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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Stiglitz, Amartya Sen: GDP A Poor Measure Of Growth, Clinton on Gore, Johann Hari on Environment, Picasa Update, Lost in Afghanistan?

Stiglitz, Amartya Sen: GDP A Poor Measure Of Growth By The Huffington Post News Editors
In a provocative new study, a pair of Nobel prize-winning economists, Joseph E. Stiglitz and Amartya Sen, urge the adoption of new assessment tools that incorporate a broader concern for human welfare than just economic growth. By their reckoning, much of the contemporary economic disaster owes to the misbegotten assumption that policy makers simply had to focus on nurturing growth, trusting that this would maximize prosperity for all.

Clinton on Gore: "I Thought He Was in Neverland" By David Corn on Politics - On Monday, USA Today ran a front-page article on the soon-to-be-released book chronicling a series of secret interviews Pulitzer Prize-winning author Taylor Branch held with President Bill Clinton throughout the Clinton presidency. The piece focused on a bizarre episode in which Russian President Boris Yeltsin during a visit to Washington in 1995 ended up in his underwear and drunk on Pennsylvania Avenue, trying to hail a cab. As for the Lewinsky affair, Clinton told Branch, he "just cracked" under political and personal pressures. USA Today also noted that Clinton and Al Gore had an explosive conversation following the 2000 election. But the newspaper provided only a few details on this meeting.

Johann Hari: It Is Five Minutes To Environmental Midnight. We Need To Act - Urgently -Barack Obama is a highly intelligent man who has appointed some of the best scientists in the world to explain to him what needs to happen now. But he is trapped in a political system soaked in petrol.

Picasa Update Can Tag Faces With New Photo Recognition Feature (VIDEO) - By The Huffington Post News Editors - **Scroll down for video**Picasa 3.5's latest update is more Big Brother than handy. The photo sharing site has just launched a new facial-recognition feature that will automatically scan your photos and then tag faces it recognizes using names from your Google contacts. Each time you add new photos, Picasa will attempt to tag the faces it has seen before. As Google engineer Todd Bogdan explains in a blog post,

Genius Grants 2009: Read The Full List Of Winners By The Huffington Post News Editors
CHICAGO — A newspaper reporter who refuses to forget decades-old murders and a law professor trying to get people to forget the way they think about severe mental illness are among 24 recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius grants." The $500,000 fellowships were announced Tuesday by the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. While recipients can spend the money however they like, the foundation said the selections were made as much for what the scientists, artists and others might achieve as much as for what they've already done.

Lost in Afghanistan? By David Corn on Afghanistan - The United States has been prosecuting the war in Afghanistan for nearly eight years—and still doesn't know what it's doing. That's the basic message of the assessment submitted to the Pentagon and the White House by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan. The Washington Post got hold of and posted a copy of the 66-page report—which President Barack Obama has already reviewed—and the newspaper focused on McChrystal's conclusion that he soon needs additional military and civilian forces in support of a revived strategy or "risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible." McChrystal doesn't sugercoat. He notes the "overall situation is deteriorating"—thanks to the resilience of a growing insurgency and a loss of confidence among Afghans in their own government and the international community—but he does state that some form of victory is possible, with those extra resources and a profound shift in strategy toward counterinsurgency operations that emphasize building connections between the Afghan populace and US, NATO, and Afghan security forces. "The key takeaway," he writes, is an "urgent need for a significant change to our strategy and the way that we think and operate."


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