FM newswire for June 3, interesting articles about geopolitics

Today’s links to interesting news and analysis. If you find this useful, please pass it to a friend or colleague.

  1. Valuable research about an important topic:  “The Distribution of Top Incomes in Five Anglo-Saxon Countries over the Twentieth Century“, A. B. Atkinson and Andrew Leigh, May 2010 (54 pages)
  2. The Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brains“, Nicholas Carr, Wired, 24 May 2010
  3. Recommended, a partial antidote to our ignorance about Afghanistan:  “Once Upon a Time in Afghanistan“, Mohammad Qayoumi, Foreign Policy, 27 May 2010 — “Record stores, Mad Men furniture, and pencil skirts — when Kabul had rock ‘n’ roll, not rockets.”
  4. My guess is that this will be mocked in 2030, when the real data emerges into the light:  “Drone Wars“, C. Christine Fair, Foreign Policy, 28 May 2010 — “The Obama administration won’t tell the truth about America’s new favorite weapon — but that doesn’t mean its critics are right.”
  5. Garbage in, garbage out:  “New Study Suggests Drone Strikes Don’t Kill as Many Pakistani Civilians as Claimed“, Spencer Ackerman, Washington Independent, 28 May 2010 — Shorter conclusion: English news media don’t accurately count dead gooks.
  6. Recommended, but bad news:  “Nigeria’s agony dwarfs the Gulf oil spill“, The Guardian, 30 May 2010 — “The US and Europe ignore itThe Deepwater Horizon disaster caused headlines around the world, yet the people who live in the Niger delta have had to live with environmental catastrophes for decades”
  7. Why Our Poverty Measure Misleads“, Robert Samuelson, Real Clear Markets, 31 May 2010
  8. Can industry be ready for the next Macondo?“, Starr Spencer, blog of Platt’s (a top provider of info to the energy industry), 1 June 2010
  9. Looking at the trend of EIA oil production forecasts:  “EIA’s Hard Core Peak Oil Forecast“, Steven R. Kopits (exec with Douglas-Westwood), Econbrowser, 2 June 2010
  10. Is Afghanistan ‘Medieval’?“, Thomas Barfield (Prof anthropology, Boston U), Foreign Policy, 2 June 2010 — “Afghans shouldn’t be insulted when Westerners say the country reminds them of the Middle Ages. The religious and political struggles of that era can offer some useful lessons.”
  11. Faulkner said this in Requiem for a Nun, but this author wryly applies it to today’s politics:  “The Past Is Never Dead. It’s Not Even Past.“, tristero, Digby’s Hullabaloo, 1 June 2010
  12. Recommended:  “Tales From The New Depression“, tristero, Digby’s Hullabaloo, 2 June 2010  — The new America, pushcart vendor to pushcart vendor in 4 generations. 
  13. Continuing his series of articles about Census hiring:   “Census workers share their horror stories“, John Crudele, columnist at the New York Post, 1 June 2010
  14. Don’t believe it until the Director denies it for the second time:   “My dust-up with the director of the US Census“, John Crudele, columnist at the New York Post, 3 June 2010 — Playing games with the numbers at the Census.
  15. Nuclear Option on Gulf Oil Spill? No Way, U.S. Says“, New York Times, 3 June 2010 — Plus comic relief from former energy expert and investment banker Matthew Simmons.
  16. Looking to the past to understand today’s war on drugs:  “The Parable of Prohibition“, Johann Hari, Slate, 3 June 2010
  17. Remember all those stories about China’s lead in cyber-warfare?  They’re fake.  “Introducing U.S. Cyber Command“, Wall Street Journal, 3 June 2010

(18)  What people in the Gulf can look forward to

In America Justice is blind, but bows before power and wealth:

(19)  About that crime wave in Arizonia caused by illegal immigrants

It was a big day for conservatives when they discovered they could lie with impunity.  The Iraq and Afghanistan Wars were just the first fruits of this.  It’s the gift that will keep on giving until we wise up.

The summary:  “Reading, Ranting, And Arithmetic“, Christopher Dickey, Newsweek, 27 May 2010 — “Good cops know the difference between dangerous criminals and illegal aliens, which is one reason violent crime is going down, even in Arizona.”

The research:  “Is Immigration Responsible for the Crime Drop? An Assessment of the Influence of Immigration on Changes in Violent Crime Between 1990 and 2000“, Tim Wadsworth (U of Colorado at Boulder), Social Science Quarterly, June 2010 — Abstract:


 The idea that immigration increases crime rates has historically occupied an important role in criminological theory and has been central to the public and political discourses and debates on immigration policy. In contrast to the common sentiment, some scholars have recently questioned whether the increase in immigration between 1990 and 2000 may have actually been responsible for part of the national decrease in crime during the 1990s. The current work evaluates the influence of immigration on crime in urban areas across the United States between 1990 and 2000.


Drawing on U.S. Census and Uniform Crime Report data, I first use ordinary least squares regression models to assess the cross-sectional relationship between immigration patterns and rates of homicide and robbery among U.S. cities with populations of at least 50,000. Second, I employ pooled cross-sectional time-series models to determine how changes in immigration influenced changes in homicide and robbery rates between 1990 and 2000.


In the ordinary least squares models, immigration is associated with higher levels of homicide and robbery. However, the pooled cross-sectional time-series models suggest that cities with the largest increases in immigration between 1990 and 2000 experienced the largest decreases in homicide and robbery during the same time period.


The findings offer insights into the complex relationship between immigration and crime and suggest that growth in immigration may have been responsible for part of the precipitous crime drop of the 1990s.


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