’Draining the swamp’ doesn’t mean gutting entire State Department

first_imgForeign aid does need to be more strategic and effective.The department’s legendarily bad computer systems need an overhaul.And, not to put too fine a point on it, the department’s tribal bureaucratic culture needs to be opened up. But neither Tillerson nor Trump has helped the cause of reform with their morale-sapping words and actions.It will be up to Congress, which has put forward a more robust budget, to check the worst aspects of Tillerson’s plan, much of which would require legislative approval anyway.And it will fall to civic and business leaders (not to mention policy wonks, aka the Blob) to more forcefully articulate, to the president and the public, the value of robust diplomacy. More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen? Only nine out of 28 undersecretaries or assistant secretaries of state have been nominated or confirmed.Among the dozens of ambassadorships without even a nominee are those for vital partners such as Australia, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea and Turkey. Asked about the department’s many empty slots, Trump responded, “I’m the only one that matters, because when it comes to it, that’s what the policy is going to be.“ Tillerson’s plans to “redesign“ his department have resulted in a hiring freeze and rescinded job offers, as well as a crude effort to encourage middle-ranking officers out the door by pushing them into clerical work.Yet he seems puzzled by reports of poor morale. It’s not that Tillerson doesn’t have some good ideas.There are too many special envoys. Categories: Editorial, OpinionThere’s a difference between taming the bureaucracy and decimating it.What President Donald Trump and Secretary Rex Tillerson are doing to the State Department is the latter, making it far more difficult for the department to advance U.S. interests around the world. The secretary of state’s plans to reorganize the department may well make sense.But the details have been kept from the public as well as the rank-and-file, raising unneeded suspicion.Meanwhile, the president has given every indication that he doesn’t believe in a cornerstone of democratic governance: the idea that a career diplomatic corps can be relied on to discharge its duties regardless of who’s in office. High-ranking Foreign Service officers have been pushed into retirement.last_img read more

Letters to the Editor for Monday, July 22

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionCuomo must shut down Dunn dumpIn addition to looking into the St. Clare’s pension disaster, Gov. Andrew Cuomo should “look into” the public health crises in Rensselaer caused by continued dumping at the Dunn construction and debris (C&D) landfill.Rensselaer residents experience considerable tractor-trailer truck traffic in the downtown each weekday, with noise, dirt, dust, diesel exhaust, vibrations, and congestion. Stand along Broadway near the Amtrak station bridge ramp at 6:40 a.m. to experience it yourself.Equally bad are the frequent dump odors (now more than 150 complaints made on ItStinks.org) many residents notice and report.Odors are often persistent, intense, inescapable and unhealthy.  Dust and dirt blow off the dump and probably contain a huge volume and variety of poisons because no one knows what all is being dumped. Microscopic particulates can be inhaled and trapped deep in the lungs. Dangerous toxins may be airborne, even when odors are not detectable.  The 99-acre dump towers over Rensselaer and borders the city’s public-school buildings and ball fields. Dump owners desire to keep it open for many more years, as evidenced by a 10-year renewable memorandum signed last December between the Rensselaer school district and dump owners.  Many Rensselaer and East Greenbush residents are demanding the immediate closure of the dump. Gov. Cuomo should protect the public health and shut the dump.  Tom EllisAlbanyLawmakers failed on important issuesWhen I think of everything that our state Legislature failed to accomplish during this session, it turned my stomach to see so many of our local legislators congratulating themselves at the grand opening of the sports betting addition to Rivers Casino.They were able to pass the gambling initiative and driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. They even passed the “Lemonade Law” to allow children to operate lemonade stands near the track.Unfortunately they couldn’t address the safety regulations on limo services or help the pensioners from St. Clare’s Hospital in their quest to receive the money that was promised to them for their retirements. They also never even addressed the problem of ethics reform that has plagued the state for decades.I would love to see the legislators who were at the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Rivers Casino explain themselves to the families of the victims of the Schoharie limo crash and the people who worked their careers at St. Clare’s.Tell them how allowing people to bet on football, baseball and basketball is more important than their legitimate concerns.I realize that both our idiot governor and dysfunctional legislative body have viewed gambling as a cure-all for all the state’s problems for years. But this time, they have really gone too far. If they’re not going to address the real problems in our state, at least have the class to not rub our noses in it by congratulating themselves in public. Shame on all of them.John AngillettaScotiaWhere’s Stefanik’s outrage at Cuomo?So Rep. Elise Stefanik finds President Trump’s comments on the four Democratic congresswomen “inappropriate, denigrating, and wrong.”I wonder where Rep. Stefanik and dozens of other state representatives and senators were two years ago when Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated that anyone who did not believe in unrestricted abortion and gay marriage “does not belong in New York state.” Or when, to celebrate the signing of the “Reproductive Health” law, Cuomo ordered the Freedom Tower to be lighted in pink.Millions of tax-paying New Yorkers were offended and repelled by Cuomo’s hateful comments and actions, but Rep. Stefanik and her compatriots among the Democrats, along with the usually outraged media, took a pass on criticizing him.But I guess anyone who sees hypocrisy here is one of those “deplorables.”  Just ask any commentator on CNN.Michael NardacciAlbanyMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18last_img read more

