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Category Archives: Progress

Is There a Way to Acknowledge Americas Progress? – New York Magazine

Posted: January 18, 2020 at 10:31 am

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/2009 Getty Images

The present is female. And the future will be as well. This past week, as hands were wrung over whether a female president is possible, we learned that there are now slightly more women in the workplace than men. It happened before briefly in 2009, when the Great Recession destroyed industries where men were disproportionately represented. But the new stats, in a period of low unemployment, represent something like the new normal. Other recent stats have found ever-more female triumph: As of 2017, there were 2.2 million more women than men in college, and the Department of Education predicts that by 2026, women will make up 57 percent of college students, leaving men far behind.

Women now dominate the service sector, especially in health and education, where most new jobs will be found. In December 2019, a full 95 percent of net jobs added went to women a stunning statistic. To give some perspective on this, in 1970, almost 30 million women accounted for 29 percent of the workforce; nearly 50 years later, in 2019, 74.6 million women accounted for 50.3 percent of the non-farm labor force. If that isnt a massive victory for feminism, what would be?

Yes, the gender pay gap persists but in attenuated form. The number most commonly cited 81 cents to the dollar is just the raw annual total of all male annual wages compared with all female wages. It doesnt tell us if women are paid less than men in the same job; it doesnt account for choice of profession, or working hours, or use of parental leave. When you adjust for all that, women now earn 93 to 95 percent of male hourly earnings: not good enough, but still at record highs. In the past decade, parental leave has expanded, as has working from home, both hugely beneficial to tens of millions of working women. And as the economy shifts toward the sectors where women dominate, and as women get more education than men, this trend looks highly likely to continue and even intensify. NPR notes: Women hold 77 percent of the jobs in health care and education fast-growing fields that eclipse the entire goods-producing sector of the economy.

Yes, there are still notable exceptions at the very top: Most C-suite executives (four out of five) are male, even though womens presence there has grown 25 percent in the past five years. First-level managerial positions are still disproportionately held by men, which affects the rest of the pipeline. But all the stats point upward, and, for much of corporate America, a more diverse workforce is increasingly valued. In 1970, there were no women in the Senate; now there are 26 more than half the entire number of female senators in U.S. history. In the House, as recently as 1980, women accounted for only 3.2 percent of the members; now its 23.7 percent, and the Speaker is a woman. Theres work to be done. But this rise in womens earnings and power seems real and inexorable.

Im not dismissing the resilience of sexual harassment, although great journalism and the Me Too movement have undoubtedly helped raise the costs for abusive men. Nor am I dismissing all the myriad ways women meet obstacles where men dont. I see a lot more now than I used to, and Im grateful for having my blind spots pointed out. Im just noting that comparing the condition of women today with women in an era that, say, denied them suffrage, education, careers outside the home, or treated them as properties of their husbands, its a whole universe of advance.

And yet feminist rhetoric has intensified as all this remarkable progress has been made. A raft of recent books have been full of the need for renewed rage against the oppression of women. The demonization of white men has intensified just as many working-class white men face a bleak economic future and as men are disappearing from the workforce. It is as if the less gender discrimination there is, the angrier you should become.

This is not just in feminism. You see it in the gay-rights movement too. I get fundraising emails all the time reminding me how we live in a uniquely perilous moment for LGBTQ Americans and that this era, in the words of Human Rights Campaign spokesperson Charlotte Clymer, is one that has seen unprecedented attacks on LGBTQ people. Unprecedented? Might I suggest some actual precedents: when all gay sex was criminal, when many were left by their government to die of AIDS, when no gay relationships were recognized in the law, when gay service members were hounded out of their mission, when the federal government pursued a purge of anyone suspected of being gay. All but the last one occurred in my adult lifetime. But today were under unprecedented assault?

The right is not immune to the same syndrome. Donald Trump talks about crime as if we are still living in the 1980s. Heres a great tweet from the acting DHS secretary, Chad Wolf, this week: There has been a complete breakdown of law and order in NYC. Really? Last year, there were 295 murders in New York City; as recently as 1990, there were 2,295. Trump himself speaks of a surge in illegal immigration overwhelming the country. And its true that we are close to a record percentage of foreign-born Americans, and that last year there was a surge of asylum seekers from Guatemala (many fraudulent). But in 2018, to provide some perspective, there were 400,000 people caught trying to enter the U.S. illegally on the southwestern border; under Reagan and George W. Bush, those numbers peaked at over 1.6 million. It was only when such apprehensions were back down at levels not seen since the early 1970s that an insurgent anti-immigration candidate won the presidency. Go figure.

Why this sudden ratcheting up of rhetoric? On the right, its fueled by the kind of absurd hyperbole that Trump uses all the time. On the left, its Trump himself. His extremism, misogyny, transphobia, and racism have all provoked a sharp turn to the left among Democrats. But, as you can see from the workforce numbers for women, theres little he can actually do to prevent the future from being female. He could tip the Court, which could, in turn, repeal Roe, but that would be a highly unpopular ruling and likely provoke a backlash that could lead to more moderate federal legislation in its place. Marriage equality is settled law, according to the chief justice of the Supreme Court. Gay visibility is ubiquitous. Black unemployment is at record lows; black women are seeing real improvement in their careers and earnings; crime in urban neighborhoods is a fraction of what it was in the 1980s and 1990s. Yes, we have a bigot in the Oval Office but his ability to influence these broader cultural tides is quite limited.

Some of the rhetorical excess is also about money. Interest groups for various subpopulations have a financial interest in emphasizing oppression in order to keep donations flowing.

