Sunday September 21, 2014
May 29th, 2014
I'll be spending the next couple of days at a forum sponsored by the European Central Bank whose de facto topic - whatever it may say on the program - will be the destructive monetary muddle caused by the Continent's premature adoption of a single currency. What makes the story even sadder is that Europe's financial and macroeconomic woes have overshadowed its remarkable, unheralded longer-term success in an area in which it used to lag: job creation.
My home is like any other, chockablock with stuff that I wouldn't want the world to see: trashy books, cheesy clothes, a cache of scented candles so enormous you might think I'm prepping for some epically smelly apocalypse.
But the most embarrassing thing by far is in a kitchen cupboard, near the Tabasco. It's a green and white bottle of pills - supplements, to use the proper marketing lingo - that are supposed to make me effortlessly slim.
Let's assume, as we always should in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner, had good intentions when he confessed to Inc. magazine Wednesday that he was "bigoted."
Let's assume that Cuban was indeed attempting to be an honest participant in the endlessly ached-for, perpetually stalled "national conversation on race" that many believe is needed but neglected, when he said:
Three days after the publication of Michael Waldman's new book, "The Second Amendment: A Biography," Elliot Rodger, 22, went on a killing spree, stabbing three people and then shooting another eight, killing four of them, including himself. This was only the latest mass shooting in recent memory, going back to Columbine.
There was a moment at the height of the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962 when Soviet ships approached to within just a few miles of a U.S. naval blockade and then, at the last minute, turned back - prompting then-Secretary of State Dean Rusk to utter one of the most famous lines from the Cold War: "We're eyeball to eyeball, and I think the other fellow just blinked."
Have you heard how nuclear power is a low-carbon solution that could ratchet down climate change? Even former Environmental Protection Agency chief Carol Browner is touting the industry for its supposed reliability, low-cost, and diminutive carbon footprint.
For years, including when she served as President Barack Obama’s climate czar, Browner shared the widespread green view best summed up by this slogan: No nukes is good nukes.
Have you heard about Domino’s Pizza CEO J. Patrick Doyle? He pocketed $43 million over the last three years running an operation that stiffs low-wage workers and rakes in taxpayer subsidies.
That news prompted the New York Post to open its coverage with a rather brilliant quip: “Hey, J. Patrick Doyle, save some dough for the pizzas.”
The young man approached with an air of furtive urgency, covering his mouth with his hand. "Please can you tell me," he asked, "what happened in 1989?"
In China, there is a single answer to that question: the Tiananmen Square massacre, 25 years ago next week. The quarter-century mark is not auspicious in Chinese culture, but the date itself has acquired iconic significance: 6/4 is to China what 9/11 is to the United States.
Of all the things that have been said in the nonstop chatter since an obviously deranged young man killed six college students here in Southern California last weekend, by far the dumbest comes from Washington, D.C., where The Washington Post's film critic actually said that these mass murders were tied to white men in Hollywood promoting "escapist fantasies" that "revolve around vigilantism and sexual wish-fulfillment."
"Have you heard of Irish amnesia?," a jolly Irish-American friend once joked. "It's when you forget everything but the grudges."
Indeed, I responded, a lot of us black folks can identify with that: We forget everything but our "40 acres and a mule."