Maiello: Human Rights and the Stock Market
Doc Cleveland: Fear Itself: Ukraine Edition
And on a Lighter Note, CPAC Starts Today!
...it is real and Ms. and Mr. Destor did it. On the news.
I don't usually agree with Anne Applebaum, a hawkish, right-wing foreign policy thinker, but she brings up an interesting point about the London Stock Exchange listing of Rosneft, back in 2006. The LSE offered legitimacy to a company built by Putin's expropriation of Yukos, a company run by a Russian oligarch who probably wasn't quite the white hat he's been made out to be since running afoul of Russia's elected strong man. [Read more]
The single most important thing Barack Obama needs to do about Ukraine is not to panic. The single most important thing anyone else in the United States can do about Ukraine is not to panic Barack Obama. Developments in the Crimea are extremely dangerous, and that's exactly why everybody needs to calm down.
I have no idea whether or not Obama is handling this situation well or badly. Neither does anybody else who's not party to what he's telling other international leaders on private lines. How Obama is handling things is about what he's saying to people like Angela Merkel and about how those people responding. I don't think there will be any way to measure his success or failure for a while.
I am cleaning out my workspace, in preparation for messing up a new one and I came across a pamphlet I have been carrying around ever since it was given to my by Robert Lenzner, then national editor of Forbes in 2000. It is called Life Without Treasury Securities and was written by Albert M. Wojnilower an economist and then advisor to Monitor Clipper Partners, a private equity firm and Craig Drill Capital, a long-lived hedge fund.
"In the year 2013, according to the new Federal budget, the U.S. Government will have retired the public debt." [Read more]
KIEV - "Protest This!™" a revolutionary new App that promises to help users easily meet and assemble against unpopular regimes, was shot down like a dog today in the streets of Kiev.
"Wow. Never saw that coming," said App creator Nick Johnson, 20, from his parents' home in Cleveland. "That's messed up." [Read more]
Every writer is jealous of other writers. Whether it’s fame or fortune or talent, we can’t help but snivel a little when they become Them and we’re still just us.
Most of us do it in silence or in the midst of a narrow group of co-commiserators. Not many (Okay, a few, but they’re gone now) do it as publicly as a writer named Lynn Shepherd did recently when she wrote a blog post on HuffPo UK telling J.K. Rowling she’s had her turn and if she had any decency at all she’d hang it up and give someone else a chance. [Read more]
CLEVELAND - UPS driver Tim Johnston woke up one day last week with a feeling of dread. A feeling that things just weren't right. So often he felt this way but never spoke up about it. But this time, he wasn't going to let it pass. This time, he was going to speak out.
"Gravity is BS," said Johnston. "I've thought about this for awhile and it just doesn't add up." [Read more]
Speaking as an American, which is something I often do, let me just say that I am outraged by the complete lack of American military intervention in Ukraine right now. America and the Obama Administration are once again refusing to show true leadership.
You’ve seen the pictures coming from Ukraine. It’s a mess. Total chaos. This is why the time to act is now. And act with confidence and focus. [Read more]
I have to admit that this sentiment has been on the tip of my tongue for a long while. Brett Easton Ellis just comes out and says to Vice that:
"You have to understand that I’m coming to these things as a member of the most pessimistic and ironic generation that has ever roamed the earth. When I hear Millennials getting hurt by "cyber bullying," or it being a gateway to suicide, it’s difficult for me to process. A little less so for my boyfriend, who happens to be a millennial of that age, but even he somewhat agrees with the sensitivity of Generation Wuss." [Read more]
Last summer, in a comment thread that was originally about something else, some of the dagbloggers got me into a side conversation about Shakespeare and linguistics. In that conversation, Orlando wished that I would blog about Shakespeare more often since, you know, I actually work on him for a living. [Read more]
The New York Federal Reserve Bank believes that David M. Cotes, the gazillionaire Chairman and CEO of Honeywell Inc. is best qualified to "to represent the public 'with due but not exclusive consideration to the interests of agriculture, commerce, industry, services, labor and consumers.'" These directors are chosen and elected by the commercial bank members of the regional Federal Reserve. They do not make policy but the advice they give influences decisions at the regional Fed level and, ultimately, at the level of the United States Federal Reserve System. [Read more]
For days now, since I heard about the death of Jamie Coots, the snake-handling preacher from Middlesboro, Kentucky, I've been struggling with my own thoughts about it. There is no reason in the world why I should be involved in any of it. I didn't know him. I had never before heard of his church. And I didn't know before this weekend, when I read about his death, that he had been the star of a National Geographic Channel series called "Snake Salvation".