But a recent psychological study suggests a simpler explanation. Its core idea is what you might call oppression creep or, more neutrally, prevalence-induced concept change. The more progress we observe, the greater the remaining injustices appear. We seem incapable of keeping a concept stable over time when the prevalence of that concept declines. In a fascinating experiment, participants were provided with a chart containing a thousand dots that ranged along a spectrum from very blue to very purple and were asked to go through and identify all the blue dots. The study group was then broken in two. One subgroup was shown a new chart with the same balance of purple and blue dots as the first one and asked to repeat the task. Not surprisingly, they generally found the same number of blue dots as they did on the first chart. A second subgroup was shown a new chart with fewer blue dots and more purple dots. In this group, participants started marking dots as blue that they had marked as purple on the first chart. In other words, when the prevalence of blue dots decreased, participants concept of blue expanded to include dots that it had previously excluded.

We see relatively, not absolutely. We change our standards all the time, depending on context. As part of the study, the psychologists ran another experiment showing participants a range of threatening and nonthreatening faces and asking them to identify which was which. Next, participants were split into two groups and asked to repeat the exercise. The first subgroup was shown the same ratio of threatening and nonthreatening faces as in the initial round; subgroup two was shown many fewer threatening faces. Sure enough, the second group adjusted by seeing faces they once thought of as nonthreatening as threatening. The conclusion:

When blue dots became rare, purple dots began to look blue; when threatening faces became rare, neutral faces began to appear threatening This happened even when the change in the prevalence of instances was abrupt, even when participants were explicitly told that the prevalence of instances would change, and even when participants were instructed and paid to ignore these changes.

We seem to be wired to assume a given threat remains just as menacing even when its actual prevalence has declined:

Our studies suggest that even well-meaning agents may sometimes fail to recognize the success of their own efforts, simply because they view each new instance in the decreasingly problematic context that they themselves have brought about. Although modern societies have made extraordinary progress in solving a wide range of social problems, from poverty and illiteracy to violence and infant mortality, the majority of people believe that the world is getting worse. The fact that concepts grow larger when their instances grow smaller may be one source of that pessimism.

This study may help explain why, in the midst of tremendous gains for gays, women, and racial minorities, we still insist more than ever that we live in a patriarchal, misogynist, white supremacist, homophobic era. We constantly adjust our view of our fast-changing world to ensure we dont believe it has changed at all! Maybe this is simply another way of describing each generations shifting of the goalposts. Or maybe its because weve made so much progress that the injustice that remains appears more intolerable, rather than less. Or maybe, as these psychologists suggest, holding concepts constant may be an evolutionarily recent requirement that the brains standard computational mechanisms are ill equipped to meet.

But whatever the cause, the result is that we steadfastly refuse to accept the fact of progress, in a cycle of eternal frustration at what injustices will always remain. We never seem to be able to say: Okay, were done now, weve got this, politics has done all it reasonably could, now lets move on with our lives. We can only ever say: Its worse than ever! And feel it in our bones.

I watched the Democratic debate in Iowa with only one objective: to figure out who could best beat Trump. At this point, I dont care about their policies, although Im sympathetic to many and hostile to a few. All I care about is their capacity to end this emergency in liberal democracy. And, even with that prism firmly set, it wasnt that easy.

The Democrat I think is most likely to lose to Trump is Elizabeth Warren.I admire her ambition and grit and aggression, but nominating a woke, preachy Harvard professor plays directly into Trumps hands. And picking someone who has bent the truth so often about so many things her ancestry, her commitment to serving a full term as senator, the schools her kids went to, the job her father had (according to her brother), or the time she was fired for being pregnant is an unnecessary burden. The video she produced insisting that she was partly Native American, using genetic markers, should have been a disqualifier by itself. The lack of judgment was staggering.

And, to be honest, Pete Buttigiegs appeal has waned for me. Yes, technically, hes still the best debater of the bunch. And I dont take anything back that I wrote here. But, over time, the combination of his perfect rsum, his actorly ability to change register as he unpacks a sentence, and his smoothness and self-love have begun to worry me. My fear is that his appeal will fade. Klobuchar, to my mind, is the better midwestern option. She is an engaging and successful politician. But theres a reason she seemingly cant get more traction. She just doesnt command a room, let alone a stage. Setting aside everything else, Warren is presidential in a way that Klobuchar is not.

And I so want Biden to be ten years younger. I cant help but be very fond of the man, and he does have a mix of qualities that appeal to both African-Americans and white working-class midwesterners. What I worry about is his constant stumbling in his speech, his muddling of words, those many moments when his eyes close, and his face twitches, as he tries to finish a sentence. Perhaps these are ways to cope with a stutter, as John Hendrickson posits but they definitely seem more pronounced than I remember. He looks like a man past his prime. I worry whether Biden could stand up to Trumps psychotic energy and lies.

Which leaves us with Bernie. I have to say hes grown on me as a potential Trump-beater. He seems more in command of facts than Biden, more commanding in general than Buttigieg or Klobuchar, and far warmer than Elizabeth Warren. Hes a broken clock, but the message he has already stuck with for decades might be finding its moment. Theres something clarifying about having someone with a consistent perspective on inequality take on a president who has only exacerbated it. He could expose, in a gruff Brooklyn accent, the phony populism, and naked elitism of Trump. He could appeal to the working-class voters the Democrats have lost. He could sincerely point out how Trump has given massive sums of public money to the banks, leaving crumbs for the middle class. And people might believe him.

Is he an American Corbyn? I worry about that a lot. Sanders has been on the far left all his life, and the oppo research the GOP throws at him could be brutal. Hes a man, after all, who sided with a Marxist-Leninist party that supported Ayatollah Khomeini during the hostage crisis in 1979. He loved the monstrous dictator Fidel Castro and took his 1988 honeymoon in the Soviet Union, no less, where he openly and publicly criticized his own country and praised many aspects of the Soviet system. He saw the USSR and the USA this way: Lets take the strengths of both systems. Lets learn from each other. As he was saying this, the Soviet Union was already collapsing. And he paid no visits to dissidents. I think its fair to say that he has never met a leftist dictator he hasnt admired.

