Summary of “With Xi’s Power Grab, China Joins New Era of Strongmen”

Almost no one would have described China as genuinely democratic before the latest move, which was announced without fanfare on Sunday; the country remains a one-party state with extensive control over political, social and economic life.
Mr. Xi’s gambit ended a period of collective and term-limited leadership begun by Jiang Zemin, who held the same post as Mr. Xi from 1993 to 2003, that many had hoped was leading China toward greater rule of law and openness.
Whatever the chaos of Boris N. Yeltsin’s era in 1990s, democracy was taking root when Mr. Putin came to power – in a relatively free and fair election, no less.
President Trump’s critics say that while he may not yet have eroded democracy in the United States, his populist appeals and nativist policies, his palpable aversion to the media and traditional checks on power, and his stated admiration for some of the strongest of strongmen are cut from the same cloth.
Mr. Putin has long cited such flaws to shore up his power at home; the campaign to interfere in the 2016 presidential election in the United States seemed intended, in the first place, to discredit American democracy still more.
The “Contagion” of 1989, which saw popular protesters bring down Communist governments in Central and Eastern Europe, infected China, too.
Mr. Xi, as a result, believes that only stability can ensure his vision of China’s revival and emergence as the world’s power.
In last fall’s Communist Party congress, Mr. Xi even presented China as a new model for the developing world – a thinly veiled argument that the United States and Europe were no longer as attractive as they once were.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Behind the minimum wage fight, a sweeping failure to enforce the law”

As Democrats make raising the minimum wage a centerpiece of their 2018 campaigns, and Republicans call for states to handle the issue, both are missing an important problem: Wage laws are poorly enforced, with workers often unable to recover back pay even after the government rules in their favor.
This failure to enforce both the minimum hourly wage – $7.25 under federal law – and rules requiring higher pay for overtime distorts the economy, giving advantages to employers who break the law.
Interviews with scores of state officials, legal-services advocates and labor specialists indicate that the failure to enforce minimum wages touches every corner of the country, but is especially acute in the six states that have no investigators probing wage violations at all.
Asked to comment on POLITICO’s findings, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, who helps lead a group of 22 Senate Democrats who support a plan to gradually increase the federal minimum to $15 per hour, and who has pushed his own bill to provide up to $50 million in grants to employers, nonprofits, unions and others who can assist in the enforcement of wage and hour laws, expressed concern but quickly pivoted to the larger issue of raising the minimum wage.
Workers who are shortchanged on minimum wage or overtime pay have three options: They can hire a private attorney; they can file a complaint with the state labor agency, if it enforces wage claims; or they can file a complaint with the federal Labor Department’s Wage and Hour division.
“State labor agencies in the South that enforce wage laws are few and far between,” observes Meredith Stewart, a senior staff attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center.
State figures included many forms of wage theft and enforcement actions depending on what the state reported, including minimum wage, overtime and unpaid wages and benefits.
Said Rep. Bobby Scott, ranking member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee: “If there is not strong enforcement of wage theft, then any efforts to raise the minimum wage, strengthen overtime, or protect workers’ tips are ineffectual.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Kansas Scrambles To Change Rules After 6 Teens Enter Governor’s Race”

When it comes to the rules about who can run for state office? There are no rules.
“Under Kansas law, there is no law governing the qualifications for governor, not one,” Bryan Caskey, director of elections at the Kansas secretary of state’s office, told The Kansas City Star last year.
Republican Rep. Blake Carpenter introduced a bill requiring candidates to be at least 18 years old to run for the state’s top elected offices, such as governor, secretary of state or attorney general.
Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor would have to have lived in the state for four years.
“We have age requirements on voters, and I really think that anybody who’s running should be able to vote for themselves,” Rep. Keith Esau, a Republican running for secretary of state, told The Topeka Capital-Journal.
He’s referring to Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the force behind the state’s strict voter ID law, who is running for governor.
State Sen. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, became the first woman to enter the crowded field for governor in December.
The state’s lack of rules for candidacy are so profound that Caskey could not even find a rule limiting the field to human candidates.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Rise of China and the Fall of the ‘Free Trade’ Myth”

