Are the 1950s coming back? The U.S. and Russia appear to be vying for influence on Cuba again, one with a handshake and the other with money.
The White House says Barack Obama's handshake with Cuban counterpart Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral was not planned and carried no political meaning. Be that as it may, analysts speculated about its implications, and Senator John McCain went so far as to compare it to World War II-era British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain shaking hands with Hitler. Bearing out the theory that the leader of the free world greeting a dictator is great publicity for the latter, Granma, the Cuban Communist Party's newspaper, ran a photo of the handshake and pointed out that it was a historic first.Read more »
Representative Paul Ryan's long-shot presidential aspirations weren't helped by the budget deal he crafted with Democratic Senator Patty Murray this week. The agreement is already drawing fire from movement conservatives.
For now, the Wisconsin Republican, and 2012 vice-presidential nominee, has his sights set on becoming the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee in the next Congress. The current chairman, Representative Dave Camp of Michigan, has to step aside under the party's term-limit rules.Read more »
In many ways Mongolia is an outlier -- an exotic tourist destination filled with windswept deserts, nomads and yurts. It might also be a vision of the world's future.
With a tiny $10 billion economy and less than 3 million people, Mongolia is fantastically resource-rich. And with borders touching China, Russia and Central Asia, the landlocked nation seems to have won a geographic lottery ticket. It doesn't need to go far to find enthusiastic customers for its immense endowment of copper, gold and other minerals.Read more »
With its appointment of Mary Barra to succeed Daniel Akerson as chief executive officer, General Motors Co. brings to a half dozen the number of major U.S. corporations headed by women. Barra, who started at the company in 1980 while a student at the General Motors Institute (now Kettering University), represents both continuity and change. Thirty years ago, few would have imagined that a woman would so quickly rise to head such a historically macho company, but several important factors worked in Barra’s favor.
1) The Daddy Factor: Commenting earlier this year on how attitudes had changed during her three decades at GM, Barra said, “You started to see an enlightening. And with some people, they’d even say, ‘My daughter just graduated from college and I want her to have these opportunities.’ ” My own father, who spent his career as an engineer in large industrial companies in the South, has often observed that breaking down corporate barriers was easier for women than for blacks because white male executives could see their daughters in female employees. That daddy factor seems to have helped Barra, the daughter of a GM die-maker. In fact, Akerson described announcing her promotion to CEO as “almost like watching your daughter graduate from college.”Read more »
The budget deal that Representative Paul Ryan and Senator Patty Murray reached today will be a tough sell in the House of Representatives.
The leaders of the two congressional budget committees came to a handshake-agreement to set discretionary spending just above $1 trillion for the 2014 fiscal year, replacing close to half the across-the-board sequester cuts with less controversial spending reductions and revenue increases.Read more »
Representative Paul Ryan and Senator Patty Murray are near a deal that makes the federal government's sequestration budget cuts a bit more bearable by tweaking spending and raising a bit more revenue. Yet they aren't planning tax hikes. Or tax reform that rolls back the code's various deductions and exemptions.
No, they're doing it with fees -- to be specific, the $2.50 you pay the federal government every time you fly. Ryan and Murray want to double that. It's a good idea, except for one thing: We shouldn't double the fee. We should increase it tenfold.Read more »
From all appearances, Singapore seems to have dealt with the nation’s first riot since 1969 with its usual efficiency. The streets of Little India -- where an Indian migrant worker was killed by a bus on Sunday night, sparking two hours of mayhem -- have been cleared of debris. The government has called for a commission to investigate the incident, and has charged 24 Indian nationals with rioting. Officials have banned the sale of alcohol in the area this weekend. Citizens have been instructed to remain calm.
Up to this point, official have resisted linking the outbreak of violence to the alienation and poor working conditions of the migrant workers who gather in Little India on Sundays — their one day off, if they're lucky. There’s nothing wrong with this logic: the several dozen rioters who attacked police and first responders on Sunday night work for different employers, all of whom may be perfectly upstanding businessmen. The rush to find deeper sociological explanations for acts of disorder -- think of the London riots in 2011 -- is often misguided.Read more »