But Corbyn? The British Labour leader had a net favorability rating as low as negative 40. Bernie, with huge name recognition, is only at negative 6. After the GOP has nailed him as an ayatollah-supporting commie whos going to take your health insurance away and crash the economy, his negatives will rise. But its worth noting that Trumps favorable rating is negative 10. It was striking to me, too, that some leading conservatives rallied to Bernie in his spat with Warren this week. Some are actually quite fond of the old coot.

On two key issues, immigration and identity politics, Bernie has sensibilities and instincts that could neutralize these two strong points for Trump. Sanders has always loathed the idea of open borders and the effect they have on domestic wages, and he doesnt fit well with the entire woke industry. He still believes in class struggle, not the culture war. But he doesnt seem to be trying to capitalize on any of that. Take a look at his immigration proposals. They are the most radical Ive seen: essentially an end to any control of illegal immigration, with enforcement of the law at the border solely for human traffickers and gun smugglers; a moratorium on all deportations; an end to any detention of illegal immigrants; an open-ended amnesty for basically anyone who has gotten here. How you distinguish these policies from the open borders Sanders used to oppose is beyond my understanding. I believe that immigration control will matter in this election. The Democrats dont. Thats their gamble, and Sanders is doubling down on it.

So where am I? Not thrilled, I have to say. Bernie has the edge on energy and populism, but hes so far to the left the Democrats could end up where the British Labour Party just found itself: gutted. Biden has an advantage because of Obama, his appeal to the midwestern voters (if he wins back Pennsylvania, that would work wonders), and his rapport with African-Americans. But he also seems pretty out of it. The others are longer shots. Bloomberg? The ads are good, but a billionaire who helicopters into a race late isnt the right messenger in these times.

I should point out that Ill vote for whichever of these candidates wins the nomination. I regard a criminal, corrupt, impeached, delusional, and clinically sociopathic president as by far the greater threat to liberal democracy, or what remains of it, than any potential Democrat in the office. But between the front-runners, Biden and Bernie? Bernie, maybe, but by a smidgen.

I wonder if Meghan Markle has ever carefully watched an episode of The Crown. The entire story of the British monarchy for the past half-century has been the extreme difficulty for the queen or any member of her family to be a fully realized human being in public and private. And thats why the series has only magnified respect for Elizabeth II. Her resilience in performing public duties without ever revealing any political or cultural views is pretty remarkable. She showed grace even when her family was coming apart when her sister, Margaret, acted out in public, her daughter-in-law Diana tried to escape the inhuman scrutiny of royalty, or when her favorite son, Andrew, was credibly accused of raping children. She has had amazing staying power in her measured restraint and commitment to duty.

You can feel a great deal of sympathy for those human beings consigned by genes to this constricted if luxurious life. Harry had no choice to be prince or not and a spare heir as well. But for those who willingly join this family, and become a princess or prince through marriage? Im less forgiving. The fantasy of being a princess depends on its being rare. For a young American woman to become an official princess to have a wedding with a carriage, global adoration, and national applause must have seemed like a fantasy. And, of course, it was. The bargain the modern monarchy has made with the British people is that, in return for the glamour, the royals have to do some kind of public service, stay uncontroversial, and not rock the boat. Harry paid his dues: a ten-year stint in the armed forces, including fighting in Afghanistan, and the usual patronage of various charities. He was a bit of a rogue at times, but that was fine. We liked that.

But Meghan? She has been in the royal family for less than two years and now wants out. Her husband, who has hinted before at his discomfort with his princely duties, will leave with her. She has had all the perks of a princess but didnt want to be treated by the press the way it usually treats royals: with aggressive tabloid coverage of various levels of truth. There have been spells when the tabloid press adored her and others when it seemed to hound her. Last fall, Harry wrote a letter describing the toll this takes: My wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son. There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face as so many of you can relate to I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been.

Some are claiming that Markle is being treated differently because of her mixed ancestry. But she is certainly not being treated any worse than Diana, that whitest of princesses, whom the press effectively murdered. Or Margaret, who was always in the tabloids, to everyones great embarrassment. There are definitely some unfair tropes aired in the shifting contrasts between Kate Middleton and Meghan, but its hard to disentangle this from everything else princes and princesses are subjected to.

Its also very understandable, given what happened to his mother, that Harry would be intensely aware of the damage the press can do. But deciding to quit the royal family, move to Canada part time (if theyll have him), and make money through the celebrity industry is quite a leap from royal duty and stiff upper lips. The Sussexes already had their new house, Frogmore Cottage, renovated at a cost to taxpayers of $3 million, after finding Kensington Palace unsuitable to their needs. They fly free and have all their security provided by public funds. But all of this was too much for Meghan, who described royal life as toxic: She felt she had to escape because living within the royal confines was soul-crushing, a friend told the Daily Mail. She told her inner circle of friends that her soul was being crushed and that the decision to leave was a matter of life or death meaning the death of her spirit.

Sorry, but if you choose to marry into royalty, you have to take the rough with the smooth: The fame and luxury of being a princess comes packaged with bad press, intrusive photographers, and constant public duty. If Meghan didnt expect this, its hard to understand how not. The press coverage she will now get will be even worse: According to one poll, 72 percent of the Brits want them gone, 71 percent think posting the news on Instagram before telling the queen was shoddy, 60 percent want them out of their renovated cottage and forced to pay back the renovation, and 76 percent want them stripped of their royal security. In the same poll, the public supports their decision to adopt a new role and to pursue their own happiness but outside any connection to the royal family.

Its quite simple: You cant eat your royal cake and have it too. And Meghan and Harry now have no cake at all.

See you next Friday.

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City plans on revealing latest progress in Denison rental registration and inspection program – KXII-TV

Posted: at 10:31 am

DENISON, Tex. (KXII) - "We've come a long way - there's been a huge evolution since the first time landlords have heard about this." said Ashton Smith.

Last May, Denison announced plans for a new rental registration and inspection program. They cited a slew of complaints and inspections that revealed issues on rental properties, like clogged plumbing, holes in walls and floors, and faulty electrical outlets.

