, Picasso tried to cut their children, Paloma and Claude, out of his life.

He also left 1,876 paintings, 1,335 sculptures, 7,089 standalone drawings, 18,000 prints, 2,880 ceramic pieces and 149 notebooks of drawings. It was the greatest collection of Picasso’s art in either private or public hands.

After his death, the vast personal collection that was discovered in his various studios and homes befuddled even his closest friends and most intimate students. No one had known the scale and substance of this private dimension to Picasso’s genius. It was not just the stupefying quantity of works he kept, but how and why he kept them, which had no equivalent in art.

 
Jerry-Jones Escapes

Jerry-Jones Escapes

By Robert Wilonsky

The lawsuit pitting Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones against a former stripper from Oklahoma is no more.

Two hearings scheduled for today in a lawsuit pitting former stripper Jana Weckerly against Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones have been canceled after the case was settled “per mediator,” according to a note posted on the Dallas County website. Attorneys for Weckerly, who accused Jones of sexually assaulting her at a local hotel in 2009, and Jones say the suit was dismissed by the judge.

“We are pleased with the Court’s Judgment against Ms. Weckerly,” says Levi McCathern II, the attorney representing the Cowboys and Jones, in a brief statement sent to The Dallas Morning News. “Ms. Weckerly’s allegations were false. This case is over.”

Thomas Bowers, Weckerly’s attorney, says he and his client “do not contest the Judgment as entered by the Court. Neither Jerry Jones nor the Cowboys organization has paid us any money.”

The 27-year-old Weckerly of Ardmore, Okla., had been seeking more than $1 million in damages.

The attorneys were to meet in court today to argue over McCathern’s motion to dismiss the suit. Jones’ attorney, who has denied Weckerly’s allegations from the beginning, filed documents last week trying to get the case thrown out. Jones’ latest filing said Weckerly’s suit should have been “time-barred by the applicable statutes of limitations.” The motion to dismiss notes that Weckerly claims the assault took place in June 2009, but she waited until September 2014 to file suit.

McCathern has called the lawsuit nothing short of extortion, and one of the hearings scheduled for today involved a motion for sanctions against Weckerly for filing the “frivolous pleading for the purpose of harassment.” Weckerly’s attorney had maintained she was paid off by Jones and the Cowboys to keep quiet about the alleged event.

 
A Bold New Experimental Treatment for Alzheimer's Dementia

A Bold New Experimental Treatment for Alzheimer's Dementia

By Emily Deans, M.D. 

A dietary supplement called a ketone ester could possibly be the first truly effective treatment for Alzheimer's Dementia. A fascinating case study explains the science and the results.

Alzheimer’s Dementia is a neurodegenerative condition that affects five million Americans in 2014. In fact, a third of seniors will die with the disease or another type of dementia.

 
Auctioning Off the Judicial System

Auctioning Off the Judicial System

The money flooding into elections for judges' seat shows how dangerous unregulated campaigns can be.

By Norm Ornstein

Every once in a while, David Brooks writes a column in The New York Times that makes one just cringe. That was the case with his "Don't Worry, Be Happy" treatment last week of the impact of Citizens United on our politics. By defining the impact narrowly—does either party gain from the Supreme Court ruling and the new Wild West of campaign financing?—and by cherry-picking the research on campaign finance, Brooks comes up with a benign conclusion: Citizens United will actually reduce the influence of money in elections, and, I quote, "The upshot is that we should all relax about campaign spending."

Without mentioning his good friend's name, E.J. Dionne destroyed that case in his own Washington Post column. But a broader critique is necessary. First, Citizens United—and its progeny, SpeechNow and McCutcheon—are not really about whether Republicans get a leg up on election outcomes. They are about a new regime of campaign spending that dramatically enhances corruption in politics and government by forcing lawmakers to spend more and more of their precious time making fundraising calls, raising money for their own campaigns and their parties, and getting insurance against a last-minute blitz of "independent" spending that trashes them when they have no time to raise money to defend themselves. It also gives added traction to extreme groups threatening lawmakers with primary devastation unless they toe the ideological line.

................................

Here is the reality: If judges fear multimillion-dollar campaigns against them, they will have to raise millions themselves, or quietly engineer campaigns by others to do so. Who will contribute, or lead those efforts? Of course, those who practice in front of the judges will, creating an unhealthy dynamic of gratitude and dependency. Worse, imagine what happens when judges are deciding cases in which the stakes are high, and well-heeled individuals or corporations will be helped or damaged by the rulings. The judges know that an adverse decision now will trigger a multimillion-dollar campaign against them the next time, both for retribution and to replace them with more friendly judges. Will that affect some rulings? Of course.

