Wednesday, January 10, 2018

GIFTS OF MANUSCRIPTS | NY Public Library and LoC Policy

L to R: Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Miller
The kerfuffle over Arthur Miller's archive ended up with the papers being deposited in Austin, Texas and not New Haven, Connecticut.

This has prompted me to look up what the guidelines are for giving manuscripts to libraries.

The two greatest libraries in the United States are the NY Public Library and the Library of Congress. 

Here is what the NY Public Library – the library with by far the largest number of visitors – has to say:

Here is what the Library of Congress says:

These are two of the five greatest (largest) libraries of the world, the others being the Bodleian (Oxford), the British Library (London) and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris). This is not to put down the many smaller libraries that may be tops in their specialized areas.

For a charitable deduction from taxable U.S. income, my understanding is that gifts to foreign libraries would have to be through a charity based in the United States.


Glenn Simpson
Here are some links relating to the Glenn Simpson testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Full Transcript. From Senator Feinstein, Ranking Member of the Committee.

Full Transcript. New York Times format, interactive.

Rolling Stone explains the Simpson transcript.

FBI had contact inside the Trump campaign.

Was Russia trying to blackmail Trump?

Feud over Steele dossier intensifies.

INTERNSHIP | Washington, DC

U.S. Capitol
The following is a good opportunity for a recent college graduate seeking to gain experience in office management and economic policy research in Washington, D.C. 

The year 2018 will be interesting.

The position supports the work of an economic policy research and advocacy firm participating in the national economic policy making process.

The intern will be interfacing with legislators, academics, public interest groups, and progressive organizations via engagement in economic policy legislative and political projects with a focus on fiscal and financial policy. 

Start Date:   Immediately or sooner
Location:   Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.

Compensation:  Competitive, commensurate with experience and performance, roughly $15-20/hr, plus expenses 

Schedule: Flexible; 20-40 hrs/week

  • Organize and schedule appointments
  • Coordinate and facilitate conference calls
  • Plan meetings and take detailed notes
  • Assist in distribution of a regular newsletter 
  • Assist in tracking timelines for projects and tracking specific to-do lists
  • Book travel arrangements
  • Occasional event planning and tech support (iPhone, printer, wireless networks)
  • Proven experience as an administrative assistant, or office admin assistant
  • Knowledge of office management systems and procedures and office equipment
  • Proficiency in MS Office/Google Drive, and MailChimp programs
  • Excellent time management skills, the ability to prioritize work, pay attention to detail, and troubleshoot problems
  • Excellent written and verbal communication and organizational skills
  • General familiarity with fiscal, financial, and economic policy issues
  • Bachelor’s degree
To apply, send a copy of your resume and a cover letter to: 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

ART BIZ | Met Charge Is Criticized

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the world's largest cultural institution,
has been having financial difficulties. Their solution is to impose a
mandatory fee for non-residents of NY State, for the first time since 1970.
Welcome signs and verse below by JT Marlin.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Is now charging at the gate.
Prove that you're from the State...
Or twenty-five bucks is the rate.
A panel of senior art critics for The New York Times has denounced the move by the world’s largest cultural institution, the Metropolitan Museum of Art ("The Met", also confusingly the nickname of the Metropolitan Opera) to start, on March 1, charging a fee for admission to out-of-staters. 

This policy reverses one established in 1970 that a voluntary donation to the Met is all that is required for admission. The new policy imposes two new entry barriers. Either produce acceptable identification to prove you are a resident of NY State, OR pay $25 to be admitted.

The Met says that the fee is needed to ensure a steadier flow of revenue, because the number of visitors paying the "suggested donation" of $25 is sharply declining.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

NET NEUT | Senate Vote?

L to R: Senators Feinstein, Schumer, Collins.
With the swearing-in of Alabama Democrat Doug Jones, the Senate Republican majority is a slender 51-49.

So it is significant that  and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) opposed the repeal of net neutrality.  

The FCC voted to repeal its own net neutrality rules last week, and the repeal will take effect 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. This means that the big internet service providers (ISPs) can offer differ speeds and quality of feed based on payment. This offers the ISPs great potential for new revenue. Think of how much money the railroads were able to squeeze out of their clients when they started playing with the prices. The Federal Government followed the British by imposing rules on interstate "common carriers"...

Could the Congress reinstate the Federal Communications Commission's 3-2 decision to repeal net neutrality rules? 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said last month that he will force a vote on a bill that would reverse the repeal. Congress can overturn agency actions by invoking the Congressional Review Act (CRA), as it did in 2017 to eliminate consumer broadband privacy protections.

A successful CRA vote here would prevent the FCC from enforcing its repeal or issuing a similar repeal in the future. The FCC would have to maintain the rules and the related classification of ISPs as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act.


This debate could turn on the big business vs. small business issue. 

The large Internet Service Providers would like to be able to provide premium services, trading higher fees for better access to the internet. Large businesses (and speculators looking for an edge) would be glad to pay for faster access to data than the general public. 

