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White House Presses for Drone Rule Book

Posted on November 26th, 2012 at 14:51 by Desiato in category: Foyer of Ennui (just short of the Hall of Shame), Mess O'Potamia, News


Facing the possibility that President Obama might not win a second term, his administration accelerated work in the weeks before the election to develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures, according to two administration officials.

The matter may have lost some urgency after Nov. 6. But with more than 300 drone strikes and some 2,500 people killed by the Central Intelligence Agency and the military since Mr. Obama first took office, the administration is still pushing to make the rules formal and resolve internal uncertainty and disagreement about exactly when lethal action is justified.

Mr. Obama and his advisers are still debating whether remote-control killing should be a measure of last resort against imminent threats to the United States, or a more flexible tool, available to help allied governments attack their enemies or to prevent militants from controlling territory.

Yes, after 300 strikes and 2,500 dead, Obama and his team are still debating when drone strikes are OK and when not.

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Followup: Naked statue man charged with possessing offensive weapon

Posted on November 26th, 2012 at 0:28 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture


Dan Motrescu, 29, a Ukrainian of no fixed abode, was also charged with criminal damage, Scotland Yard said.

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  1. Naked on a bronze statue in November? Guy needs a medal.

  2. Statueaphillia – The love that dares not speak its name – Your time has come…

The Fake Skills Shortage

Posted on November 26th, 2012 at 0:24 by John Sinteur in category: News


Kudos to Adam Davidson for some much-needed mythbusting about the supposed skills shortage holding the US economy back. Whenever you see some business person quoted complaining about how he or she can’t find workers with the necessary skills, ask what wage they’re offering. Almost always, it turns out that what said business person really wants is highly (and expensively) educated workers at a manual-labor wage. No wonder they come up short.

And this dovetails perfectly with one of the key arguments against the claim that much of our unemployment is “structural”, due to a mismatch between skills and labor demand. If that were true, you should see soaring wages for those workers who do have the right skills; in fact, with rare exceptions you don’t.

So what you really want to ask is why American businesses don’t feel that it’s worth their while to pay enough to attract the workers they say they need.

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  1. And Adam Davidson’s article offers an answer: they feel they can’t afford to. They want their products to remain cheap and have competition from foreign manufacturers with lower labor costs.

    And then Davidson goes on to say that we need some kind of new social compact between workers and employers but gives no suggesgion what that might look like given the constraints. What, workers are going to promise to Buy American only with their higher wages? Or what? Learn new skills they need on the weekend? Promise to go away quietly when the jobs finally are moved overseas? One wonders.

  2. In the past, higher wages fueled a strong US economy. Have the rules really changed? Isn’t the American worker the best employee in the world? I don’t think they’re even given a chance to prove it anymore. America won’t survive if it stops believing in the US people.

  3. Another interesting thing, many balance sheets of U.S. corporations are absolutely stuffed with cash right now. They seem to feel they have nothing to invest in.