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Putin’s Crushing Strategy for Syria
Thanassis Cambanis November 20, 2015

In a new article, TCF fellow Thanassis Cambanis discusses Putin's actions in Syria:

History suggests a more pessimistic forecast. Russia might get lucky, winning a diplomatic settlement at an instant when the Islamic State’s attacks have prompted a confluence of interests. More likely, however, Moscow will settle in for a decade of crushing counterinsurgency in Syria, against foes with considerable legitimacy, who represent a possible majority of Syrians and have the backing of some of the world’s richest and most powerful states. Russia has the resources and security to wait and see how the long game plays out, but it’s unlikely to end with either the blitzkrieg for which Assad’s fighters yearn or the hasty and favorable political settlement that Putin’s diplomats are pushing.

Learn more about Russia's intervention in Syria in the Boston Globe.

ISIS’ Rotten Roots
Thanassis Cambanis November 19, 2015

In the aftermath of the Beirut and Paris attacks, it's important to remember the catalyst for ISIS' rise and sustained killings across the Middle East: bad governance. TCF fellow Thanassis Cambanis has a new article on the role that "rotten rulers" have played in maintaining perfect conditions for strife and extremism and why there will continue to be unrest in the region until the issue of just governance is addressed.

An entire rotten cast of Middle East governments has spawned a lost era through misrule and repression. Rotten rulers are the root cause not just of the Islamic State but of hundreds of thousands of other deaths. A partial list of villains includes theocracies like Saudi Arabia and Iran, and secular nationalist states like Egypt and Syria.

See the rest of Cambanis' article in the Boston Globe.

Clear Thinking on Terrorism, Not Myths, Needed After Paris Attacks
Michael Cohen November 18, 2015

Following the Paris attacks, a host of myths have cropped up attempting to explain everything from ISIS' motivations to proposed plans for dealing with the extremist group. TCF fellow Michael Cohen takes four such myths head on in his latest column out today.

It seems, however, that among the pundit class, one emotion above all is dominating: panic. And it’s creating a set of myths about what actually happened in Paris, and what the attacks mean, that could keep us from learning the necessary lessons from Friday’s horrors.

Read more about the four myths discussed by Cohen at World Politics Review.

Where Fed’s critics got it wrong in GOP debate
Mark Thoma November 13, 2015

TCF fellow Mark Thoma calls out the wrongs of Republican candidates who continuously blame the Fed for many of the country's latest economic problems. He says that the Fed did what it could to boost numbers after the Great Recession, even if that meant keeping interest rates low and maintaining its independence.

The Fed is right to be patient, and it will raise rates when the economy is ready, not when it makes politicians of either party happy.

Read Thoma's article from CBS Moneywatch.

Topeka lawyer Harry Colmery built today’s United States with his G.I. Bill
Suzanne Mettler November 10, 2015

Despite having such a widespread impact on the lives of veterans, the GI Bill remains a mystery to many. Also known as the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, the GI Bill was penned by a Topeka Lawyer by the name of Harry W. Colmery, who forever changed history. TCF's Suzanne Mettler cites the importance of educational benefits to veterans in her book, "Soldiers to Citizens," which is mentioned in the article in tribue to Colmery.

Colmery’s work with the American Legion gave him firsthand knowledge of how poorly many veterans had fared after World War I. Maimed from war, many had little help in returning to civilian life. The Great Depression only added to their struggles.
In 1932, 20,000 unemployed veterans had marched to Washington, seeking promised compensation for their service that had never materialized. President Herbert Hoover called out federal troops, led by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and ran them off.

Read the original article from

Learn more about Suzanne Mettler's book Soldiers to Citizens.

Why income inequality grows as people age
Mark Thoma November 9, 2015

Does income inequality grow as people age? TCF's Mark Thoma examines the changes an individual's salary goes through over a lifetime and looks at the factors that influence the widening gap. He says:

Here's where understanding which of these two potential causes -- ability or luck -- matters in determining the types of policy that will be most effective in reducing the growth in inequality as people age. If divergent income growth paths are mainly due to permanent traits such as the level of education and training, then policy should focus on improving programs that offer these skills, particularly for those at the lower end of the wage and salary distribution.

Check out Thoma's full article from CBS Moneywatch.

Separate and unequal: Racial segregation widespread in R.I. public schools
Halley Potter November 9, 2015

The problem of school segregation is far from being eliminated in schools across America. Providence Journal wrote an article explaining that Rhode Island public schools are among the worst offenders of school segregation, even 60 years after the Court ruled segregation as unconstitutional. TCF education fellow Halley Potter defended the case for more school integration, saying:

"There is a huge body of research going back four decades on the benefits of integrated schools," said Halley Potter, a researcher at the Century Foundation, a progressive policy and research group, and co-author of a report on racial and socioeconomic integration.
"For low-income children, it is a huge advantage to go to a school that is socioeconomically mixed. We see that those students have better outcomes on tests scores and better high school graduation rates. Mixed-income schools have an easier time attracting and retaining strong teachers. They tend to be more successful at engaging communities and parents."

Read the full article to learn more about Rhode Island's segregated schools

Education expert: Socioeconomic segregation hurting poor children
Richard D. Kahlenberg November 6, 2015

This week, TCF senior fellow Richard Kahlenberg spoke at a Community Conversation, hosted by UnifiEd, a local nonprofit organization that advocates for educational equality in Hamilton County, Tennessee. The guests at the event were curious about how to inject socioeconomic integration in their school system, and, if possible into the rest of the community. 

"Most of the focus [nationally] is on fixing high-poverty schools and accepting that our schools are going to be racially and economically segregated," Kahlenberg told the crowd. "We don't have to accept segregation as inevitable and should look at creative ways, noncoercive ways, to desegregate our public schools."

Read the full article about the review of the event.

Resisting Bomb Theory, Egypt Finds Itself Increasingly Alone
Michael Wahid Hanna November 6, 2015

Following the bombing of a Russian charter flight departing from a resort area in Egypt, Egyptian officials have staunchly dismissed suggestions that the crash was a result of an act of terrorism. TCF senior fellow Michael Wahid Hanna commented on the investigation into the crash and the need for transparency during this process from the Egyptian government:

“The international community is not going to give Egypt the benefit of the doubt,” said Michael Wahid Hanna, a researcher based at the Century Foundation in New York.

So if the cause of the crash was not a bomb and Egypt hopes to dispel the Western fears, “this is going to have to be an investigation that is of the utmost professionalism and really transparent,” he said.

Read more on this developing story at the New York Times.

Elections come and go; Obamacare is forever
Michael Cohen November 6, 2015

A hefty statistic on the collective number of seats in government that Democrats have lost since President Obama took office in 2009 has been making the rounds lately. But as TCF fellow Michael Cohen writes, while these numbers may be "ugly," they are slightly misleading. What's more, they fail to recognize the major gains that Obama and the Democratic majority achieved during his first few years in office — including passing Obamacare into law.

It’s not surprising that, in a horserace political environment, we overemphasize political results. And there are certainly negative consequences for Democrats of losing so much political ground, particularly in state legislatures. It will take years to claw those seats back, and Republicans still have the ability to repeal major elements of Obama’s legislative legacy. But ultimately, Democrats were likely going to lose many of those seats anyway — what matters most is not politics, but policy, and what Democrats did with their fleeting majorities.

Read the rest of Cohen's article in the Boston Globe.

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