The reasonable fear among small businesses and consumers in general is that their internet access will be either 

  • greatly degraded or 
  • much more expensive or
  • (most likely) both.

Monday, January 1, 2018

ECONOMIC IMPACT OF 9/11 | Health Effects and the Zadroga Act

The Destruction of the Twin Towers Resulted in
Injuries that Took Time to Reveal Themselves.
You probably know that in contrast with prior wars, the continuing war in the Middle East is creating relatively many more injured soldiers. The medical and human costs of their injuries have been high.

The health effects of the attacks on the two World Trade Center Towers seemed more like earlier wars. Three thousand people died, and few people reported to the hospitals with visible injuries. Those who were burned or buried by the Towers, including many NYPD and NYFD rescuers, mostly were killed in seconds or minutes. 

The hospitals were all standing by after the 9/11 attacks, but they had little to do compared with expectations. Few injured people survived to take to the hospitals. 

In fact, the rescuers did suffer illnesses and injuries, but in most cases they took months to show themselves.

I am interested in this subject because in the aftermath of both the 1993 and 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, as Chief Economist for the New York City Comptroller, I was asked to assess the economic damage caused by the attacks. I maintained then, and still believe, that there would be a long tail to the indirect economic effects of the attacks. This would be consistent with the impact of recent wars in the Middle East on the American military.

The Rousmaniere Study

My friend Peter F. Rousmaniere (, a risk-management professional who writes frequently on occupational risks, studied the problems of the surviving World Trade Center workers and rescuers. He tallied the problems they faced in seeking compensation for illnesses they contracted that they believe are attributable to the conditions under which they worked at the WTC site.

Rousmaniere's study was published in 2007 as four award-winning articles, under the title "Up in Smoke", in Risk & Insurance Magazine, a leading business publication. The articles identified three independent failures in handling compensation:

1. Safety Enforcement at Ground Zero Was Poor. Enforcement of safety was well below recognized standards, even after making allowance for the scale of the challenge. It was long after September 2001 before officials formalized even a basic safety plan.

2. No One Monitored Workers' Health. Even though it was well known that rescue workers were vulnerable to slowly emerging diseases, their health and exposure was not monitored – by employers, insurers or the City of New York. This failure greatly increased the uncertainty today about the health status of tens of thousands of workers. It is axiomatic that workers exposed to high levels of toxic materials should be monitored regularly for their health status. The only workers who were monitored carefully were New York City firefighters. Tens of thousands of workers were allowed into ground zero in September 2001 and the weeks following without any check on their existing health status, which makes it difficult to do a before-and-after analysis. There was an inadequate attempt to check up on them soon afterwards. Confusion today about the actual health status and prognosis of these workers can be directly linked to the absence of medical surveillance from the start.

3. The Workers Compensation System Collapsed. The State system was inadequate as a provider of medical and disability support, which inflamed demands for support from the Federal Government and through judicial awards. The workers compensation system of New York was created in part out of reaction to the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire. Since then, the system has restricted access to persons who acquire diseases at work, such as lung conditions and post-traumatic stress disorders. Substantial numbers of World Trade Center workers have symptoms of these diseases. Workers compensation law is expressly designed to frustrate claims arising from disasters except from those whose full-time work is emergency response. Not until 2006 was the law amended to give these workers fairer access to benefits.

Rousmaniere's Proposals

Rousmaniere drew several lessons from his study of the handling of worker compensation for World Trade Center workers, and made three proposals:

1. Define Who Is in Charge of Disaster Sites. In advance of emergencies, a plan should identify organizations and leaders who have the resources, knowledge and training to carry out the response. New York City in 2001 prided itself on its readiness for emergencies. But its expensive emergency center was in the World Trade Center itself and was destroyed. It missed basic steps. The Federal Government responded slowly and inadequately. If a professional New York City failed, what hope do other cities have of responding on their own?

2. Install a Federal Medical Monitoring System. The system should take in all workers responding to emergencies.

3. Create a Federal Program to Compensate Disaster Workers.  Legal barriers to benefits from the state workers compensation systems exist in most states.

Rousmaniere concluded that in the absence of these actions, the price in death and disability among workers responding to a pandemic in the future may be high. Workers might otherwise not respond in future with the dedication that they showed after 9/11.

The Zadroga Act

Senator Bob Menendez and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney initially co-sponsored the bill that became the The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The bill failed to pass in 2006, but a modified version (after Rousmaniere's articles were published) passed both houses in 2010 and was signed by President Barack Obama at the beginning of 2011.

The Zadroga Act provides both health monitoring and financial aid to first responders, volunteers, and survivors of the September 11 attacks. It is named after James Zadroga, a New York Police Department officer whose death was linked to exposures from the World Trade Center disaster.

The law funds and establishes a health program to provide medical treatment for responders and survivors who experienced or may experience health complications related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

A reauthorization bill, sponsored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, passed in 2015, with coverage extended to 2090. In 2016 the first compensation was paid under the Zadroga Act for World Trade Center emergency workers.

To subscribe to this blog, or its comments, or to search its contents or to forward a post using G+, see the options at top right.