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What We Read Today 18 October 2016

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries (and sometimes longer ones) of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.

This feature is published every day late afternoon New York time. For early morning review of headlines see "The Early Bird" published every day in the early am at GEI News (membership not required for access to "The Early Bird".).


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Topics today include:

  • New Research Refutes Chomsky's Theory of Learning

  • Scientists Say U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Plan Would End Red Wolf in the Wild

  • Oil Seen Stuck in $50 - $60 Range

  • Shale Oil Puts Cap on Oil Price

  • Trump Proposes Term Limits for Congress

  • Tiny Social Security COLA

  • Possible New CPI for Seniors

  • Why the U.S. Retirement System is Broken

  • Riot Charges Against Video Journalist Dismissed

  • Mosul Battle Iraq Victory Could Drive Jihadists to Europe

  • Major Russian Naval Maneuvers Through the North Sea

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Oil Seen Stuck in $50 to $60 Range as Shale Blunts OPEC Action (Bloomberg)  The world should get used to oil prices between $50 and $60 a barrel as falling costs in America’s shale fields counteract OPEC’s renewed commitment to supply management.  That’s the consensus among executives, traders and officials gathered at the annual Oil and Money conference in London. A prolonged period of crude trading in that range would signal that while the worst has passed for the global industry, there’ll be more financial pain ahead for oil-exporting countries and subdued profits at the largest energy companies.


  • Trump proposes term limits for Congress (The Hill)  Donald Trump on Tuesday called for term limits in Congress as part of his new ethics reform proposal.  He also called for banning foreign contributions to political campaigns and wants Congress to pass a law preventing all administration officials, lawmakers and congressional aides from lobbying the government for five years after leaving public service.  Trump promised as part of the plan to close loopholes that allow former government officials to call "themselves consultants and advisers when we all know they are lobbyists".  Trump said at a rally in Colorado Springs, Colo.:

"If I’m elected president I will push for a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress.  Decades of failure in Washington and decades of special-interest dealing must and will come to an end.  Not only will it end our government corruption, but we will end the economic stagnation that we’re in right now — no growth."

  • Tiny Social Security COLA to Pinch Seniors as Medicare Costs Surge (Think Advisor)  Payments could rise just $5 a month in ’17 versus the $150 seniors have lost with low inflation, says one group; Congress is mulling “hold harmess” protection which would institute a special CPI reflective of costs for seniors.  The Social Security Administration’s news that next year’s cost of living adjustment is the lowest ever, 0.3%, is angering older Americans. And that anger is likely to spike next month, when Medicare costs are poised to jump significantly for some seniors.

  • Why our retirement system is broken (Employee Benefit News)  A system implies multiple parts that seamlessly work together to complete processes leading to a goal. The U.S. retirement system has all the parts it needs to help plan sponsors and participants achieve their objectives — but the parts are missing the connections they need to run smoothly and operate at their full potential. In other words, our retirement system has a lot of stations, but no trains to connect them. 

  • Judge Rejects 'Riot' Charges Against Amy Goodman for Coverage of Dakota Access Pipeline (EcoWatch)  A North Dakota judge today refused to authorize riot charges against award-winning journalist Amy Goodman for her reporting on an attack against Native American-led anti-pipeline protesters.  The charges in State of North Dakota v. Amy Goodman, stemmed from Democracy Now!'s coverage of protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline. On Saturday, Sept. 3, Democracy Now! filmed security guards working for the pipeline company attacking protesters. The report showed guards unleashing dogs and using pepper spray and featured people with bite injuries and a dog with blood dripping from its mouth and nose.   Democracy Now!'s report went viral online and was viewed more than 14 million times on Facebook and was rebroadcast on many outlets, including CBS, NBC,NPR, CNN, MSNBC and the Huffington Post.  On Sept. 8, a criminal complaint and warrant was issued for Goodman's arrest on a trespassing charge.  When she returned to North Dakota to answer the trespassing change, it was replaced with a charge of inciting a riot.


  • Mosul battle: EU 'should prepare for returning jihadists' (BBC News)  The EU has been urged to prepare for returning jihadists if the so-called Islamic State (IS) is driven out of its Iraqi stronghold, Mosul.  Security Commissioner Julian King said even a small number of militants would pose "a serious threat that we must prepare ourselves for".  Iraqi forces say they have captured 10 villages near Mosul since beginning their long-awaited offensive on Monday.  As many as 5,000 IS fighters are believed to remain in the city.

  • Retaken villages show IS increasingly driven underground (Associated Press)  Wrested from IS control on the first day of the offensive to retake Iraq's second-largest city, Badana offers a glimpse of the battle ahead. Above ground, walls were shredded by airstrikes and artillery, homes were stained black with soot and the buildings still standing had been looted.  Below ground, bags of fresh vegetables lay on the floor of a cooking area and a bowl of eggs sat beside a crude stove, suggesting the fighters managed to maintain supply lines up until days before their defeat.


  • Major Russian naval force sails to North Sea past Norway (BBC News)  A Russian aircraft-carrier and other warships have reached waters near Trondheim in Norway and will soon head towards the UK.  The naval task force from Russia's Northern Fleet is expected to sail through the English Channel, then down to Gibraltar, and through the Mediterranean Sea to the Syrian coast.  The carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is escorted by seven other Russian ships.  The group will join the Russian combat mission in war-torn Syria.  It is the most powerful Russian naval task force to sail in northern Europe since 2014, Russia's Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily reports.

Other Scientific, Health, Political, Economics and Business Items of Note - plus Miscellanea

  • Evidence Rebuts Chomsky's Theory of Language Learning (Scientific American)  Much of Noam Chomsky’s revolution in linguistics—including its account of the way we learn languages—is being overturned.  See Wikipedia for discussion:  Universal grammar.  The idea that we have brains hardwired with a mental template for learning grammar—famously espoused by Noam Chomsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—has dominated linguistics for almost half a century. Recently, though, cognitive scientists and linguists have abandoned Chomsky’s “universal grammar” theory in droves because of new research examining many different languages—and the way young children learn to understand and speak the tongues of their communities. That work fails to support Chomsky’s assertions.  Subscription required to read the article. Econintersect:  Chomsky's work has led to new teaching methods using such techniques as phonetics and intuitive grammar.  My personal experience with my own children found many of these new techniques damaging to normal language development, and especially to gaining reading and writing skills.  I attribute some of the atrocious grammar today (such as misuse of subjective and objective pronouns) to these misguided techniques.  

  • Scientists Warn Federal Agency's Plan Would 'Result in Extinction of Red Wolves in the Wild' (EcoWatch)  The same scientists who provided the population viability analysis to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for the red wolf have sent a rebuttal to the agency, accusing it of "many alarming misinterpretations" in its justification for removing most of the remaining animals in the wild.  A poll of North Carolina voters and the state legislature have shown strong support for the efforts to restore the red wolves to their native habitat.

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