In June, landlords responded by saying the plan the city proposed would force landlords to raise rent so they could cover the repairs they'd have to make to pass inspection - leaving some low-income tenants without a place they could afford.

"The city actually does care, not just about tenants that are living in sub-standard conditions but also about landlords and about the things that we deal with." Smith said.

Ashton Smith owns over 30 properties in Denison, he stood in opposition of the council in June, but has since worked with them to find a plan that suits more people.

That one is what will be presented on Tuesday. Smith said the city is calling their new solution the VIP program.

"And it's not going up for vote, and it's not an action item right now, but I think this is gonna be a place where the city is gonna give the big overview on how everything has shaken out." Smith said.

The Volunteer Inspection Program will be optional so it won't necessarily raise rent prices. Smith said he hopes what started as a contentious debate this summer, will be something that helps tenants feel safer and landlords feel like the city is on their side.

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Economists explore the consequences of steering technological progress – The Economist

Posted: at 10:31 am

Jan 16th 2020

SINCE THE ancient Greeks, at least, people have recognised that civilisational progress tends to create havoc as well as opportunity. Economists have had little time for such concerns. To them, technological progress is the wellspring of long-run growth, and the only interesting question is how best to coax more innovation out of the system. But in the face of looming social challenges, from climate change to inequality, some are now asking whether, when it comes to innovation, what sort is as relevant as how much.

Early models of growth did not explain technological progress at all, treating it rather like manna from heaven. In the 1980s some economists worked to build endogenous-growth models that said where innovation came from. They explained it as the consequence of investment in research and development, increases in the stock of human capital, or the (temporary) extra profits that can be reaped by firms with new technologies. Other economists have focused more on data than on theory. Who Becomes an Inventor in America? The Importance of Exposure to Innovation, a paper published in 2018 in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, identifies factors that seem to encourage young people to become innovators. Children who grow up where innovation rates are high, for instance, are more likely to become inventors themselves.

Research has also made clear, however, that technological discovery is not linear, but veers about depending on economic conditions. Some economic historians reckon that early industrialisation was motivated by a desire to replace scarce resources, such as skilled labour, with abundant ones, such as unskilled labour and coal. Early inventors were not simply discovering natures truths one by one, in other words, but trying to solve specific problems. Work on such technological bias blossomed in the 1990s as economists sought to explain why the wage premium earned by college graduates kept rising even as the supply of graduates increased. The answer, some reckoned, was that technological change in the 20th century was skill-biased, boosting the productivity of workers with degrees, but not of others.

In a paper published in 2001, Daron Acemoglu of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology collected these strands in a model of directed technical change. Technological progress, he suggested, is influenced by the relative scarcity of factors such as labour and capital; by how easily one factor can be substituted for another; and by the path of past innovation. Research on a particular technology may reduce the cost of developing complementary innovations in future. Directed technical change is fascinating to contemplate because it allows for alternative technological futures: worlds in which firms wring every efficiency from Zeppelins and pneumatic tubes, rather than from internal-combustion engines and Twitter. If the direction of progress is not set in stone, policy choices could lead an economy down one technological path rather than another. That raises an immediate question: if innovation can be steered, should it be, and if so, how?

Since 2000, published work on directed technical change has focused largely on environmental challenges. Path dependence means that research on fossil-fuel technologies can often be more fertile than research on cleaner alternatives. There are more experts in the relevant disciplines, better-funded research labs and an established complementary economic infrastructure. Efficient decarbonisation might thus require subsidies for clean-energy research, as well as a carbon price. Indeed, efforts to slow global warming represent a massive attempt to realise one technological futurea zero-carbon versionrather than another.

Why stop there? Some futurists, and a few economists, worry that rapid progress in artificial intelligence could lead to mass displacement of labour and social crisis. But in a recent paper Anton Korinek of the University of Virginia notes that not all uses of AI are alike. Clever machines could indeed replace human workersor might instead be engineered to assist human labour: to help people navigate complicated processes or take difficult decisions. Private firms, focused on their bottom lines rather than the potential knock-on effects of their investment decisions, might be indifferent between the two approaches in the absence of a government nudge, just as polluting firms tend not to worry about the social costs of environmental harm unless made to do so by governments. In a working paper co-written with Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics, Mr Korinek concludes that directing technical change to favour labour-assisting rather than labour-displacing forms of AI could be a second-best way to manage progress, if governments cannot sufficiently redistribute the gains from automation from winners to losers. This may sound far-fetched, but policy proposals such as Bill Gatess suggestion that robots should be taxed to slow the pace of automation represent steps toward a more micromanaged technological future.

Environmental policies aside, such steps seem premature. A more sophisticated view of technological progress is to be welcomed. But economics lacks the tools, at least for now, to judge which technological path is preferable. The world is too complex to allow economists to compare hypothetical technological futures: to know whether a Zeppelin-based society would operate more efficiently overall than a car-based one. Economists cannot know what surprises lie down one innovation path rather than another.

And questions of technology are not solely, or even mostly, about efficiency. Many are ethical. Innovations with overwhelming productivity advantages could prove devastating to social trust or equity. In the face of radical technological changein AI, robotics and genetic engineeringsocieties will inevitably argue over which technological paths should be explored. Economists views belong in these conversationsprovided they are crafted with humility and care.

This article appeared in the Finance and economics section of the print edition under the headline "Economists explore the consequences of steering technological progress"

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Mullan area transportation plan, land-use plan to progress together as process begins – Missoula Current

Posted: at 10:31 am

Separate but parallel planning efforts focused on a wide region west of Reserve Street in Missoula will gain momentum in the coming months, city and county officials told the Urban Growth Commission this week.

Missoula County contracted Dover, Kohl and Partners this week to spearhead a land use plan for several thousand acres west of Reserve an area bounded by Mullan Road and West Broadway.

