Archive - 2014

Date

May 12th

Now That's Rich

    Institutional Investor's latest "rich list" in its Alpha magazine, its survey of the 25 highest-paid hedge fund managers, is out - and it turns out that these guys make a lot of money. Surprise!

    Yet before we dismiss the report as nothing new, let's think about what it means that these 25 men (yes, they're all men) made a combined $21 billion in 2013. In particular, let's think about how their good fortune refutes several popular myths about income inequality in America.

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Playing politics with Benghazi

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Nigeria's stolen girls, clueless leaders

    Why, many are asking, did it take the world so long to pay much attention to the kidnapping of more than 300 schoolgirls by Muslim fanatics in Nigeria?

    For starters, the buck stops with President Goodluck Jonathan, among other Nigerian political leaders who clumsily tried to sweep the crisis under a rug.

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May 8th

She Had to Tell What She Knew

    Mary Willingham remembers the exact moment when she realized she had to go public. It was at the memorial service in the fall of 2012 for Bill Friday, the former president of the University of North Carolina. During his long career, Friday had championed the amateur ideal - the notion that college athletes needed also to be students, and that academics mattered as much as wins.

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Black athletes are not charity cases

    The outrageously bigoted remarks attributed to the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team mock the positive role black athletes have played in professional sports, even as those sports have served as an exit ramp from poverty.

    Perhaps the most incredible of Clippers owner Donald Sterling's taped remarks came when his former girlfriend reminded him that he had a whole team made up of black players. His response was:

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Burning the Beret

    Monica Lewinsky says she would meet me for a drink.

    I'm game.

    In her new meditation in Vanity Fair, Monica mashes Hawthorne and Coleridge, proclaiming that she's ready to rip off her "scarlet-A albatross," "reimagine" her identity and reclaim her narrative.

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Go Big, Get Crazy

    Up to now, Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, has been playing a weak hand in Ukraine very well. I mean, how strong are you when your allies insist on wearing masks? But Putin thinks he knows his adversaries better than they know themselves. He thinks the Americans will never be serious about energy, that the Europeans will never be serious about sanctions, that the Ukrainian reformers will never be serious about governance, and that he can control the separatist forces he's unleashed in eastern Ukraine and dial them up or down as he pleases.

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In Drought, Fortunes Are Made

    This summer, even drinking water may be hard to find in some central California towns. This region is in its third year of drought, among the worst in recorded history.

    Yet agribusinesses are planting huge new groves of thirsty almond and pistachio trees. Bear in mind, these are permanent plantings. A quick crop such as alfalfa can be plowed under during a water crisis. Trees and vines, on the other hand, need years to mature. An acre could be a $3 million investment.

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Senate Democrats' prospects brighten in South

    Democrats are cautiously optimistic they can hang on to the Senate this year. Surprisingly, this bright forecast is fueled by a sense they'll do better than expected in close contests in the Republican-dominated, Barack Obama-hating South.

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Time for some happy talk

    Democrats, if you want to win in the fall, take some advice from Pharrell Williams: "Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth."

    The Mountie-hat-wearing pop singer's infectious "Happy" should be the Democratic Party's theme song for the midterm election. Despite Republican claims to the contrary, things are definitely looking up. Democrats ought to be clicking their heels and spreading the good news.

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