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HKS in the News July 10, 2012

1. Sanctions alone won’t faze Iran (O’Sullivan) The Boston Herald

2. The Opportunity Gap (Putnam) The New York Times

3. Is Google a Monopoly? Wrong Question (Crawford) Bloomberg News

4. The ABCs Of Politicians (King) NPR

5. Cerberus's health care play (Glynn) Commonwealth (MA)

6. To stub out smoking, ban cigarette sales to anyone born this century (Nolan) The Sydney Morning Herald

Sanctions alone won’t faze Iran

The Boston Herald

July 10

Commentary by: Meghan O’Sullivan, Belfer Center

Topic: Sanctions against Iran

The latest Iran sanctions came into full effect last week, adding to a byzantine array of unilateral and multilateral measures that prohibit Iranian oil imports, other trade and financial transactions, and freeze Iranian assets by countries concerned that Tehran’s nuclear program is intended for military purposes, not civilian ones.

The international community is now on watch for cracks in Iran’s defiant stance: Will increased sanctions compel Tehran to make real concessions and allow for a diplomatic solution to the standoff? This characterization is too simplistic, however, and the record suggests there may be some reasons to be optimistic that current sanctions on Iran will deliver. …

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The Opportunity Gap

The New York Times

July 9

Cited: Research by Robert Putnam

Topic: Unequal opportunity in America

Over the past few months, writers from Charles Murray to Timothy Noah have produced alarming work on the growing bifurcation of American society. Now the eminent Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam and his team are coming out with research that’s more horrifying.

While most studies look at inequality of outcomes among adults and help us understand how America is coming apart, Putnam’s group looked at inequality of opportunities among children. They help us understand what the country will look like in the decades ahead. The quick answer? More divided than ever.

Putnam’s data verifies what many of us have seen anecdotally, that the children of the more affluent and less affluent are raised in starkly different ways and have different opportunities. Decades ago, college-graduate parents and high-school-graduate parents invested similarly in their children. Recently, more affluent parents have invested much more in their children’s futures while less affluent parents have not. …

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Is Google a Monopoly? Wrong Question

Bloomberg News

July 8

Commentary by: Susan Crawford, Shorenstein Center

Topic: Google and antitrust regulations

Google responded last week to European antitrust regulators investigating a long list of claims against the world’s largest search engine. Whether or not the complaints against Google are valid, they may be looking backward. Increasingly, Google is not a search engine.

Yes, Google accounts for 80 percent of all Web searches in Europe. It is facing criticism (some of it prompted by Microsoft) for favoritism toward Google’s own specialty search products -- travel, finance, hotels, restaurants, maps -- that may put its competitors at a disadvantage. In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission has also been investigating Google for the past year.

As pressure mounts on Google to change its practices, it’s not clear whether antitrust regulators are asking the right questions. Although European Commission authorities are focused on Google’s familiar Web pages of blue links, and the prominence of Google products on those pages, Google seems to be heading in a different direction. It wants to be whispering to individual users by way of its Google devices. …

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The ABCs Of Politicians


July 9

Quoted: David King

Topic: Politics in America

First, politicians began omitting their party affiliations on campaign literature and websites. Politics "is a dirty word," says David King, a lecturer on public policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. King told the MetroWest Daily News: "Why would you want to put it right out there; why would you sell a shirt with a stain on it? You need to appeal on other terms by downplaying partisanship."

Then politicians started hiding the fact that they were incumbents — so as not to be saddled with present conditions. In June, the bipartisan watchdog group California Forward reported that "at least 10 sitting California state lawmakers running for re-election or new seats avoided disclosing their political office on the ballot by, instead, self-identifying as small business owners, farmers, or physicians." …

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Cerberus's health care play

Commonwealth (MA)

July 10

Quoted: Thomas Glynn, Malcolm Wiener Center

Topic: Healthcare in Massachusetts

… Steward (Health Care) officials say they will turn a profit this year and are poised to take their health care experiment beyond the state’s borders and onto a national stage. (Ralph) De la Torre declined to talk to CommonWealth (his spokesman says he is booked for months), but there is no shortage of people in the state’s health care community who will talk about him, as long as their comments are kept off the record. Many expect him and Cerberus to crash and burn in Massachusetts, but no one is saying that publicly. In­deed, de la Torre is riding high right now. Boston magazine, in its April “power issue,” put de la Torre on the cover, ranking him 12th among the 50 most powerful people in Boston, right behind Gary Gottlieb, his counterpart at the much larger Partners HealthCare, the corporate parent of Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Tom Glynn , a former Partners HealthCare executive who is now a lecturer in public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, says de la Torre deserves all the attention. “If you asked me which health care leader over the last five years has had the greatest impact, I’d say Ralph de la Torre. It’s been a great first act,” he says. “The question is: What’s his second act? He’s assembled this thing, but how’s he going to make it profitable?” …

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To stub out smoking, ban cigarette sales to anyone born this century

The Sydney Morning Herald

July 10

Commentary by: Cameron Nolan MPA 2013

Topic: Curbing cigarette sales in Australia

Imagine cigarettes did not exist. Now imagine that some plucky upstart - let's call him Philip Morris - invented them and asked regulators for approval to sell his product. You can hear the laughter from the offices of Product Safety Australia as Morris explains that he wants to commercialise a product that has the perverse combination of being both highly addictive and deadly.

Even asbestos, banned in Australia in 2003, shares only one of these characteristics. Yet this is not the world we live in. We live in a world in which the mass commercialisation of cigarettes in the early 20th century rapidly outpaced our understanding of their health consequences. …

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This selection of media appearances is compiled by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs.

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