 
Ebola Is a Disease That Punishes False Confidence

Ebola Is a Disease That Punishes False Confidence

By Benjamin Wallace-Wells

 The problems of certainty in the face of a deadly virus have been apparent over the past few days, with the news that two nurses at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas (Nina Pham and Amber Vinson) contracted the virus while caring for a Liberian patient with Ebola, Thomas Duncan. At each step there were errors to be regretted. Duncan was sent home when he was first admitted to the ER, even though he told a nurse interviewing him that he had recently arrived from the Ebola zone. He was cared for at his local hospital, rather than being transferred to one of the four major centers for Ebola response. Nurses within Presbyterian Hospital reported later that there was a great deal of confusion about exactly how to use the protective gear that they had been given to help keep the virus from spreading; the natural conclusion, though of course we don't know, is that this may have contributed to two nurses acquiring the virus. Vinson flew to Cleveland and back, even though she had been told not to, and a CDC officer who interviewed her before she got on her flight out of Dallas allowed her to go because her temperature was not very elevated — a test that is being applied even though there is scant reason to think temperature screening is effective. Vinson "should not have traveled," Freiden said, but if the CDC were less certain that the system would work then it could have explicitly banned her. "It's not that challenging," an exasperated Sanjay Gupta said on CNN, blaming the medical staff at Presbyterian Hospital for the spread of the virus. "We're talking about covering your skin. Cover your skin!"

..............................

The smart media has, for weeks, looked at this virus and reminded audiences of the comparatively low numbers of the infected and dead, compared to — for instance — the flu. We have looked with some horror at the inhumane conditions in which medical workers have had to labor in Sierra Leone and Liberia, deprived of basic equipment like hazmat suits and cleaning solutions, and suggested that the real story of Ebola was a resource story, and that in a country that had not only plenty of hazmat suits but also the Centers for Disease Control and the Massachusetts General Hospital and the best medical minds on the planet, the experience of the disease would be vastly different. Which, in the medium-term, will almost certainly be true. But in the first experience of a disease all of these great systems are pressured in ways that are hard to anticipate — the chance that the virus would first breach the United States in the Presbyterian Hospital ER was virtually zero, and yet it did. A contagion like this, as Freiden will likely be reminded today, begs for a little more human humility.

 
How Ebola Was Discovered

How Ebola Was Discovered

Microbiologist Peter Piot brought Ebola to the world's attention nearly four decades ago. With rarely seen footage from his visit to Zaire in 1976, he describes how his team solved the mystery of the virus.

 
43 Mexican College Students Disappeared Weeks Ago. What Happened to Them?

43 Mexican College Students Disappeared Weeks Ago. What Happened to Them?

By AJ Vicens

A violent confrontation with local police, alleged cartel involvement, and mass graves: Welcome to Mexico's latest tragedy.

 Nearly three weeks have passed since 43 Mexican college students went missing in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero after clashing with local police suspected of having ties to the Guerreros Unidos cartel. A break in the case seemingly came earlier this week when a mass grave with 28 bodies was unearthed, but Mexican authorities later said the students were not among the dead.

According to the Guardian, local police chased the buses down and apparently opened fire. The buses stopped, the unarmed students got out, and the attacks got worse. Many of the students apparently fled, but roughly 20 of them were taken away in patrol cars. Later, some of the students returned to the scene and were talking to reporters when they were assaulted again by police or other gunmen. Two students reportedly died, and one was left in a vegetative state. "The body of a third student was found dumped nearby later, his face reportedly skinned and his eye gouged out," the Guardian reported.

The students' school, the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers College of Ayotzinapa, is one of more than a dozen around the country that formed after Mexico's revolution with the goal of raising living standards for impoverished Mexicans and teaching poor farmers to read and write, according to the Christian Science Monitor. The schools are typically seen as leftist, and people from this school, in particular, were some of the major players in the run-up to the Tlatelolco Massacre, a violent clash between students and police in Mexico City in 1968 that led to dozens of deaths.

 
Hong Kong Holds Hard Line on Protests

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Hong Kong Holds Hard Line on Protests

After nearly three weeks of protests including violent confrontations with police, the two sides in the Hong Kong standoff haven’t talked or budged on their demands.

After nearly three weeks of protests including violent confrontations with police, the two sides in the Hong Kong standoff haven’t talked and haven’t budged on their demands.

With the first negotiations on track to begin next week, the students leading the protests and city officials appear to be talking past each other, repeatedly making demands that the other side has rejected. But there are possible signs of compromise emerging behind the scenes.