Gun-rights advocates love to quote Robert Heinlein's line that "An armed society is a polite society." Heinlein argued that in a culture where many are packing lethal weapons, people are more careful with their manners because they're afraid of being killed over a minor lapse of etiquette. Heinlein is wrong on his facts; history makes it very clear that real armed societies don't work that way. But what's really ghastly is that Heinlein and his fans imagine his fantasy as a good thing. The belief that "an armed society is a polite society" depends on a conviction that murder is better than bad manners.
Here’s the thing about self-help: If you’re reading a book or an article about how to fix your current miserable existence, or listening to a self-described “expert” tell you and hordes of others how to fix it, it’s not even close to being self-help.
It’s not that these folks don’t want to help you. They do! They really, really do! The goal is to help you to let go and try their tactics on your own. (But not to such a degree that you won’t be buying their next book or watching their next program.) [Read more]
The notion that work is dignity sure seems convenient for those whose fortunes depend on other people's willing labor. Or, hey, I don't want to make my own sandwich, so grab yourself some dignity and a block of swiss, my friend.
The issue has been raised regarding Obamacare which, functioning as promised, has decoupled some people from the work force as they are now able to get health insurance through the government exchange rather than through their employers. We won't know for some time if people are leaing to pursue their own business ideas or if they are leaving to follow their bliss.  [Read more]
At a Town Hall meeting held last week in Oklahoma, an audience member raised her hand and said to Jim Bridenstine, a congressman from the First District, “Obama is not president as far as I’m concerned. He should be executed as an enemy combatant.”
Read that again: "Obama is not president as far as I'm concerned. He should be executed as an enemy combatant." (Video here.)
I'd love it if we could keep discussions of, um, current events to the other thread. This one is about the movies...
You can condition your tastes. I believe that. But what I love most about art, high and low, is that it gives us an opportunity to be honest about our reactions to things without the stakes getting too high. What I love most about comedy is that as an audience member, you can't fake it. Watching comedy is like having sex. You can try to be polite but if the other person is paying attention they know whether or not they got a laugh. [Read more]
So, J. K. Rowling has told an interviewer (the actress Emma Watson), that she paired off the wrong characters at the end of her Harry Potter series. Instead of marrying Harry's right-hand girl Hermione off to his left-hand boy Ron, Rowling has decided that she should have married Hermione to Harry himself. So, Rowling concludes, she was wrong when she wrote the books. In fact, she's wrong now.
Nick Kristof is, by his own admission, friends with Mia and Ronan Farrow, two people who have been pursuing their vendetta against Woody Allen for years. If you follow any of the coverage at all, that much is clear. Mia and Ronan hate Woody Allen and say so in public, at every opportunity. For his part, Allen says nothing about them. Now, Kristof sees fit to publish Dylan Farrow's allegations of childhood sexual abuse by the filmmaker. Laughably, Kristof covers himself by saying that Allen refused to give him an on the record interview. He then references Allen's previous denials but weakens them by claiming that when the issues were raised back in 1992 that the prosecutor claimed to have enough evidence to bring charges but didn't in orde [Read more]
Flying during the winter months has become an increasingly dicey proposition in 21st-century America. I make a handful of work-related plane trips a year, but the ones I do make tend to be for things that can't be rescheduled easily and often can't be rescheduled at all. I'm sure this is true for travelers in other kinds of business, but it's certainly true for academics: if you don't get there on the right day, the thing you were traveling to do may simply never happen. And American airlines can't quite promise to get you where you need to go any more, for reasons that have both to do with changing weather patterns and with a set of catastrophically-shortsighted business strategies that have become accepted as normal.
It would be lovely to never worry about money and to work only for the love of it rather than the need to care for ourselves and others that drives most of us out of our warm houses and apartments on frigid days where, all things being equal, we would just rather not. I imagine that if more of us had real choices about how to spend our days that it would be tougher to find somebody to pay to make you a sandwich but that we'd all be happier for it.
Judging by the behavior of the upper, upper crust, though, I might be wrong. Extreme wealth, it seems, also involves the paranoiac fear that it can all be taken away. [Read more]