Wednesday August 27, 2014
May 12th, 2014
When terrorists in Nigeria organized a secret attack last month, they didn't target an army barracks, a police department or a drone base. No, Boko Haram militants attacked what is even scarier to a fanatic: a girls' school.
That's what extremists do. They target educated girls, their worst nightmare.
This election season is going to be all about women.
OK, not entirely. Men will be involved on many significant levels, like running the network of oligarchs who take advantage of our weakened campaign finance laws to manipulate the American democratic process in pursuit of their own selfish ends. That's definitely a guy thing.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Monica Lewinsky says she would meet me for a drink.
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.
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.
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.