By the end of the month, the county also expects to have a contract in place with DJ&A, which will head up transportation planning for the same region.

We as staff who have been working on these two projects for the past six to nine months have always been talking about how those two projects will integrate together when the time is right, said county planner Andrew Hagemaier. That time is now.

The lack of a land use plan served as a point of controversy as the Missoula City Council debated the approval of a new subdivision off Mullan Road late last year.

While no one disputed the need for additional housing, those who opposed the project wanted it to wait until the land use plan was completed. Early stages of the project were given a green light regardless, though other projects are waiting in the wings.

Future projects would be guided by the land use plan, which will also be influenced by the transportation plan.

Part of the master plan will create typical road sections, which will then influence what the engineering of those roads will look like, said Hagemaier. What the engineers do in their design will effect elements of the master plan.

In partnership with the city, Missoula County applied for and received a $13 million federal BUILD grant to make road improvements to the area. Conceptual plans include connecting George Elmer Drive and Mary Jane Boulevard from Mullan to West Broadway, and extending England Boulevard further west.

The transportation grant will help fund nearly three miles of new roads and open access to nearly 1,500 acres of developable land west of Reserve. It could also lead to the placement of thousands of new homes and an estimated 7,000 jobs.

But where and how that growth occurs will be a combination of planning and public input. Several public charrettes will take place over the coming months, and new zoning codes will likely emerge along the way.

They would be new zoning districts, and our hope would be that wed not only be able to use them there, but in other situations inside the city, said city planner Tom Zavits.

Most of this area is in the county right now, but as it develops, a lot of the denser residential would be annexed over time. It depends what the plan looks like, and it depends what we end up with.

The transportation plan is expected to reach 30% design by May. The land use plan should run a parallel path, Hagemaier said. Both DJ&A and Dover-Kohl will be working side by side throughout the process, he added.

Theres a lot of opportunity for alignment with these two projects, he said. Both teams realize that this other project is going on, and theyre already thinking about this. Well put them virtually in a room together very soon.

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Bess Takes Five Wickets Before Rain Halts England Progress – The New York Times

Posted: at 10:31 am

PORT ELIZABETH England spinner Dom Bess claimed his first five-wicket test haul on Saturday before persistent drizzle threatened to loosen England's stranglehold on South Africa on the third day of the third test on Saturday.

The rain reduced play in the morning session at St Georges Park to one hour and 45 minutes, and the match had yet to resume by midafternoon.

Bess rampaged through the home side's top order, leaving South Africa on 113 runs for five wickets, still 386 behind Englands mammoth first-innings total of 499 for nine declared.

The 22-year-old had snagged two overnight as South Africa lost wickets at the start of their innings in the gloom at the close of the second day, and he picked up where he left off on Saturday.

Dean Elgar was dismissed first, edging the ball off his pad to Ollie Pope at silly point, for 35 runs followed by captain Francois du Plessis, whose tenure as skipper of the South African side is now seriously in question.

He continued his poor form by belting two boundaries and then perishing to Bess in the same fashion as Elgar, making only eight runs.

Bess then saw captain Joe Root drop nightwatchman Anrich Nortje at first slip and Pope fail to snag a half-chance off Rassie van der Dussen.

But Bess fifth wicket came two balls later, to joyous celebration, as Van der Dussen played on and was bowled for 24.

Bess had not been selected for the tour at first, but he was flown out to South Africa just before Christmas as cover when a virus struck the England camp.

He had figures of 5-41 when lunch was called, with Nortje on 14 not out and Quinton de Kock yet to score.

It continued to drizzle throughout the scheduled afternoon session, with the covers tantalisingly coming off three times but then being quickly put back on again.

After receiving a pounding from the England batsmen on the first two days, South Africa now face the prospect of needing to bat out the test to avoid defeat, similar to the last test in Cape Town when England clinched victory in the last hour on the fifth day.

England now hold the upper hand with the series level at 1-1.

The fourth and final test is in Johannesburg next week.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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Kudlow: Impeachment ‘could be an effort’ by Democrats to ‘obfuscate the economic progress’ | TheHill – The Hill

Posted: at 10:31 am

Larry KudlowLawrence (Larry) Alan KudlowMORE, the White Houses top economic adviser, says the impeachment trial against President TrumpDonald John TrumpNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Dems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Democratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' MOREbeginningin the Senate could be a Democratic-led effort to distract from recent economic gains.

The impeachment trial has had no impact at all on the economy and the stock market. None, zero. Thats a function of good policies and a free market country and brilliant entrepreneurs, Kudlow said at the White House Friday.

I sometimes get a little annoyed that impeachment and all the theater going with that could be an effort on the other side of the aisle to obstruct and obfuscate the economic progress were making.

House Democrats this week finally sent over their articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate, which will commence its trial next week.

Trump has maintained he did nothing wrong in his dealings with Ukraine, though several officials have testified that he acted improperly, leveraging military aid and a White House meeting to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate his political rivals.

The Government Accountability Office also said Thursday that the administrations freezing of nearly $400 million in congressionally approved aid to Kyiv broke the law.

Trump administration officials have touted economic gains since he took office, viewing it as a top talking point heading into the presidents reelection effort later this year.

The economy added 145,000 jobs in December, meeting economists expectations, and the unemployment rate held steady at 3.5 percent, the lowest level in nearly 50 years. The unemployment rate fell from 3.9 percent in December 2018 to 3.5 percent in 2019.

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Kudlow: Impeachment 'could be an effort' by Democrats to 'obfuscate the economic progress' | TheHill - The Hill

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Andre Reed on ‘progress,’ the No. 1 receiver question, Elbert Dubenion – Buffalo News

Posted: at 10:31 am

Whenever Andre Reed is around Ed Oliver or Josh Allen or pretty much any current Buffalo Bills player, he knows it's a virtual certainty they'll ask him to reach into the team's past.

What were those Super Bowl seasons like? How did those teams get to that level? Why were you able to stay so good for so long?

