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Driving in the Age of Orwell
Sam Adler-Bell March 2, 2015

TCF policy associate Sam Adler-Bell recently published a new blog post on four ways that the modern "surveillance industrial revolution" is changing the lives of Americans. The piece has been quoted in a Washington Examiner piece on driving in the age of Orwell.

Sam Adler-Bell for The Century Foundation: Your car can now be used to track you, hack you, and coerce you into paying your bills.

Read the article in the Washington Examiner.

POLITICO Playbook: Mark Zuckerman Named TCF’s New President
The Century Foundation March 2, 2015

Today is the first official day of TCF's new President, Mark Zuckerman, and his appointment has made it into the pages of POLITICO.

OBAMA ALUMNI – “Mark Zuckerman has been named the next President of The Century Foundation, a progressive New York based think tank ... Zuckerman served in the Obama White House as the Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council.”

See the "must-read briefing" listing the announcement in POLITICO's Playbook.

Democrats Should Boycott Netanyahu’s Speech
Michael Cohen February 27, 2015

Next Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to address a joint session of Congress. TCF fellow Michael Cohen is urging Democrats to boycott the speech that some could argue that Netanyahu is using as merely a political prop.

In support of his narrow political goals, Netanyahu has injected politics into a bilateral relationship that has long had bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. His tawdry actions have put congressional Democrats in the impossible position of having to choose between support for Israel and support for their president. These are hardly the actions of a friend.

See Cohen's article in the Boston Globe.

Rehab, Jeb Bush-Style
Michael Cohen February 27, 2015

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush recently announced his informal foreign-policy advisors, and the list looks very familiar. TCF fellow Michael Cohen has commented on this announcement and discusses the fact that 17 of the 21 individuals named by Bush served his brother, George W. Bush, only a few years ago.

Seventeen of the 21 officials on Jeb Bush’s advisory board served in the administration of Jeb’s brother, George W. Bush. In case you’ve forgotten (as it appears many Americans have), George W. Bush was president from 2001 to 2009, and he had the most calamitous foreign-policy tenure of any U.S. president, perhaps ever.

Check out Cohen's full piece in Foreign Policy.

Obscure Group Says It Set Off Blasts in Egypt, Raising Alarm
Michael Wahid Hanna February 26, 2015

This week, a series of explosions in Cairo killed one and wounded at least nine others. An obscure group calling itself the Popular Resistance Movement has claimed responsibility for the attacks, stating that the bombings were an attempt to sabotage an upcoming government-sponsored investment conference. TCF fellow Michael W. Hanna spoke with the New York Times about the incident and what it might signal in terms of future attacks aimed at targeting civilians.

Michael Hanna, a researcher on Egypt at the Century Foundation in New York, said it seemed only “happenstance” that only a few civilians were killed in the growing number of small bombings of civilian targets in a crowded city. “Does something like this signal a tactical shift,” he said, “so that people are seeking to kill civilians as a goal?”

“The biggest question out there,” he added, was whether Egypt would remain exempt from the pattern of terrorists seeking to maximize civilian casualties. “And how long can it be different?”

Read more in the New York Times.

Is Competition to Attract Businesses Harmful?
Mark Thoma February 26, 2015

Tactics used to generate competition and therefore economic growth are the tax cuts, rebates, and other promises by governments that draw businesses to a specific locale. Some studies have shown, however, that these tactics are only effective in getting businesses to relocate, but fall short in terms of actual financial boosts. TCF fellow Mark Thoma weighs the pros and cons that these types of incentives generate.

Proponents of lower taxes and reduced regulation generally favor this type of competition, while those who worry about the social services government is able to provide and want to maintain regulations that enhance their quality of life are generally opposed.

Read the full article from CBS Moneywatch.

What Makes a Charter Smarter?
Richard D. Kahlenberg, Halley Potter February 26, 2015

In a recent article published in the journal Educational Leadership, TCF fellows Richard D. Kahlenberg and Halley Potter discuss why charter schools have by and large failed to reach their full potential. Green Dot covered the article on their Public Schools Blog, discussing the top three areas highlighted by Kahlenberg and Potter in which charter schools can be improved.

Kahlenberg and Potter spotlight three areas where charter schools are falling short of their potential, before turning their focus to a handful of schools that are getting it right: “Policymakers and charter school advocates,” they write, “have emphasized competition over cooperation, empowered management over teachers, and prioritized niche markets over racial and economic integration of students.”

On each of these points — collaboration, teacher voice, and student integration — the authors demonstrate how far charter practices have drifted from the way such schools were meant to operate.

Read the blog post summarizing Kahlenberg and Potter's new article at Green Dot.

How ISIS Runs a City
Thanassis Cambanis February 26, 2015

In Syria and Iraq, ISIS is governing regions falling under its control – collecting taxes, instating fines, and even forming a morality police. TCF fellow Thanassis Cambanis describes both the support and criticism that ISIS's local governance policies have generated among the public living in the area.

ISIS looks much more like a functioning government than any of its detractors ever thought it would: it is pumping oil, policing streets, collecting taxes, even planning to issue its own currency — much like the national governments it has supplanted in the Syrian and Iraqi territory it controls.

Find out more in Cambanis's TIME piece.

If You Want to Know Who Gets Health-care Handouts, Look In the Mirror
Suzanne Mettler February 26, 2015

Next week, the Supreme Court is set to hear the King v. Burwell case in the latest attack on Obamacare. While many Americans polled said that they are in favor of scaling back Obamacare subsidies, many of those same individuals did not realize that in some way, most of those who have health insurance benefit either directly or indirectly from government health-care subsidies. The fact that so many are unaware of the ways in which they themselves benefit from government subsidies refers to a concept called the "submerged state," a term that was coined by TCF fellow Suzanne Mettler.

These kinds of little-noticed subsidies are part of what Cornell professor Suzanne Mettler has memorably dubbed the “submerged state.” You see, we Americans aren’t trying to be hypocrites when we proclaim handouts-for-me-but-not-for-thee. We just often don’t realize we’re getting handouts in the first place.

Read a new article in The Washington Post that discusses how the idea of the submerged state refers to the Affordable Care Act debate.

HSBC Embroiled in New Price-Fixing Scandal
Robert C. Hockett February 25, 2015

The newest banking scandal accusation surfaced in January, one that TCF fellow and Cornell Law Professor Robert C. Hockett likens to the Libor and Forex scandals that occurred a few years back. Hockett says that this time the Department of Justice investigation deals with the price of precious metals, specifically gold, and how it may be the result of several financial institutions colluding for personal gain.

HSBC revealed yesterday that the CFTC had issued their U.S. branch with a subpoena in January, demanding documents and details regarding their precious metal trading operations. In November 2014, the DoJ also requested HSBC issue documents as part of an antitrust investigation regarding precious metals.

Hockett's commentary is featured in a Newsweek article.

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