To grasp China’s economic achievement, and its ramifications, it is imperative to ask: Why has a market economy directed by a Communist state become the world’s second-largest? Or, to rephrase the question: Why shouldn’t it have? Why shouldn’t China’s rise have happened the way it did, with state-led economic planning, industrial subsidies and little or no regard for the rules of “Free trade”?
The paradoxes of China’s rise today are best illuminated by Friedman’s querulous visit to the country in 1980, when China was desperately poor.
“The rise of China resembles that of the United States a century ago,” the Chinese scholar Hu Angang writes.
Locked into boundary disputes with its neighbors, China has accelerated the militarization of the South China Sea, acquiring more than 3,200 acres of land on reefs and outcrops and installing runways, ports and hangars.
With China offering generous infrastructure deals to the former American territory of the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that “It is time to say goodbye” to the United States – previously he threatened to ride a jet ski to a Chinese man-made island in the South China Sea and plant his country’s flag there.
The 11 European Union members and five non-E.U. Central and Eastern European countries that have joined the China-led political and commercial group called 16+1 have all signed major infrastructure deals with China, enhancing Beijing’s influence in the E.U. The remaining 11 members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership have gone ahead without the United States; they are expected to sign a final agreement in March.
In 2014, China inaugurated, against staunch American opposition, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, whose members now include all Asian states except Japan.
Trump now says that America first does not mean America alone, and he is open to rejoining the TPP. There may be more such reversals ahead. For Trump is only just beginning to acknowledge, after a year of bluster, the formidable challenge of China and the arduous effort needed for the United States to match its most determined and resourceful rival yet.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why cops won’t need a warrant to pull the data off your autonomous car”

Instantly, Jaeger realized that the promise of AVs to not only be safer for those inside the car, but it may also, potentially, be a way for law enforcement to collect data and information about everything else around it.
Under current law, all of that data can be obtained relatively easily by federal law enforcement.
If the companies don’t want to play ball, such data can be accessed with a mere court order under the Stored Communications Act of 1986.
The case involves phone company records and a string of robberies in Michigan around 2010, but Carpenter essentially asks, does law enforcement need a warrant to be able to access potentially intimate location information? Or, as the government has claimed, is such data easily accessible to law enforcement under the increasingly-anachronistic third-party doctrine?
“There is nothing to stop a federal agency from requesting location data from an autonomous vehicle maker,” Catherine Crump, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, told Ars.
California does have a relatively new law, known as the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which does impose a warrant requirement to access location data.
So state and local authorities in the Golden State, at least, would likely have to clear the warrant hurdle before getting at such data.
As of today, there appears to be no publicly-known instance of law enforcement going to an AV manufacturer, with a warrant or otherwise, to obtain data.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Likely Is Your Industry to Be Disrupted? This 2×2 Matrix Will Tell You”

The topic of industry disruption – “a process whereby a smaller company with fewer resources is able to successfully challenge established incumbent businesses” – is rife with misconceptions.
Industry disruption, as Accenture research has found, is reasonably predictable.
To help business leaders better understand industry disruption, we developed an index that measures an industry’s current level of disruption as well as its susceptibility to future disruption.
Our research showed that it is possible for business executives to assess how susceptible their industry is to disruption and why, and to do the same at a more granular level for their company.
In the volatility state, industries experience high levels of disruption and are susceptible to even more disruption in the short term.
The state of viability is where we found new or reborn industries that have endured a significant disruption.
Leaders who understand the various disruptive states and their company’s place therein will be more likely to see disruption as a positive force – not as a cue to protect the old but as a compelling prompt to lead in the new.
Understanding where your industry sits in terms of its susceptibility to disruption will help you make momentous strategic choices.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Close to Midnight? Why Scientists Moved the Doomsday Clock in 2018”

On Thursday, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock-a symbolic assessment of how close the world stands to total destruction-as close to midnight as it has ever been, reflecting the expert group’s “Grim assessment” that the world is now “As dangerous as it has been since World War II.”.
Not since 1953, when the United States and Soviet Union both began hydrogen-weapons testing, has the clock been moved so close to the final hour.
Speaking to reporters, experts from the group said that while the Doomsday Clock is based on the risk of many existential threats-like world war, climate change, major epidemics, or new technologies-there was one that outweighed all others this year.
“Unlike in the last few years when we’ve been focusing on both nuclear [weapons] and climate change … this year the nuclear discussions took center stage in our conversations,” said Bronson.
“That in many ways is the power of the Doomsday Clock, in that it gives us a way to talk about whether the world is safer or at greater risk than it was last year … It gives us a way to talk about these enormously complicated issues in a way that real people can have real conversations.”
In 2015, the Bulletin moved the clock to three minutes to midnight, citing the risk of climate change and several national programs to modernize nuclear weapons.
Last January, the clock ticked another 30 seconds forward, as the board fretted over the loose nuclear rhetoric of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.
How is reality doing, by the way? Scientists at NASA and NOAA agreed that 2017 was among the three hottest years ever measured.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Hating Gerrymandering Is Easy. Fixing It Is Harder.”