"So I can bring a little bit of that to the team now," Reed said by phone from his home in San Diego. "It's all love, man. I'm not in Buffalo as much as I used to be, but that's what I get from their players now. 'How did you do it?' "

Before the Bills' Nov. 24 game against the Denver Broncos at New Era Field, the Hall of Fame receiver was on the field talking with players, coaches and club officials. When Reed and coach Sean McDermott saw each other, they hugged and exchanged pleasantries. Before going their separate ways, McDermott wanted Reed to know how much he appreciated the knowledge Reed and other former Bills willingly shared with McDermott a few weeks after he was hired in 2017.

The team had arranged for Reed, fellow Hall of Famers Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith and Thurman Thomas, as well as Cornelius Bennett, Darryl Talley and Steve Tasker to have dinner with the coach at Sear. The idea was to create a casual setting where the members of those great teams would feel comfortable enough to share the ingredients of the secret sauce.

"I just want to thank you," McDermott told Reed during their chat. "I remember that first meeting that we all had and we talked about, not only how good of a team you guys were, but the camaraderie you guys had. That's what I want to get here becausethat is definitely going to breed success. As long as I'm here, that's what I want."

The Bills would beat the Broncos on the way to finishing with a 10-6 record and clinching their second postseason berth in McDermott's three seasons at the helm. Although the Bills lost their wild-card playoff game against the Houston Texans, there's optimism about their future, rooted in the leadership of McDermott and General Manager Brandon Beane and the roster's talented young core.

"If I had to say just one word, I would say, 'progress,' " Reed said of what he saw from the Bills in 2019. "Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott, from the time that I met both of those guys, said that they were going to change a lot about the whole situation in Buffalo from what it was before they were there."

In the latest edition of One-on-One Coverage, The Buffalo News spoke with Reed about the Bills' receivers, the team's dominance in the 1990s, the recent passing of fellow former Bills receiver and scout Elbert Dubenion, the Hall of Fame credentials of Steve Tasker and Reed's efforts to encourage youngsters to read.

Buffalo News: Some people see similarities between the current Bills and the team from the late '80s that was on the verge of becoming a serious Super Bowl contender. How do you feel about those comparisons?

Andre Reed: I think it's a fair assumption, but kind of unfair, too, because people in Buffalo and around the league, to a certain point, are going to always look at the team now and compare it to those teams. And that's kind of an unfair thing to do. We had a lot of veterans on the team and, basically, Buffalo is a pretty young football team now.

You've got to look at it from the standpoint that they're still growing to find each other, to play as a team, to embrace what's happening. The ups and downs of the season are all harder on young kids that have never been there before. And the job of the organization and the coaching staff is to make sure these guys are always, always on the same page, knowing that when it's good, it's good, but when it's bad, you need to kind of muster up something a little more. As a veteran team, I think it's a little easier to do that than as a young team.

Their biggest step this year, I think, was when they went to Dallas on Thanksgiving and beat the Cowboys. Dallas was not the team that people thought they were going to be; they had their own problems internally and all that kind of stuff. But it's hard to beat Dallas in Dallas, especially on Thanksgiving, and they went in there and pretty much dominated the game to a certain point. That kind of really showed me what kind of team they are and what the possibilities are of what they can do going forward. And then those two games against the Patriots, they should have beat them twice.

I think learning from your mistakes and some of the mistakes you make against good teams, that's going to take some time to do where they go, "OK, we didn't win the game because of this reason. It's not that we played bad. It's we just didn't make that play at that particular time that could turn the game around for us to win." That game against Dallas and then the two games against the Patriots, (had the Bills won), we'd be talking about them in the playoffs right now. No doubt about it.

BN: Wide receiver is a spot frequently mentioned as a key area of need this offseason. What's your perspective on that?

AR: I think getting a wide receiver, whether through free agency or in the draft, I guarantee you that's a priority for them, to give Josh more targets. I think they did a really good job (of addressing the position last offseason). Again, big kudos to Brandon and Sean for bringing in John Brown and signing Cole Beasley. Robert Foster didn't play that much this year, but he's an important part of that team. Whether he's going to be an important part next year or not, we don't know. But them all getting to know each other more, I think, it'll be a much better next year.

Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown celebrates a touchdown. (Mark Mulville/News file photo)

BN: Do you feel the Bills need to find a true No. 1 receiver or do they have one on the roster?

AR: That's a pretty good question. If you look at the league, you have to say every team has a No. 1 guy. In Cleveland, they have Odell (Beckham Jr.). Jarvis (Landry) is 1A. In Tampa, you've got two guys, Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. So having a No. 1, obviously, is vital for every team. But I don't think it's really the most important thing. I think continuity is really important.

I mean, look at me. I had James Lofton, I had Don Beebe on the outside. Even though it was hard, it made my job easier in the middle when I had that kind of presence on the outside. A true No. 1? I guess you could say John Brown's it. But maybe in the sense of being a bona fide, that-guy's-going-to-change-the-game-every-single-play-he's-out-there, I don't think John Brown is that if we compare him to other No. 1. But he has definitely done the job as a No. 1 for the Bills this year.

Cole Beasley has done a pretty good inside the hashes and is always a chain-mover on third down. That only makes it better for the guys on the outside. I thought he did a great job this year. I think towards the end of the season, probably the last maybe five to six games, he got lost a little bit. I think they could have used him a little more coming down the stretch. I think that definitely will be a subject that they talk about next year because he's really been a factor against really good defensive teams in the box, linebackers and defensive backs covering him. That could open it up on the outside for John Brown and for the other guys a little bit more.

The tight ends, I think they could have used Dawson Knox a little bit more this year. That game against Cincinnati, he really kind of showed himself. He kind of disappeared a little bit after that. (Reducing drops) will come with repetitions. More reps and being comfortable out there, especially in the offensive scheme. He'll be a lot better next year.