Knight Frank commits new team to Europe

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Official government business

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Swindon industrial: Honda kickstarts Keypoint

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A rough guide to Cumbria

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Retail: City centre bursting at the seams

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Property’s revolution

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China says US reaction to virus spreads ‘panic’

first_imgSweeping new restrictions will also be imposed on American citizens, with those returning from the province at the disease’s epicentre placed in facilities for a mandatory 14-day quarantine.There have been eight confirmed US cases of the new coronavirus, which originated in a live seafood market in Wuhan, in China’s Hubei province. The virus has since spread to more than 24 countries, despite many governments imposing unprecedented travel bans on people coming from China.The World Health Organization has already declared the outbreak a global emergency, and the Chinese death toll has risen to 362 while total infections reached over 17,000, surpassing the SARS epidemic of two decades ago.On Sunday the first foreign death from the virus was reported in the Philippines. China accused the United States on Monday of spreading “panic” in its response to the deadly coronavirus, including imposing a ban on Chinese travellers.The US “hasn’t provided any substantial assistance” and has only created “panic”, said foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying at a regular press briefing. Washington on Friday declared a public health emergency and temporarily banned the entry of foreign nationals who have travelled to China over the past two weeks, to contain the spread of the outbreak. Topics :last_img read more

Tanoto, UNICEF to create tools to help Indonesia attain educational equity SDG by 2030

first_imgTanoto Foundation has granted UNICEF Rp 2.8 billion (US$196,556) to develop versions of the Early Childhood Development Instrument (ECDI) and the Caregiver Reported Early Development Index (CREDI) measurement instruments that have been adapted for Indonesia.These tools provide population data on the developmental statuses of children aged 0 to 3 years and 3 to 5 years. UNICEF will test and validate the data collected through these tools that Statistics Indonesia (BPS) can then use for the 2020 National Economic and Social Survey.“Intervention for young children is the key to developing Indonesia’s human resources, and it is one of our focus areas. Measuring and monitoring are important, as we work with evidence-based principles,” Tanoto Foundation global CEO J. Satrijo Tanudjojo said in a statement The Jakarta Post received on Thursday.  “I am looking forward to the partnership with UNICEF to develop this measurement method that can then become a contribution to the nation,” he added. Tanoto Foundation is an independent philanthropy organization that focuses on education.UNICEF Indonesia representative Debora Comini echoed Satrijo, saying that it was highly important to develop tools to help relevant stakeholders in measuring and monitoring early childhood development in Indonesia.“Investing in children to help them reach their full potential is critical, but to give every child the best start in life, we need to have the right data,” Comini said in the statement. Indonesia’s Tanoto Foundation has joined hands with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to develop the first tools for measuring early childhood development in the country, in an effort to support Indonesia in achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4.SDG 4 aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.More specifically, the tools are intended to help the country meet Target 4.2 by 2030: “ensure that all boys and girls have access to quality early childhood development, care, and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education”.center_img Topics :last_img read more