It’s easy for opponents of gerrymandering – the drawing of political boundaries for the benefit of one party or group over another – to argue what districts shouldn’t look like.
To maximize the number of districts in which one minority group makes up the majority of the voting-age population in the district To be compact while splitting as few counties as possible.
In North Carolina, for example, where Republicans drew 10 overwhelmingly Republican districts and three serpentine Democratic districts, not a single district had a Cook Partisan Voter Index score that was remotely competitive.
The compactness map that is guided by borders scored especially highly on our compactness metrics: Compared with the current map, it reduced the total length of boundaries used to divide states into districts by 27 percent and reduced the number of times counties are split from 621 to 380.
If a state has five districts and Republicans won an average of 60 percent of its major-party votes in the last two presidential elections, three districts would be drawn with a Republican lean and two would be drawn with a Democratic lean.
Its 2011 redistricting led to three closely divided districts out of nine total, including one that was won by Donald Trump and is now represented by a Democrat and another that Hillary Clinton won and is now held by the GOP. But constructing those three districts while preserving two Latino-majority districts to comply with the Voting Rights Act required some map-making gymnastics and ignited a redistricting firestorm in which the state’s leading Republicans accused the commission’s independent chair of being a Democratic lackey.
Our interactive’s “Highly competitive” map features 242 districts where both parties have at least a roughly 1-in-6 chance of winning, a more than three-fold increase over the 72 in the current map.
Second, many scholars now wonder whether majority-minority districts have done more favors for Republicans than minorities because they’ve made surrounding districts whiter and more Republican.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Pattern of denial, inaction, information suppression at Michigan State goes beyond Larry Nassar case”

A special, one-hour edition of E:60 airs at 9 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN and the ESPN App and features a new report by Outside the Lines that details a pervasive failure by Michigan State University to properly handle multiple reports of sexual assault and violence allegations involving athletes.
THE CRIMINAL SEXUAL assault charges against the football players that Dantonio addressed at the news conference in June stemmed from two incidents: A January 2017 report by a female Michigan State student who told police she was dragged into a bathroom during a party and forced to perform oral sex on three football players, and an April report that a defensive end had sexually assaulted a woman at her apartment, for which he was charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
In Michigan State’s case, the university supplied the reports but marked out the players’ names – something East Lansing police did not do.
The woman told campus police that she did not want to seek criminal prosecution but did want to report the incident to Michigan State judicial services.
On Friday, The Lansing State Journal reported that the 2014 investigation of Nassar by MSU’s Title IX office “Concluded that his conduct could open the university to lawsuits and expose patients to unnecessary trauma based on the possibility of perceived inappropriate sexual misconduct.” The findings, the Journal reports, were not shared with the alleged victim but with Michigan State University’s Office of General Counsel, Nassar and Strampel.
The report states students told investigators that Michigan State athletes “Have a reputation for engaging in sexual harassment and sexual assault and not being punished for it, because athletes are held in such high regard at the university.” It also states that athletes received more training on sexual harassment and sexual assault than other students but noted possible mixed messages.
The Lansing State Journal in June reported that it had requested a report made of Michigan State’s Title IX system from November 2014 to May 2015 that had been completed by Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton, which has worked with MSU during the OCR review period.
Pepper Hamilton’s review at Michigan State was being conducted at the same time ESPN was trying to get copies of police reports from the East Lansing and Michigan State police departments that had named football and basketball players as suspects.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Problem With Courting Amazon”

In a 2012 series on incentives, The New York Times concluded that states, counties, and cities provide companies $80.4 billion per year through these arrangements.
The truth is, local and state tax structures aren’t really so critical to most businesses, especially large ones, for which such taxes can be a relatively small part of their total costs.
“While states spend billions of dollars competing with one another to retain and attract businesses,” Rolnick and Burstein wrote, “They struggle to provide such public goods as schools and libraries, police and fire protection, and the roads, bridges and parks that are critical to the success of any community.” America is one economic family, they argued, and unseemly competition to attract new businesses, or to retain existing businesses located within any particular state or city, “Undermines the national economic union.”
One advantage of the American system, with powers divided between states and a national government, Rolnick and Burstein pointed out, is that states are free to compete with each other by trying different taxing and spending allocations.
One state may tax a bit more and provide more public goods-better schools, cheaper health care, smoother roads, more-pleasant parks-in return.
Another state may tax less, and spend less, on such public goods.
If one state fends off a poaching attempt by another state by offering bigger payouts, Rolnick and Burstein wrote, “Competition has simply led states to give away a portion of their tax revenue to local businesses; consequently, they have fewer resources to spend on public goods, and the country as a whole has too few public goods.” If a state successfully draws a business into its borders through tax benefits, they go on, “There will be fewer public goods produced in the overall economy because, in the aggregate, states will have less revenue.”
Congress, using its power to regulate interstate commerce, could change the way relocating companies get taxed or threaten to withhold federal funds from states that try to poach businesses by offering to give up taxes.

The orginal article.