BN: What did you see from Duke Johnson?

AR: He came in and did a pretty good job. I think, if they re-sign him, he'll even be more of a factor because of his big body. You need that kind of presence in the red area, inside the 20, that kind of guy. He has a lot of enthusiasm. The guy catches a 10-yard out and he's like it's a 50-55-yard touchdown. So you need that on the team.

They could have used him even a lot more during the season if he was on the (active) roster. He's like Mike Evans, he's like some of these other big-body receivers that are in the league now. I hope that they re-sign him and he's a part of the team next year, and he gets a lot more reps and he gets a lot more playing time.

BN: What did you see from Josh Allen in his second season?

AR: Josh Allen, I think, definitely took a major step forward in a lot of ways. Maturity-wise, the way he played the game. I think he did a pretty good job to put the team on his back a lot of times. And the whole team, the whole organization can look at him and say, "Yeah, this is the guy that we drafted in 2017 that we thought that would make this kind of progress in his second year." And he has.

I think confidence-wise, he needed that. He needed confidence from the organization, from Sean, from Brandon, from (offensive coordinator Brian) Daboll. He took that step and everybody fed off of that. Jim was that kind of guy, too. But we had Hall of Famers.

BN: How impressed were you with Devin Singletary?

AR: He was a big surprise. That kid is very elusive. He kind of reminds me of a young Thurman, no doubt about it. He's hard to tackle. He's very elusive inside the hole. He makes a five-yard gain look like a 30-yard gain. And I'm sure, having Frank Gore back there as a mentor for him, has really helped him. Next year should be better for him. I think he should be the feature back next year.

Bills wide receiver Andre Reed is upset during Super Bowl XXVI against the Washington Redskins at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn., on Jan. 26, 1992. The Redskins won, 37-24. (Mike Powell/Allsport)

BN: When you think of your time with the Bills, what's the first thought that comes to mind?

AR: That Buffalo was kind of the perfect spot for me at that time. Not only team-wise, but just me as an individual. Because it really reminded me of where I came from (Allentown, Pa.): blue-collar, people working hard, 9-to-5ers. Work all week. And then they go to the football game. That's Buffalo right there. It's been like that since that team has been there, for 60-plus years now.

I'm blue-collar. Who knows, if I'd have gone to Miami or played out here in San Diego or played with the Raiders, who knows if it would have been like that? I think Buffalo was a perfect spot for me at the time. Twenty-five, 30 years later, it's documented what we did. It's documented that the players that we had, the organization, there's Hall of Famers all over the place. And 25-30 years later, people always come up to me and say, "Hey, I remember when you played. Those were great teams. It was a great organization. You guys went to four Super Bowls, you didn't win, but you guys were a team that had to be reckoned with. You had to beat Buffalo to get to the Super Bowl."

That's the good thing that I think about. It wouldn't have happened without those guys and it wouldn't happened without those fans and that organization the Marv Levys, the Bill Polians and all that. We're our own dynasty.

BN: Elbert Dubenion, the former Bills standout receiver and scout who put you on the team's radar before you were drafted in the fourth round in 1985, passed away on Dec. 26. What are your thoughts about him?

AR: Let me tell you, he was a great football player in Buffalo, but it doesn't really give him any credit for what kind of guy he was. And I remember he came to Kutztown and scouted me this little, small kid from Kutztown University, a little town in Western Pennsylvania and really told the Bills' organization about me and what kind of player I was and what kind of person I was, and gave me a chance. And every time I saw him, he said, "Yeah, you still remember when I came and saw you and worked you out?" And I said, "Let me tell you, Dubie, I'll never forget that because you saw something in me maybe 31 other teams didn't see."

He said a lot of things to me. One thing he said was, "It doesn't matter where you're from. If you're willing to work hard and put in the extra time when nobody's looking and tend to details, you can play in this league a long time." I was a very detail-oriented guy. I got that not only from my upbringing, but from a mentor like Dubie. I remember those words because, as a young kid, a guy talking to you in that manner, he saw something in you that maybe you didn't see in yourself. And he said, "Just keep working hard. And if it doesn't happen for you, you can never say to you didn't put 100% into it."

BN: He also could relate well to you because he wasn't a big-school guy, either, having played at Bluffton in Ohio.

AR: That's even smaller than Kutztown. There were five cows in Kutztown, there were two cows in Bluffton. And I think that small-school mentality that I had really resonated with him and vice versa. We both knew that. When they drafted me, he actually was one of the first guys I saw at training camp, too. He was like, "Welcome to your whole life right now." And I didn't want to let him down because he came and scouted me. When I got inducted to the Hall, I got a call from his wife and I told her, "With him giving me those words of wisdom, he's got a lot to do with my Hall of Fame career. There's no doubt about it."

BN: Did you ever get to watch any film of him playing?

AR: Over the years, I actually did. Old black and whites. They didn't call him "Golden Wheels" for no reason. He was running past people. He'd catch the ball, he was very elusive in the open field. And I think, really, we kind of resonated with each other because of that, too. He saw film of me as a quarterback and that I was elusive running with the ball. And that was really my signature. But I'm just so grateful that he even blessed me with his presence as a person, not as a football player.

BN: Once again, Steve Tasker couldn't get past the semifinal round for induction into the Hall of Fame. What's your view of his Hall worthiness?

AR: This guy was an important factor in every single game, because one out of every four plays was a special teams play. Steve Tasker not only is the best special teams player ever, but he a lot of times accounted for wins by himself. He changed the game just like Cliff Branch, who didn't make it who should also be there. He was a game-changer. Matthew Slater (a special teams standout for the New England Patriots) and all these guys playing the league now attribute their success to what Steve Tasker did.

Every time I talked to Steve about (being shut out of the Hall), he would be like, "I don't want to talk about that." I would go, "Well, they said that to me, too." I think there's no more deserving guy that would represent that position, a straight-up special-teamer, better than Steve Tasker. Steve impacted every single game that he played in, and I think he should get the same recognition and be looked at the same way as a receiver or running back or a defensive back. Anybody. And that would open the door for the Devin Hesters and the Matthew Slaters maybe down the road.