On Thursday, Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying continued his hard line at a news conference, saying police could clear protest sites even while talks were going on. “This is very important: dialogue and clearing the protests are two separate things. We won’t refrain from clearing the sites because of dialogue, nor will we refrain from dialogue because of [plans] to clear the sites.”

But clearing the sites and attempting dialogue simultaneously is unlikely to be successful since every effort to halt the protests have brought out huge crowds of demonstrators and broadened the support for the students.

 
Is Falling Stock Market the Death Knell for Dems?

Is Falling Stock Market the Death Knell for Dems?

By James Piereson

The Democrats are already facing substantial headwinds in this year's midterm elections: they are defending 21 of 37 Senate seats up this year, President Obama is a drag on the ticket with overall popularity hovering around 40 percent, things seem to be falling apart in the Middle East, and the economy continues to grow at a tepid pace, buoyed up to now by a record-breaking stock market. Election forecasters have conceded the House of Representatives to the Republicans and are giving Republicans very good odds of capturing the Senate.

Now, in the last two weeks the stock market has undergone a substantial correction that may yet turn into a full blow crash. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped by about 1300 points since October 1, falling from around 17,200 to 15,900 as of late afternoon on October 15. The S&P 500 and NASDAQ have fallen by similar proportions. All told, the U.S. stock markets have lost close to $1.6 trillion in wealth in the past two weeks. By all appearances, the correction has not yet run its course. The markets could fall still further on worries about slow growth in Europe and the United States, and a general sense that events are spiraling out of control.

 
Ebola gaffes fuel quarantine questions

A Frontier Airlines employee wears gloves as she directs passengers where to go. | AP Photo

Ebola gaffes fuel quarantine questions

By JOSH GERSTEIN

The startling news Wednesday that an Ebola-infected nurse flew from Cleveland to Dallas earlier this week unleashed a new round of fears about the virus’s spread in the U.S. and whether the government’s legal authority to contain the illness by limiting travel is up to the task.

For nearly a decade, officials have been warning that the country’s quarantine regulations are woefully outdated and badly need revising. The George W. Bush administration proposed “critical updates” to enhance the government’s authority to detain passengers, but never pushed the changes through before the effort was abandoned under the Obama administration.

Left in place were federal quarantine rules in some cases more than 100 years old, a situation that has some worried that the government lacks the proper legal power to restrict the travel of infected passengers and take all necessary measures to limit the spread of Ebola.

Obama administration officials have been reluctant to spell out exactly what quarantine authority they have and whether it is sufficient to contain the deadly disease.

 
Is Jeff Bezos really the bad guy?

Is Jeff Bezos really the bad guy?

By Alex Beam

The literary-industrial complex cannot abide Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. To paraphrase Oscar winner Sally Field: They hate him. They really hate him.

Here are the latest developments in the ongoing morality play called “Hand-Wringing Writers Fulminate Against Seattle-based Book Monopoly Bent on World Domination.” When we last tuned in, a small group of authors angered by Amazon’s roughhouse tactics against the publisher Hachette had mushroomed into a movement a thousand strong. Literary superagent Andrew Wylie has jawboned many of his successful clients, including Philip Roth and Orhan Pamuk, into calling for a Justice Department investigation of Amazon.

“If Amazon is not stopped, we are facing the end of literary culture in America,” Wylie told The New York Times. Ungraciously, the Times reminded us that as recently as 2010, Wylie himself was negotiating sweetheart e-book deals with Amazon. How times do change.

 
Why Do I Have To Do all the Work in This Relationship?

Why Do I Have To Do all the Work in This Relationship?

By Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D.

You know relationships take work but just how much should you have to give in?

 
Republican Gains and Confusion in Senate Races

Republican Gains and Confusion in Senate Races

By John Cassidy

With less than three weeks to go until Election Day, the Republicans are still favored to take control of the Senate. But since Cassidy’s Count last week, a number of key races have shifted, and in some quarters confusion reigns.

Here’s what Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, had to say on Wednesday morning: “With so many variables and competitive races, plus potential and competitive runoffs in Louisiana and Georgia, the outcome of the midterm elections is anyone’s guess.” 

That’s not quite accurate. On balance, the opinion surveys still point to a Republican victory. The statistical forecasting models, which aggregate the most recent polls from competitive races, all show that the odds of the G.O.P. gaining control are greater than fifty per cent. But there is quite a bit of variability in the details of the various forecasts. The Washington Post Election Lab model reckons that the probability of a G.O.P. takeover is ninety-four per cent, which is, obviously, a very high figure. The Times Upshot model puts the probability at seventy-four per cent. The Princeton Election Consortium model, which is run by Sam Wang (who has written for newyorker.com), has a figure of seventy per cent. According to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight model, the probability is 60.4 per cent.

 
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