BN: What are you up to these days?

AR: I'm doing my "Read with Reed" reading program through the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. We have impacted probably 4,000 to 5,000 kids a day with our reading program in the past two years. We're going into our third year of inspiring kids and telling them how important reading is for their futures.

We have an incentive-based program where you have to read a certain amount of books in a certain amount of time, and then the kids that read the most books get to go to an NFL game with me and (co-founder and brand manager) Theresa (Villano), and we get on the field. They see pregame, they meet the players that they want to meet. They just experience something they probably wouldn't have experienced before. And the last name's Reed, too, so there you go.

BN: What made you want to focus on reading?

AR: When Theresa and I talked about this a couple years ago, I said that I didn't remember my mom reading to me when I was at home as a kid. And that's really important in the structure of a family. You come home from school or whatever, you do your homework, and there's books around that your parents can read to you. I didn't have that.

And I wanted to tell these kids my story that I didn't have my mom reading books to me or my dad reading books to me because there was a lot of other (family) drama going on. So the kids read these books, they move their football (indicating how many books they've read in a given period), they score a touchdown, and then they get rewarded. We've done a supersized reading rally in every Super Bowl city for the past three years, so we'll be in Miami doing it.

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At formal swearing-in, McMahon promises collaboration will bring progress –

Posted: at 10:31 am

SYRACUSE, N.Y. Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon promised today at his formal swearing-in ceremony to double down on efforts to work collaboratively with other local officials. The approach has already yielded positive results, he said.

McMahon, who was appointed county executive 14 months ago before winning election in November, said he has focused on strengthening relationships between his office and county legislators, the Syracuse mayor, and town and village officials.

As a result, he said, the community has shown more unity of purpose than it did in the past. Businesses and state and federal officials have noticed and are showing more interest in investing in Syracuse, he said.

McMahon said the recent decisions by two businesses JMA Wireless and Bankers Healthcare Group to expand in Syracuse were influenced by government collaboration. The same is true of Microsofts decision to locate a smart cities hub here, he said.

He promised that collaboration will continue to yield progress.

We have a moment in time as leaders of this community right now to double down on what we know has worked in 2019, he said. And if we can do that, if we can accomplish this, this community will look different.

McMahon said he plans to announce new initiatives at his State of the County Address, which will be Feb. 10 at Onondaga Community College.

Todays formal ceremony in the county legislature chamber followed a private swearing-in Dec. 30. McMahon received prolonged applause today from the audience, which he acknowledged was mainly composed of county workers.

Most of you are my employees, he said. I was looking to see who was clapping the loudest.

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John Nalivka: A Few Thoughts on keeping up the forward progress – Tri-State Livestock News

Posted: at 10:31 am

I started writing this article about the trade opportunities now facing the U.S. beef industry. Stage One of the U.S. China trade agreement has been signed, the Senate ratified (finally) the USMCA, and the new U.S.-Japan trade agreement was implemented on January 1. There may be disagreement on some issues in the beef industry, but I think there is little disagreement, if any, regarding the positive impact of trade. The industry continues to build for the future addressing trade, quality improvement, animal welfare, and sustainable production (I would like to find another word for that).

But, having said all of that, I want to switch gears and jot down a few thoughts on TSLNs article about the Ligocki Ranch in Sheridan, Wyoming (The Cattle Journal, Beef & Business, 2020 Edition). First, this was a great article. But, also in light of my many connections, it truly caught my eye. In addition to being born and raised in Sheridan, a significant part of my family history (my mothers side of the family) was in Sheridan County coal mines. One of my great-grandfathers was the General Superintendent of Sheridan, Wyo. Coal Company, the owner of several of the mines operating in the era mentioned in the article. My other great-grandfather was a mine foreman. I have his and my great-grandmothers original Certificates of Naturalization dated June 19, 1925. When the mine at Monarch closed, my grandparents and my parents moved to Sheridan, the year I was born. My fathers side of the family were coal miners near Rock Springs, Wyo.

Another connection to the article the beef industry. I didnt become a miner. I started working on a ranch in the Powder River Basin when I was in high school (1968) and while my beef industry association now goes beyond the ranch, it was that first ranch job that became the catalyst to a life-long career in the beef industry.

Just as coal mining and the mines near Sheridan have seen significant change, so has the beef industry. TSLNs article illustrates well the changes that have occurred in two of Wyomings as well as the countrys major industries mining and agriculture. Across rural America, close-knit ties were established in both mining and agricultural communities. While change is inevitable, it is important to maintain those community ties built around agriculture and mining that have been the fabric of rural America. At the same time, as the beef industry continues to evolve in order to meet demand from both U.S. and global customers, it is imperative that cattlemen maintain forward progress.

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Lunch break reveals a burglary in progress | Local News – The Star Beacon

Posted: at 10:31 am

ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP A woman returned home for a lunch break Thursday to find strangers in her house eating.

Mackenzie Green, 32, and Daniel Skee Ball Anderson, both of Ashtabula, were charged with burglary, court records state. Anderson, who was arrested on an outstanding warrant, was arraigned Thursday in Ashtabula Municipal Court and Green is due in court for arraignment Thursday.

The homeowner, 74, came to her home in the 3900 block of State Road from work for a lunch break when she found a bald-headed male and two girls, eating in her house, the report states. A window next to her door was busted out so that the door could be unlocked, the report states.

Anderson ran from the residence and the homeowner, fearful, drove around the block and called for help, the report states.

Green was found by the homeowner hiding in an upstairs closet crying and clutching some of Andersons clothing. A deputy found Anderson across the street at his friends home where he was arrested on a warrant, the report states. The third woman, known only as Erica, was not located.

The homeowner did not report finding anything missing from her residence.

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